The music “industry” is a cornerstone in the vast world of entertainment that has thrived as a huge international marketplace for generations. The world of music, however, consists of countless souls creating art of many forms for a vast number of reasons. Among the many types of artists, there is the undeniable “dreamer” or struggling musician who lives what many would consider a “pipe dream,” pursuing what seems to be an endless endeavor for recognition or even stability in order to support oneself just enough to continue pursuing the “hobby.” DED STARK is the pinnacle of this. He is the quintessential frustrated artist in the modern era.
Most people are familiar with the mainstream music on the Billboard charts; however, the underground music scene has been equally as active, if not more so, some would argue, despite the lack of “exposure” or “recognition” artists in this realm receive. DED STARK has been using his presence in the ”underground” scene of the internet to encourage aspiring artists and reach anyone struggling to fit in or find a purpose in life, through his music and other content, which is rife with satire is especially relatable to misunderstood or underappreciated artists.
Born in California in the early ’90s, STARK has dedicated most of his life to music and art. Throughout his childhood, he was exposed to a lot of rock and blues, and he was drawn to it. At nine years old, he started playing the guitar. Throughout middle school and high school, he performed in bands as the guitarist and lead singer. It only branched out from there. His love for not only consuming music but also creating music began to include pop, hip-hop, and other forms of underground crossover genres. By the end of high school, the young musician was already skilled with production and engineering as well, having picked up knowledge and skill in the Apple made production programs Garageband and Logic Pro along the way.
DED dropped out of junior college to focus on his newfound love for music production which quickly turned into an infatuation with becoming a top notch EDM producer after switching to the production program Ableton. He moved to LA to attend a music school called ICON where he met a lot of cool people but also had somewhat of an epiphany that he wasn’t meant to be, and didn’t want to be, an EDM producer. After realizing he was longing to focus on songwriting again, he began to write more and more lyrics, tapping into his inner poet and putting his newfound frustrations into songs. Once DED STARK was born, he scrapped his EDM project entirely. There was no turning back. At this point he was heavily influenced by many different sounds and artists from all over the musical spectrum, making for quite an eclectic mixing pot.
These influences would become the inspiration for DED to mesh many styles together and create a sonic collage that would eventually become his signature sound, which people have described as a sound that comes across as sad and melancholy yet introspective. The independent artist has a style that’s difficult to pin down, and he doesn’t like the label “rapper” or even hip-hop artist as he feels that it’s limiting. STARK’s library of original music is like a grab bag of different vibes that consist of elements from classic rock, blues, grunge, alternative, pop, reggae, and even hints of international music, but it’s all mixed with the new 808 style, which is what makes it tricky to categorize. Blend that all in with a pinch of unforgiving and brutally honest self reflection and you have DED STARK.
It has only been later in his life that DED has really developed this more cynical, satirical, even jaded quality, that is really present in his music and content. It’s just how he is, having been around the block behind the scenes in the “entertainment industry” a couple times now, and also having a lifelong issue sustaining friendships. He says he “can’t compete” with the big personalities in the scene, which he seems to always run into, and as far as keeping friends goes, he fears he is too awkward and tunnel visioned to “fit in,” with nothing to contribute to your everyday conversation. He has a very “glass half empty” view on life now due to his experiences. Listen to his music and this much will be clear. He is indeed a very frustrated artist. He is also a very talented artist though, and talent eventually prevails in the end if coupled with unwavering determination, which STARK also seems to embody.
He is an entirely self-produced independent artist and one-man-show, in a world where popular acts produce music with teams and still dub themselves as independently produced. He creates his own samples and plays all the guitar parts and other instruments himself, excluding drum samples, and he engineers the songs himself too. What DED lacks in social exuberance he makes up for in sheer hard work, innovation and consistency.
The rising artist has built a reputation as a real outcast, talking the talk and walking the walk, creating music about being alone, and dealing with the problems of being an awkward artist, living as a frustrated musician, and functioning as a neurotic, antisocial misfit, all of which he struggles with, and all from a remote location somewhere in the woods. That’s right, the woods. Since the end of 2019, STARK has left city life to live in the rugged mountains of the pacific northwest, which seems like a good fit for his hermit-like persona.
DED has built a presence in the music, meme, and aesthetic culture communities that can be found in the underbellies of social media platforms. Using mainly sad or melancholy “mood clips” or “aesthetic edits” to tease his music online and posting satirical, sarcastic and sometimes sophisticated sad memes or “vague posts,” STARK has managed to amass almost 60k likes on his Facebook fanpage, which is growing fast. His other socials seem to do well with what seems to be a growing cult following as well. You can say he has his own self-loathing style. DED STARK is the king of making fun of himself, which is also a recurring theme to his content. He seems to say a lot of things out loud that people wouldn’t say out loud themselves but can definitely relate to.
Since launching his brand in the early stages of 2018, DED STARK has released a catalog of over fifty original songs that includes a series of EP’s and an album. He has also released over twenty music videos, many of which he made all by himself, that have been released on various underground YouTube channels over the past 3 years. With a couple big hits like “DED” (1.7 million streams + and counting on Spotify) or “DED END” (1.4 million streams and counting on Spotify), STARK is due for another, bigger hit, any day now.
DED STARK has most recently released two singles titled “JADED” and “BACKWARDS,” which will be featured on his final album this year titled STARK STASH. The album is set to be released on December 8th. DED also has a few unreleased music videos ready and more in the works to release alongside the album. After that he is planning to release another EP to kick off 2021, which will be followed by another album, both of which are already finished. He just launched his website DEDStark.com, where you can find updates, news, social media info, and now new brand merchandise. Be sure to tune in, so you can find out what the enigma known as DED STARK is up to next.