We had the good fortune of connecting with Dan “Dilemma” Thomas and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dan “Dilemma”, can you tell us about an impactful book you’ve read and why you liked it or what impact it had on you?
There have, of course, been a few books that have been extremely influential in my career at this point like The Alchemist, Set Boundaries, Find Peace, and Will. But if I had to choose one to expand on, it would be Sing to Me by LA Reid with Joel Selvin. Categorized as part music memoir, part music business book, I came across reading it much later in about 2019. The book helped me figure out my north star. It was easy to start comparing myself to other producers and it wasn’t until a friend of mine told me that I was working with artists in a realm beyond production and toting the line of both producer and executive that he suggested this book to me. Reading and seeing LA Reid’s journey from musician to producer/songwriter to executive, I connected to the way he thought and the way his mind processed information. He understood why things worked and what made a thing special. It went from beyond the song to what would land culturally, being able to see beyond the music and looking at the whole package. It was also honest, including both his triumphs and the failures from which you often learn so much more. It also really informed me on how to deal with relationships. In a relationship-based business, it’s extremely important to know how to work with a myriad of different people. I also appreciated his ability to hold himself accountable at the end of the book. Realizing where he fell short and not being afraid to share it. In addition, he underscored the idea of remaining a student no matter how far you get. The book was a great reminder of where I’m going and how to balance the creativity and the business of music.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What sets me apart, specifically in this time, is that I am a producer that is a conductor. In its truest form, production is all about being able to put the right pieces together, knowing exactly what a song needs and how to subtract to allow the music to show up in its best form. Getting to this place in my career has really been about remaining a student and being open to collaborating with others. It was in no way easy, but honestly, it’s the love of music that keeps me going. Though that can sound cliché it would have been so much easier at times to quit. But playing saxophone since third grade and seeing how music moves people, has kept me in the hardest times. Mentorship has also been extremely helpful in my journey. I’m most proud of being a part of a GRAMMY-winning album in Heaux Tales from Jazmine Sullivan. But I’m equally excited about a pop duo I’m developing with my team, Dom & Jesse. I just want people to know that I’m a genius like my tag says. #dilemmayouagenius. Lol.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would start by taking them on a hike. There are so many gorgeous trails around the city like Fryman or Griffith Park and that’s most often how I start my days. In the music business, it’s important to ground yourself before descending into the craziness of making music and building relationships. As a newbie to LA, I’m still figuring out some of my favorite spots in the city. But I would say Paty’s or EAT for breakfast. On a Tuesday night, I’d take them over to the Federal for some live music. I enjoyed the food recently at LaLa’s Argentine Grill. For a night out, I may be DJing in Venice one night at a spot like Townhouse with great speakeasy vibes. Or on another evening, I would take them by the Presidential Suite LA and then head over to Mel’s Diner on Sunset for a night cap.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The Motown Documentary Hits USA, Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson for their iconic musical legacy. My brothers in CREW. Carvin and Ivan for their mentorship. And my wife for always supporting and inspiring me.

Website: http://officialdilemma.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/officialdilemma/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dan-dilemma-thomas-25a33452

Image Credits
Most of the photos taken by Wave Lane or Greg Haygood

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