Music can save a life, inspire activism, bring joy and release grief. It has done all these things for Dan Reynolds. And as the singer of Grammy-winning American rock band Imagine Dragons, he wants to make his fans feel the same way.
“I think music is more powerful than spoken words. I think it saves lives. I would say music has saved my life,” he says.
Reynolds has long been known for wearing his heart on his sleeve, openly talking about his struggles with mental ill health and his Mormon faith, through both Imagine Dragons’ music and his social media. His sense of responsibility to his audience is obvious. For Reynolds, it isn’t good enough to go through the motions and collect the cheque. The moment that happens, he says, “is when I’m going to quit music”.
In 2018 Imagine Dragons were the most streamed group on Spotify, but the pressures of global touring were starting to make the singer “feel numb”. Not long after, he put the band on a long hiatus. He took time off to “be a dad and a normal person” and to refind himself.
As Imagine Dragons return with an emotional new album, produced by the legendary Rick Rubin, Reynolds (below, pictured front) tells us about the music that has helped him get through hard times, as well as the artists who have shaped his activism and his songwriting.
The Music That Made Me
Catharsis from Cat Stevens
I grew up listening to a lot of Cat Stevens. I remember when I was about 12, I was dealing with depression for the first time in my life. I listened to Father and Son by Cat Stevens. And that was the first song that really moved me to tears. I remember sitting in bed and crying, listening to the song and thinking, “Wow. This is what I want to do. I want to impact people with music, in the way that this is impacting me.” It made me feel less alone, made me feel heard. All the things that music does for people. Certainly creating it, for me, is incredibly cathartic.