Dylan's The Greatest Thing I'll Never Learn sets her on the road to pop stardom: "I feel like I've cheated the system"

With her first major-label mixtape The Greatest Thing I'll Never Learn, Dylan maps out a sensible road towards pop superstardom. She just has to decide if she wants it or not first.

Dylan will be the first tell you that it's been a hell of a year. 

"I mean, honestly, are there any words for it?" She asks us, zooming from a hotel room as she prepares herself for an upcoming headline UK tour. "I feel like I've cheated the system. How have I ended up here?"

'Here,' being of course, teetering on the edge of genuine pop stardom. The Greatest Thing I'll Never Learn - Dylan's first release under her new major label, Island - is an exceedingly strong and confident body of work; riffing on the work of Taylor Swift (Blue), Blondie (Nothing Lasts Forever) and Halsey (Blisters) that lays out a pretty comprehensive road for Dylan (real name Tash Woods) to become one of Britain's brightest pop stars.

With the mixtape currently fighting for a Top 20 debut inside the Official Albums Chart this week, we hopped on Zoom for Dylan where we both talked so fast and so much, we had to be physically parted from gobbing off anymore. 

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Hi Dylan! You're so close to your first ever Top 20 album in the UK - which is brilliant, obviously, but sounds slightly insane

Obviously, this is all down to the fans. I feel like I've cheated the system. I don't know how I ended up here! But I do have something to tell you. 

Go ahead, Dylan! The Official Charts are at your disposal

The Official Charts Instagram [yes, really, it was us] messaged me a few months ago, 220 Kid had said in an interview with you that he wanted to work with me. And we got in the studio! 

Honestly, Dylan, it was our pleasure to be a part of pop history

It's like you manifested it. Don't worry, guys, we're working on it. Give me six months and we'll be back talking about it. 

This is your first mixtape under a major label [Dylan is signed to Island] after releasing a few EPs via AWAL - how did you find that jump? Because it is a jump 

I'm not gonna lie, it was terrifying. I mean, it hasn't been like this at all, but you know how the industry talks about [major label horror stories]. I felt like I was about to hand the reigns over to everything I'd spent the last three years building by myself people I didn't really know. 

But actually, it's the best thing I've ever done. We had this mixtape done before I signed, and I went in with; this is the plan, this is the project. And [Island] said, great. When can we start? It's brilliant, but terrifying. It was like going from a big fish into a small pond, to a minute fish in a massive ocean. I was worried I'd get lost. I haven't!

You've said that you're a rock star trapped in a pop stars body, which is a pretty great problem to have if you ask us. But do you ever find it hard to strike a balance between the two?

Oh yeah. I think that's something that's happening right now, actually. Working out that line. I want to find a world in which both can exist. I've been writing loads of like, really classic rock songs recently! But how do you modernise that sound? Lyrically and, like, top-line, I can't write anything other than pop. 

Which - Nothing Lasts Forever proves - you do very well!

Thanks! But even with [mixtape track] Lovestruck, I went into that session wanting to write a new version of Highway To Hell. It's still incredibly pop, but in my head, I was writing a rock song. It's very interesting that my brain literally cannot write a proper rock song.

You've started touring with some massive names this year - Tate McRae, Bastille and a really un-known, underground artist called Ed Sheeran

I've learnt so much from each of them. How Tate interacts with her fans is incredibly inspiring. And I cannot dance like her. I think my gig feedback would be something like; she can't dance, but she gives it a good go!

Dan [from Bastille], the way he interacts with a crowd on-stage is so enticing. I saw those shows at least 16 times and never got bored. And Ed...he's just a magical, unique unicorn. He is so cool and funny and chill to be around. He is holding every single piece of these massive arena shows together, and he's just one guy. He's a different breed entirely. 

Nothing Lasts Forever is the big single from the mixtape - it's a banger but also...incredibly nihilistic?

That's a great example of me having a breakdown and turning it into a song. Like, everyone leaves in the end. I feel like I'm such a realist, but on the outside I'm very energetic. It's a lot of chaos. A lot of running around. 

Dylan, what's the one pop song you wish you'd written?

Don't Blame Me, Taylor Swift.

reputation era, baby!

reputation, baby.

The Greatest Thing I'll Never Learn is out now via Island.

Dylan's UK tour kickstarts tonight (Nov 2). 

Article Image: Lillie Elger

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