Interview: Lady Dan

by Emma Riley

Tyler Dozier on pain, peace and being your own best friend

With the follow up to her EP, Songs for the Soulless, Austin-based, Tyler Dozier, aka Lady Dan, details the good, the bad and the ugly of heartache on debut album, I Am the Prophet. Making music self-described as ‘melancholic cowboy sounds you can cry in front of your cat to,’ shooting from the hip, we put the Texan in the firing line.

Talking about her debut release, Dozier states, ‘It’s something I’ve never done before, so I don’t think I’ll understand the excitement until maybe the next time I do it. This has been four years in the making. I think sometimes I have a hard time putting my feelings into words until after the fact. So I kind of wonder if I’ll think completely differently about it later… but all good things.’ Having modified herself in so many ways since Songs for the Soulless, the singer-songwriter reflects,it’s very obvious how much I have changed, and my music has changed since two years ago. My style, even in the last few months, has changed so much – the way that I think about things has changed; I just can’t sit still.’ In taking a step back to find her moral compass, she shares, ‘I’ve learned my writing style is actually just me processing my hard emotions with music, like absolutely baring my soul’.

Praying for a miracle, I Am the Prophet is an eleven track scripture of love, faith, empowerment and the restrictions of life and death. Delivering the first passage with its title track, Lady Dan presents herself as the saviour we’ve all been patiently waiting for – ‘don’t be fooled, it’s water; it’s not wine.’ With a visual energy, Dozier recommends the best way to enjoy the debut is to ‘just get in a dark room with a red light and just sit there – just listen.’ The Alabama born songstress spills her guts as well, with the admission, ‘I’m just a woman – not your holy, heroine muse.’

Pouring her heart out and stained by the painful memories of the past, Lady Dan’s new testament sees her ripping the pages from this book of truth – one track at a time. ‘Every song on that record has just been me feeling something so deeply and needing to let it out.’

Stripped naked and left in discomfort, the second single No Home is as vulnerable as its music video. Stepping behind the camera for I Am the Prophet, No Home and final sermon, Misandrist To Most, Dozier reveals it’s not her first rodeo. ‘I briefly went to a ministry school where I was learning graphic design and video work, and so I actually love it so much. I think that part of the creative process, while tedious and extremely detailed, is so rewarding. It feels so good to get your hand in every part of the process. So it felt really good to actually do video work again for the first time in such a long time.’ Not afraid to show her battle scars, Lady Dan is tearing the veil to reveal a new dawn. ‘I wouldn’t go back through it, but knowing about where I’m at now, it gives me peace.’

Discussing the videos, Dozier explains, ‘I chose those three because I could build a narrative out of them visually and sonically, so that was actually a lot of fun. I’ve been really excited about releasing those videos because I pay attention when other artists do things like that, and I get so excited. I want to do that and make other people feel that way.’

Weaving biblical allusion with optical illusions, on the album artwork, Lady Dan makes us see double. ‘I love symbolism, and so from that image, what it means is, at the end of the day, I’m all I have and I am my best friend and so I get to hang out with myself forever.’ She continues, ‘I have a hard time being serious a lot of the time and so it was fun to do that. It gave me the opportunity to goof off a little bit and come off as kind of creepy.’ With sister, Autumn, capturing the moment, Tyler Dozier captures our hearts – ‘you’re stuck with yourself, so it’s very important to figure out how to love yourself.’

There’s an honourable mention to superhero grandma, Edith, too who shows her love both figuratively and socially, (via Facebook) making Dozier smile with her comments, ‘she’s like one of the few people in this world that I’m just like, head over heels for… if anyone’s my fan, it’s definitely my grandma.’ Following the passing of her father to cancer, Dozier discloses, ‘I genuinely think that, if I still had both of my parents in my life, I wouldn’t be doing music. I would be doing everything I could just to make them happy.’ Talking about relationships and religious trauma, Lady Dan preaches, ‘I’m grateful to have something to say, but it definitely comes with a cost.’

Although feeling like the separately produced Facta, Non Verba ‘would have fit on the record,’ Dozier explains, ‘I wanted to release something that people just weren’t expecting. I honestly wanted it to be very hit or miss with people – like I wanted people to be like what is she doing?’ She resumes, ‘I just want to keep people on their toes. I love so many genres, and I want to make music in so many genres… don’t be surprised if the next thing I do is like a weird post-punk album… I just want to do everything, so we’ll see where it evolves. It’s important to evolve, and, to me, I think that’s a mark of artistry.’ It’s true: actions speak louder than words and for Lady Dan, no truer words have been spoken – ‘I think you should just absolutely do whatever you want because it’s your work. We don’t expect an artist to keep painting the same painting over and over…they can do whatever they want.’

In a Sound and Vision feature for Secret Meeting, where Dozier talked about the inspiration and influence for her art, and being a super fan of Laura Marling since she was sixteen, it was discussed that the album, Short Movie, has been self-regarded by Marling as her least favourite from her discography. Turning the table, Dozier states, ‘I would say my newest things are always my favourite. My oldest things are always like, “I’m glad I got better.” That’s because I’ll do something and I’ll like it and be proud of myself, but at the same time I’ll be like ‘I know that I can do better than this and I’m not satisfied,’ which I think is a fine mindset to have. It just means that I’m going to keep making work and improving’. 

Viewing the world in the same way as Short Movie, Dozier explains, ‘I’m still very much sorting out spirituality and relationships; I can see both sides of the coin at all times… I’m constantly contradicting myself… that’s just how I see things’. With reference to both James Taylor and Steve Miller Band contained within Left-Handed Lover, refusing to be left in the dark, Dozier declares, ‘the most important things for me is that the listener feels understood… it just feels good to feel heard, and so if I can do that for somebody, then like, that’s all I can ask for.’ 

Resonating with bits and pieces of other artists, including Courtney Barnett who also released her first EP when she was 23, Dozier expresses, ‘I consider myself a late bloomer.’ Understanding her own musical journey through others on the same track, Dozier states ‘it takes time to like accidentally make mistakes… I also think that, if you are making music for the wrong reasons, you are not going to stay on for very long. You have to really love making music, and not be so worried about if anyone’s ever gonna find it.’ With travel on our minds and previous tour hopes squashed, our thoughts quickly wandered to live music, with Dozier quick to point out.  ‘first chance I get, I’ll try to tour the UK… I want to get out there so bad!’


With a handful of favourite lyrics, I put Dozier on the spot to choose just one. From the first track on the album, we gain an exclusive line from Paradox with ‘God is laughing at me now.’ Liking the idea of self-deprecating and admitting defeat, Dozier explains ‘it’s confusing because I’m confusing – some songs are like I don’t think that there’s a saviour and God and then some songs are like, God has power and he’s laughing at me.’ Telling her past to ‘hit the road Jack,’ with souls replenished –  just like her version of the Bruce Springsteen classic, Tyler Dozier aka Lady Dan is… On Fire!

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