Music has been a lifelong passion for Apple Valley High School 1997 graduate Mark Dahlen. Even as a youngster making his way through Westview Elementary and Valley Middle, he had dreams of pursuing a career in the music industry. Now a successful audio engineer in Nashville, Dahlen recently accomplished a new feat following the June 18 release of his debut album “Return To Love” under his project titled We Are Vibrational Beings.
Throughout his educational career in District 196, Dahlen seized every opportunity to get involved, especially when it came to music. Through a mentorship program at Apple Valley, he had the opportunity to work in a local recording student and was given access and hands-on learning. He said that experience in high school as was a pivotal for him in deciding what to do after graduation.
“It definitely laid the ground work for all of the success I've had,” he said. “Not every place in the country has those type of educational opportunities. I'm fortunate and grateful to have grown up in Apple Valley.”
After graduation, he studied music and eventually moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he’s been for nearly 20 years. He has spent his time touring across the United States and 19 countries with big-name artists like Eric Church, Richard Ashcroft, SheDaisy, Jake Shimabukuro. And when he’s home, he works alongside other major acts at the Nashville Symphony as an audio engineer.
Riding on the heels of his debut album, Dahlen said he looks forward to more time writing music and essays that “help others awaken to their infinite possibilities.”
“With this record I want to inspire people to follow their dreams, even if they are going through their own challenges right now,” he said. “We are incredible beings with the ability to create what we want in life, there really are infinite possibilities.”
A 1997 graduate of Apple Valley High School; studied music at Music Tech (later renamed McNally Smith College of Music), and works as an audio engineer for the Nashville Symphony, and a musician and producer for his personal music projects. His music can be found at www.wavb.life.
Dahlen released hisdebut album, “Return To Love” on June 18 under his project We Are Vibrational Beings. He said the “record is about awakening to our infinite nature, overcoming hardships and moving beyond the fear that holds us back from our dreams to experience all that life has to offer.” It features the talents of Dahlen’s close friends and musicians who regularly play alongside some of the industry’s biggest names.
How did District 196 prepare you for life after high school?
“I think fondly of my time in District 196. The opportunities I had in class selection in a range of topics from shop classes, woodworking and metals, to art and music, to sports really gave me a chance to find out what I was good at and what I liked to do. Having a mentorship opportunity in a recording studio was a key step in moving into the music business.”
Which District 196 teachers made the biggest difference in your education?
“I don't think I can pick just one teacher that had a huge impact on me. Like much of life, the variety of influences in our lives will shape us, if we are willing to listen and learn from every encounter.”