We had the good fortune of connecting with Dakota Stroud and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dakota, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I’ve always been an internalizer — an observer in this world. I often say that my “job” really boils down to paying attention. Being a creator allows me to digest, process, and express the otherwise hidden parts of who I am. There is so much shame, guilt and secrecy associated with our shadow selves, and the art-making/storytelling process creates a sense of connection. Belonging. A place to come home to. I’ve allowed my pain, trauma and deepest heartbreaks to shapeshift into art. Being an artist is redemptive. Healing. Cathartic. Evolutionary.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I moved to Los Angeles 12 years ago at the age of 17, and I’ve spent my entire adult life here — growing up, trying for things, dreaming scary dreams, falling apart, losing it all, and continuing to get back up. Something I love about this city is that it’s a place where you can endlessly reinvent. As someone who grows and changes at a rapid pace, it has been huge for me to feel safe in my evolution.

Almost 7 years ago now, I had a marriage crumble before my eyes. People say things like, “you were so young — you have so much time”, but very few were able to truly understand the depths and layers of pain happening below the surface. I know what it looks like to try for something. To give someone, something, all of me.

Having a marriage end taught me so much about my identity as a human and artist. Once I lost everything and was essentially homeless, I had a fresh start. And a newfound voice and a freedom to use it. After being in controlling relationships, songwriting became the safe space where the internalizer was able to let it all out. My songs hold my secrets in ways that I’ve never been able to trust another soul with.

I write all of my songs on my bathroom floor. The blood and guts seem to flow so freely and easily in that space. When I was in relationships where I shared a living space with another person, the bathroom was my sanctuary. It was the one room where I knew I wouldn’t be bothered. Even though I’ve lived alone now for quite some time, the bathroom floor still draws me in. It continues to feel like a sacred space for my creativity and truth to come out of hiding.

My first EP, Sex & Blood, will be released and streaming on Friday, October 1st. The 20 minute album takes you on a journey, much like a raw love letter or journal entry, through the digestion and processing of self-betrayal, an abusive relationship, sexual assault, trauma, and ultimately, a place of healing and transformation.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Even though I’ve lived in LA my entire adult life (originally from Florida), I tell people that I’m the least fun to visit. I say this because I’m not great at showing off the tourist attractions. I’ve never been all that cool — I don’t get “out” much. I don’t go to clubs. If someone visits me, they’ll be spending a lot of time in my cozy living room — listening to a playlist I’ve curated especially for the occasion as I go into grandmother hosting mode and cook up some form of comfort food.

When anyone I love comes to LA, I basically over-caffeinate them at my favorite neighborhood coffee shop, Little Ripper (you NEED their house drip coffee with homemade turmeric or lavender almond milk). Then I proceed to take them on a tour of my favorite record and book stores (Cosmic Vinyl, Dusty Records, Jacknife, The Last Bookstore, and Iliad just to name a few).

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
This shoutout is dedicated to my dear friend, Ethan Hoffman-Sadka. If not for his sincerity and capacity to hold space for my evolution as a musician in such an unpretentious way, my EP would not exist.

Website: https://open.spotify.com/artist/4djtmyG1Nor5UKcy0d8T61?si=tJVO_I82R9OKekPR6xHqfA&dl_branch=1

Instagram: Instagram.com/dakotaleestroud

Image Credits
Vanduncan Johnson-Phillips

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