In His Blood: How Dillon Nathaniel's Family Pushed Him to Pursue Dance Music

Jul 1, 2023

John Cameron

2 min read

When most people decide they want to pursue a career in music, it often leads to raised eyebrows from concerned family members. This wasn’t the case with Dillon Nathaniel. If anything, it seems as though he was set up for a career in electronic music from an early age.

When he was only eight years old, Nathaniel’s father played music by the likes of Carl Cox and Sasha in the car on road trips. He got his first taste of performing courtesy of his brother, who taught him to play the guitar.

A (metaphorical) switch flipped when Nathaniel found a DJ controller his father bought but never used. He applied what he’d learned about playing guitar to the exotic piece of hardware, and suddenly a new world opened to him.

As he continued to explore dance music, Dillon Nathaniel cut his teeth putting together mashups of his dad’s house and trance tracks with pop and hip-hop. At this point, it was virtually a family enterprise — and his father wasn’t complaining one bit. He bought Nathaniel a full copy of FL Studio and Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) 2010 tickets for his 16th birthday. It was there that Nathaniel exclaimed, “This is what I want to do, Dad. I want to be that person on the stage.”

But there was one more co-sign that made Nathaniel go all in on dance music. "She always wanted me to get a degree and go to college,” he recounts during his Gray Area Spotlight interview. “Right before my grandma passed away I was just saying [that] I don't know if I'm going to be happy doing this. And she kind of gave me the thumbs up." He says that she told him, "Whatever it is that you want, go do what you want to do.”

We should all be so lucky as to have the kind of family support that Dillon Nathaniel had as a budding electronic musician. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree — and in his case, that helped his career grow into a more fruitful venture than anyone could have imagined.

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