Interview: Dalton Cyr

Actor, singer, songwriter, director and philanthropist Dalton Cyr is creating quite the name for himself in the world of entertainment!

Whether it’s releasing music, starring in ABC’s ‘Pretty Little Liars’ or acting in movies like ‘Time Toys’, Dalton is well and truly on the path to superstardom.

For his current project, Dalton has teamed up with ‘Teens Against Distracted Driving’ to launch a campaign about the dangers of texting and driving. Cyr created the concept, wrote and recorded the music, directed, and starred in the Breathe film trilogy, which tells a story about the ‘fragility of life and love’.

We caught up with 16 year old Dalton to talk new music, ‘Pretty Little Liars’ and his plans for 2017…

You’ve recently teamed up with ‘Teens Against Distracted Driving’ to create the 3 part film series ‘Breathe’, can you tell us about the project?

Actually, I created BREATHE prior to teaming up with Teens Against Distracted Driving. Once I saw the impact the film was having on people, I knew I needed to reach out to organizations about distracted driving. I sent the first part of the film to Teens Against Distracted Driving and they were interested in working with me. We started talking about how art can have a powerful impact and be more effective at spreading a message. Breathe is that film. Teens Against Distracted Driving had created a powerful way to get people to commit to putting their phones away when driving. Together we decided we had something good that we could try and get out to the community through schools, etc. The project itself took me over a year to create. I came up with the concept in February 2016.

Your latest single ‘Fall Into Place’ is the first track to be released from the film, what was your vision and inspiration for the song? 

‘Fall Into Place’ is ultimately a rally for people to spend more time in this exact moment, as opposed to spending everyday living for the future. It’s important to be able to stop everything and enjoy what you have now – and as a songwriter sharing how I feel about it is the best thing I can do.

The second and third parts of ‘Breathe’, ‘Echo’ and ‘Let It Go’ will be released in May, what can fans expect from these songs and videos? 

‘Echo’ and ‘Let It Go’ will wrap up the BREATHE story, and I’m very excited for everyone to see/hear them. BREATHE really is a journey. Starting with ‘Fall Into Place’, I worked really hard to capture a specific moment in time in the pendulum of life (happiness on one end and sorrow on the other). Without giving anything away, ‘Echo’ and ‘Let It Go’ continue the story, providing other specific moments in this experience.

You created the concept, wrote and recorded the music, directed AND starred in ‘Breathe’, that’s a pretty big undertaking, you must have felt quite a bit of pressure?

There was a great deal of pressure on the production side later on in the project to get it finished and out – but I never felt much pressure in the creative process making this film. It was so rewarding and so much fun to write the songs that needed to tell the story of the film while also working as standalone stories in their own right. It was exciting to film, and see every shot play out before me as it had countless times in the months before in my head. And at the end of it all, watching the entire film was just so gratifying.

How happy were you with the final version of the film?

I’m very happy with it – the film is exactly what I set out for it to be.

‘Breathe’ premiered at the Sun-Ray Cinema in Jacksonville, what has the reaction been like?

The reactions so far have been pretty nuts, honestly. I got so many great reactions from people at the premiere! We had the audience write down their first impressions and their gut reactions to the film on index cards immediately after it was shown, and reading them over shows me that this film really has impact.

Here are a few comments from the hundreds I’ve received so far:

  • What an inspiring and powerful film, filled with tragedy and hope. Dalton’s songwriting & instrumental prowess is better than ever.” – Shawn Fisher
  • It struck a heartfelt chord and reverberated through me in the form of chills.”
    – Susan Snyder
  • Inspiring message with texting and driving. People don’t realise that issue… what I will remember from this is that ‘it can wait’.” – Sydnee Batzlaff
  • Very relevant. An amazing story and so well done. Your video should be shown at high school assemblies as a PSA.” – Laura Martin
  • Truthful. Gave me chills.” – Katie Collins

The overall message of the film is so relevant in todays society and it’s an important story for young people to hear, how do you plan on promoting / distributing ‘Breathe’ to audiences?

I’m planning on working with Teens Against Distracted Driving to bring this film everywhere. I’ll be contacting schools and organisations about showing ‘Breathe’ at school assemblies with the idea that I would talk to the students about distracted driving after seeing the film. Students will have the opportunity to sign pledge cards as well, committing to not texting and driving. I’ve already had some schools and camps that have contacted me about showing the film so I think it is something people want. I’ve done a lot of work in schools over the years promoting anti-bullying, literacy, etc. so I’m very excited to get back into the schools for this issue.

Also, anyone can order the Breathe Music Trilogy on DVD through my new Dalton Cyr app. The app can be downloaded for free in your app store (iPhones or Androids). There are other perks on my app too – for example for a limited time, you can download my entire second album ‘A New Day’ there for free. If you don’t have a tablet or smart phone and would like a DVD you can reach out to me via my website or if you want more info about scheduling a screening with your school or organisation, you can also get a hold of me at www.daltoncyr.com

Can you tell us a little bit more about ‘Teens Against Distracted Driving’ and how you became involved with the organisation?

In response to numerous deaths and auto accidents caused by texting and driving, lawyer, Jason Epstein from Premier Law Group in Seattle, WA. and other law groups from around the nation founded Teens Against Distracted Driving (TADD). The TADD program’s objective is to educate teens about the dangers of driving while distracted. After production, I sent the first part of the film to Teens Against Distracted Driving and they were interested in working with me. We started talking about how art can have a powerful impact and be more effective at spreading a message.  They agree that BREATHE is a great tool for that and we started brainstorming how we could work on getting this out to more people together.

If you could give one piece of advice to any teenage who has just gotten their drivers license, what would it be?

Stay focused. After driving for even a week or so, it’s easy to become complacent and just auto pilot. Driving actively and defensively will help you immensely in case hazards pop out of nowhere.

You’ve just released a new EP, also entitled ‘Breathe’, what can fans expect from your new music?

I’m feeling extremely proud of it. As an artist and a songwriter, my primary goal is to share compelling stories with people through music. I also like to give an element of hope even in situations where it seems there is none. This album does exactly that.

Last year you appeared in ABC’s ‘Pretty Little Liars’ what was that experience like?

Working on ‘Pretty Little Liars has been fantastic. Everyone is such a joy to work with, from the crew to the cast, and I’ve had a lot of fun. The ‘Pretty Little Liars’ set is one of those places where everything is run efficiently, while everyone still really enjoys what they do. It’s a great environment. You can also catch me in the series finale of Pretty Little Liars this summer.

Do you have any other acting projects coming up?

My movie ‘Time Toys’ is out On-Demand right now. I play Holden in the movie and you’ll also hear two of my songs (‘The Way It Should Be’ & ‘You’re Not Alone’) in the movie. You can actually get it on sale on iTunes from 5/2-5/9 for just $9.99.

Outside of music and acting, you’ve become a National Ambassador for the Dream Factory, a non-profit organisation that makes dreams for critically and chronically ill children come true, what has that experience been like?

I’ve been working with the Dream Factory for years now, and I’ve loved every second of it. As a national ambassador, I work primarily as a spokesperson for the Dream Factory, also doing concerts and events in conjunction with them. Over the past 4 years I’ve been able to perform at a number of children’s hospitals as well as speak to children all over the country with critical and chronic illnesses. It is so important to me to give these children a chance to forget about their struggles –even if it’s just for a little while. I also think it’s important to give them someone to talk to – and someone to confide in. I think we all need that someone.

What are your plans for the rest of 2017?

There’s a lot going on that I can’t talk about yet. What I can say is that I’m working harder than ever. I’m doing a lot of songwriting. I’m working on some really cool projects that I hope I’m able to bring to fruition. Even though I just released an album less than a month ago, I’m already working on potentially releasing another album by the end of this year. I also release a new video every single Wednesday on YouTube. Stay tuned for other exciting updates by downloading my Dalton Cyr app and following me @daltoncyr on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

What do you think of Dalton Cyr’s latest project ‘Teens Against Distracted Driving’? Let us know your thoughts over on Twitter @CelebMix

Written by Philip Logan

I love music, I love dance, I love movies, I love fashion, I love… love. I’m obsessed with London, I want to live in New York, I take Instagram way too seriously and I believe that one day, things will be better. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @philip_logan

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