We had the good fortune of connecting with Dylan James “Boogie Boy” Shaw and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dylan James “Boogie Boy”, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
The blues is all about feeling good about feeling bad. This means the world to me. My music is what makes me, and everyone that hears it, happy. Even though you may be having a bad day, music can bring happiness and joy to everyone. The blues music came from southern spiritual chants on plantations. It brought happiness out of sadness and it brought hope too. That’s what I love about it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I was born with perfect pitch and could tell anyone what pitch the train was or the bird flying by. I remember songs after hearing them once. I can now stretch my hands to reach past one octave on the piano, since I am a teen! For the last few years, I have been given scholarships and honors to the Dept. of Education in Washington, DC, Pinetop Perkins Foundation, Blues Kids Chicago, Blues Foundation in Memphis, National Award in Las Vegas. My mentors are amazing. I have been able to come up with ideas like my tv show episode “Dylan’s Marvelous World Of Music” to teach all the kids about music. PBS was looking at it and now Nile Rodgers We Are Family Foundation may help me with it. I have had so many cool and amazing things happen to me. I am very proud that Blues Radio International with Jesse Finkelstein and Audrey Michele had me on twice. I raised $990.00 for the blues elders on that show. And, I am very proud that I was on “Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour” with Michael Jonathan in Kentucky in over 177 countries. It’s really unbelievable how much fun and special my life has been so far at 13 years old. I can’t believe it sometimes. I do think it’s been easy because music and practicing music comes easy to me. I guess the hard part was to overcome the challenge of having Asperger’s, which is a high functioning Autism diagnosis for me. It’s funny because it’s hard sometimes when the world gets too chaotic for me. But it’s also easy because that’s why I got my gift of perfect pitch and remembering songs. I would have to say that the lessons I have learned are to really share your gifts with the world and make it a better place for people. I want to teach kids all about the joy I get from music. I want them to know that it doesn’t matter who you are, what you have or anything. Music can be your friend and it is surely mine. When I am on stage or performing, I am really happy. It’s the best place in the world when I look out to that crowd of smiling and clapping people. I want to do this forever! I want to teach kids that they can do it too.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take my best friend to the KNON radio station for a tour. The KNON people are the nicest people I have ever met in Dallas. I would take my friend to Billy Bob’s and the Fort Worth Stockyard Rodeo to see cowboys. Then, I would take my friend to the Texas Motor Speedway. I sing the National Anthem for those places with my mom and it’s so much fun! We could go to Reunion Tower and have a nice cafe lunch. There we could see Babb Brothers BBQ for blues and the best BBQ ever. I do love the Gaylord Texas Hotel in Grapevine too because they have such amazing piano performances to do during the week. If it was in the summer, I would go perform at the Bedford Blues Festival too with all the great artists there. The Kessler Theater is my favorite place to go and perform. My friend would love it there too.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I love all of my teachers and mentors very much and will never forget what they have done for my musical life. I really want to thank Julie Bonk, who has been teaching me for three years now on all styles of music. She is my close friend and teaches me classical, jazz, blues, songwriting and theory too. Christian Dozzler is my main blues piano teacher I love, who teaches me all about the history of the blues and songs from blues legends. Eric “Scorch” Scortia is my Hammond B3 teacher that has so much fun with our organ lessons. I love them and couldn’t do this without them. My blues grandmother, Jan Winburn, has been teaching me since I was 3 years old. My mom and manager, Christine Winburn, has been great at teaching me how to sing and harmonize and just how to love sharing my music to the world. She teaches me everything because she is a professional vocalist on movie soundtracks, commercials and live performances all over the US herself. I want to thank my special mentors Morris Hayes, who played with Prince and NPG for 20 years as his Musical Director/Keyboardist, AND Chuck Leavell, who has played with The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and The Allman Brothers. These two special musicians have inspired me so very much lately. They are very special people too, who talk to me about my life and show me what I can be just like them. They both have played Wembley Stadium and real big stadiums their entire lives. So, it’s really cool to be able to even watch them, talk to them, hear stories and a lot more. I feel very lucky and I love it. Fernando Jones at Blues Kids camp in Chicago has really helped me realized bluesmen tell the truth and he has always included me in special blues events. I got to meet and be friends with Steve Jordan from the Jazz Foundation of America and Morris Hayes of Prince because of Mr. Jones. These are my true friends. Liz & Dave Berntson, Bob Margolin, Anthony Geraci and Victor Wainwright from the Pinetop Perkins Foundation are my best friends too. All of these people mean so much to me because I feel like I have real friends that are just like me in music. I don’t forget anybody! There is one more and it’s Pinetop Perkins. He is helping me from blues heaven.
Larry Neuzel Pombomb Media Blues Foundation Blues Radio International Steve Wulf Fort Worth Stockyard KNON Kessler Theater Jerry Lee Lewis Cafe & Honky Tonk Memphis