In a word… multifaceted. Juno-nominated Dylan Bell’s affinity for music was discovered early, when his parents realized he could sing in tune at three years of age. They realized he had perfect pitch and soon enrolled him in classical piano and violin lessons. At the age of twelve Dylan moved to the cello; in high school he discovered the guitar, bass, and drums, and began directing and arranging music for the school’s vocal jazz ensemble. He then went to York University where he studied piano, bass, percussion and conducting. He received his BFA in music in 1995, his B.Ed from Western University in 1997, and his Masters in Music (Jazz Performance, Voice/Piano/Bass) from the University of Toronto in 2014.
Since he first discovered his parents’ eclectic Beethoven-to-Bob Dylan record collection, Dylan’s musical curiosity has kept him effortlessly crossing and blurring musical boundaries. Dylan is a mainstay on the Canadian music scene, having sung with many of Canada’s premiere vocal ensembles such as Cadence; Hampton Avenue, the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, The Watch, the eclectic FreePlay Duo, and the 1980s-era vocal pop group Retrocity. When he’s not singing, he freelances as a keyboard player and bassist, working with varied artists from classical violinist Lara St. John, to world-music’s Autorickshaw, to veteran rockers Honeymoon Suite, as well as studio and theatrical work.
Behind the mixing board, Dylan has produced or engineered several award-winning albums, including a Juno co-nomination as Best Engineer for the Cadence album Twenty For One, the album Ferris Wheelswith the world-renowned Swingle Singers from London, England, and the most recent, Juno-nominated album with the a cappella legends The Nylons, Skin Tight.
Dylan’s work as a composer and arranger has garnered international recognition, as winner of the John Lennon International Songwriting Competition (Best Jazz Song, 2005), and a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (Best Original Song, 2006). When it comes to vocal arranging, Dylan wrote the book… literally. His major work “A Cappella Arranging” (co-written with Deke Sharon) was published by Hal Leonard Music in 2013 to international acclaim. His choral compositions can be heard in such varying contexts as the Victoria Scholars, the Canadian Chamber Choir, and Cadence, as well as several American and European choral ensembles.
Dylan is also in demand worldwide as an instrumental teacher and vocal/choral clinician. Dylan has given masterclasses at the International Association for Jazz Educators, the Brhaddvani Institute in India, numerous colleges and universities, as well as community choral workshops in Canada, the U.S., and Europe.
Visit Dylan at www.dylanbell.ca.