Check out our interview with talented actor and artist Dominique Ilie.
As an actor he had a recurring role in the horror TV series Look See with Johnny Berchtold as well as the movie Life Coach with Natalie Palamides. While he enjoyed his time on the big and small screen, Dominique found his true passion was making music. He began studying piano, guitar, and voice and it wasn’t long before he was experimenting with songwriting. His talent caught the eye of a record label, and he was offered a recording contract at just 11 years old. Dominique’s unique sound is a combination of Pop and R&B with a soulful vocal style. He launched his first EP in early 2021 and continued to release original music throughout that year. For 2022, Dominique is releasing a new song every month and will be bringing his music all over the country in his spectacular live show. A typical SoCal teen, Dominique enjoys listening to music, fashion, surfing, and playing video games.
Follow Dominique @dominiqueilie
Dominique Ilie | Sunflower | (Official Video)
Hi Dominique, please tell us a little about you?
Hi everyone, my name is Dominique, and I am a 14 year old recording artist.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
I am swaggy, positive and creative.
How did your music career begin?
My entire family is musical, so I grew up singing and playing multiple instruments. I feel like my happy place has always been in front of an audience, performing. My career started as an actor and covers singer at the age of 9. Three years later when auditions took over my life, I decided to move away from acting and put all my energy into writing and recording music. In 2021 I released my first EP, Colors, containing my first original songs. That really jump started my career as a musician.
How has this changed your life?
Well, I wouldn’t say my life has changed tremendously, I am still in the beginning of my journey. I do spend a lot of time in the studio writing and recording music. I am super lucky to have my parents’ support and to be surrounded by a team of people that believe in me. I can’t see myself doing anything else but this.
What is the best and worst part of being a musician?
The best part for me is performing in front of an audience and sharing a piece of my heart with others. I love sharing my music and performing live. The challenging part is that you must constantly push yourself to be better every day which takes discipline and hard work. I love this industry, but it can be brutal. The competition is real and staying on top of the game can take a physical and mental toll.
How do you write a new original song?
My favorite way of writing is by laying down some cool chords on the piano that I can later transform in a song. Most of the time, my songs are born in the studio with my team. I am super lucky to be surrounded by amazing artists that help me take my ideas to the next level.
Tell us about your recurring role in the horror TV series “Look See?”
That was a great experience, it felt cool to be a part of a horror movie. I was only 11 years old when I shot that series, so I really didn’t see much horror, I wasn’t even allowed to watch it when it came out ☺
What other projects have you been part of?
I shot a few different commercials and independent short movies. One of my favorite experiences was shooting a commercial on one of the beautiful California beaches next to world renowned skimboarders.
Which do you like to do more- acting or writing/playing music?
I love acting but I love music more. Music allows me to express myself fully without being trapped in a character. My music reflects who I am as a person. I feel like I can make a difference in the world by sharing my pain, hopes and dreams with others. Music has helped me go through tough periods, so I can only hope that I can do the same for others.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
The best moment for me is when I have a great studio day that ends up with a cool new song. That is the most rewarding feeling for me, all my hard work coming into completion.
What’s your advice for the newer musicians?
Listen to your inner voice and stay true to yourself. There is no special formula that guarantees success, so don’t spend your energy trying to get famous. Focus your energy on developing your talent and creating something unique. I feel that if you stay honest to yourself and you love the music you create, it will be just a matter of time until the world falls in love with it as well.
What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?
To be open to learn from everyone I meet. I am lucky to be around a lot of people in this industry and I try to take in all their feedback and apply it to my craft. I honestly try to limit social media use and not get lost on the internet. I create music because it makes me feel alive and happy.
Now let’s talk about music. Describe your sound in 3 words?
R&B/Pop and love.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
I love listening to music of all kinds, and I especially love discovering new artists, or old artists that are new to me. Some of my earliest influences were H.E.R., Sza and Bruno Mars. At the moment some of my favorite artists that I look up to and inspire me are Tyler the Creator, Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller, and Kanye.
Do you play any instrument?
Yes, I play piano and guitar. My musical journey started when I was 4 years old, when my aunt gave me my first piano lessons. My dad owns a music school and a recording studio, so I was blessed to be educated by some of the best teachers from a very young age.
Do you ever get nervous?
Yes, absolutely. I feel like the older I get the more nervous I am on stage. I guess it’s part of growing up and taking life more seriously. Being nervous is part of it, and I learned to embrace it.
Tell us about your new single “Sunflower”?
Sunflower is my latest released single. It is a viby love song that shows the dreamy part of me. My voice has changed in the past two years, I feel that Sunflower is the first single recorded since my voice changed, and it marked a new beginning for me.
What’s the story behind the song?
Sunflower is a love song about the girl of my dreams, the fantasy of my own imagination. I just hope my song will transport my listeners into a world where they can dream with me. This song is just a vibe. It’s the type of song that makes you lose track of space and time.
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
Up and down! I feel like my life has been a journey of happy moments and challenges.
How would your best friend describe you?
Funny, talented, fashionable, and a people magnet.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
Don’t let anything crush your dreams because they are the essence of life. I had moments when I was doubting myself because of all the pressure of this world, and negativity is a dream killer. It’s ok not to have all the answers yet, trust the process and enjoy the ride.
What would be the dream holiday, and who would you go with?
I would love to go to Japan for 2 weeks during spring with my family and my bff Aidan. I’ve always been obsessed with Japan but never made it there. I would love to go during the spring to see the cherry blossoms bloom.
What book should every entrepreneur read?
The Secret, by Rhonda Bryrne
What’s next for Dominique Ilie in 2022?
I am writing a lot of music which will be released throughout the entire year. My main goal is to put out my first album in 2023. I am also focusing on live performances and getting back on stage and connecting more with my fans. Another very important project for me is becoming a youth ambassador for Wells of Life Organization. This amazing charity builds wells in the remote villages of Uganda, where people don’t have access to clean water. My family and I love to travel, and I have seen the living conditions in a third world country. It makes me very happy to be able to give back and help whoever I can.
What is your favorite healthy food?
I am a super picky eater, so not many healthy foods are on my favorites list. My mom makes some killer broccoli, so that’s my go to super food. The recipe is really easy, a bit of butter, lemon juice and garlic powder. The key is the cooking time, I love to cook, so I make it for myself often.
And your favorite cheat food?
I’m a sucker for Panda Express. Their orange chicken tastes like childhood to me and the honey walnut shrimp is just to die for.
What is your own definition of happiness?
Working towards your dreams and seeing them becoming reality.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
How amazing would it be to have a conversation with Michael Jackson, that would be life changing for me. How that is highly impossible, another artist I would really love to meet is Tyler the Creator. I love his music and I would love to ask him for advice.
Best advice ever given?
I think the best advice was to stop singing covers and start exploring my own creativity and write original music.
Do you support any charity?
Yes, like I mentioned earlier, I am very involved with Wells of Life, which is a local charity that helps to bring clean water to people that don’t have access to it. I am writing a new song in hope to inspire people and bring awareness to the cause. I plan on dedicating a portion of my time and resources giving back and improving life.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
Hmm, I don’t have a 5 year plan, I do have step stones I want to reach. I want to release my first album by the age of 15. I want to have a single on the Billboard Charts at 16, and I want to have a concert sold out at Staples Center by the time I am 18. I guess I have a 4 year plan 🙂
Favorite song? Why?
Gone Gone/Thank You, by Tyler the Creator. This was the first song that introduced me to Tyler’s music, and it remained one of my favorites.
What do you think of Social Media?
I think social media is great because it connects people from all around the world. We have access to so much information and entertainment. Social media is a great platform for me and my music, no doubt, but it can be highly addictive. I think it is very easy to get lost in it and lose track of the real world. The key is balance, I think.
Where can we follow you?
My music is on all streaming platforms and YouTube, My social media links are:
Instagram / Facebook / YouTube
Book: Fahrenheit 451
Quote: “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.” Steve Jobs
Movie: A Dog’s Purpose
Tv Series: Naruto
Favorite Food: Asian Food
Travel Destination: Tokyo
Sports Team: Miami Dolphins (NFL)
Photo Credits: Mark Maryanovich