“Dillon is redeemed. I’m a husband and a father. I’m a very creative person who really sees the beauty of God and the truth of Jesus in all things.”
Dillon Chase’s new album is called Joyful Loser in which he seeks to encourage listeners to embrace loss. He wants people “to joyfully lose things that need to be lost like fear, guilt, shame, anger, addiction… for the greater reward of intimacy with Jesus.”
He also notes that when facing loss of good things in life, such as the life of a loved one, “understand that in light of our eternity that we have with Christ, there still could be an abiding joy even in the midst of painful loss.”
In February, Dillon Chase almost lost his youngest son, Josiah. Josiah was in the Intensive Care Unit for two weeks and “really fought for his life.” His son suffered respiratory failure, pneumonia, and dealt with fluid filling the inside and covering the outside of his lungs.
“That was just so sobering. Embracing myself to thinking inevitably ‘I’m gonna lose my son’ and getting to a place where I’m embracing it, and then for God to go ahead and rescue him and restore him… being joyful about that but still grieving for the people who didn’t see the same outcome as we did.”
His oldest son, Julian, is fifteen and in some ways, Chase feels that he is losing his son’s being a kid as Julian becomes a young man. “My son is grown up now… No one warns you as a parent that you’re gonna really miss those years with your kids that you can never get back.”
Though Chase has a home studio, he recorded all but two songs on the road, mostly in hotel rooms as he was on tour. “Because of technology you can pretty much turn anything into a studio.” When he goes back to listen to each song, it brings back memories of the city he was in when he recorded it. Being able to share Christ with people at his shows gave him inspiration to write while he was on the road.
“You go back to your cabin and there’s energy and you record this song.”
“O.G. (Only God)” was released as a single this summer. This month Chase will be turning 33. Though he is not yet “old,” he is likely past the average age for a rapper. Though O.G. is traditionally an acronym for “Original Gangster,” many people also use it to say, “old guy.” “If I’m gonna be called O.G., I might as well flip it to a term I’m comfortable with.”
Chase believes that by saying “only God,” he intends to live his life only through God’s grace and will. When someone asks him how he has gotten to where he is, not only in music but also as a family man, he says it is only because of God. “The song just kind of wrote itself.”
“Idol Time” features YP and was inspired by the song’s producer, OnBeatMusic aka OB. OB had struggled with depression in the past and noted that it was easier to feel down during his idle time. As he and Chase spoke about this, they came up with a play on words.
“We always make time for our idols whenever we have idle time.”
While touring this summer, Chase participated in a lot of church camps for youth and learned that many of them struggle with knowing their identity. “Whose You Are” was written to address this. Chase believes that if you know that you belong to Christ, that is where you will find your identity. When Chase was growing up, both of his parents were drug addicts so he knows what it’s like to have a rough childhood.
In the song he says “I know what it’s like to not have friends come over because you feel embarrassed. I know what it’s like to be neglected by my parents.” Though he wants to relate to his listeners, he wants them to know that if they look outside of God for their purpose, they will always be disappointed and never be fulfilled.
“We’ve gotta turn to Jesus. We’ve gotta know whose we are to know who we are.”
Chase started working on “Cheers” before his son Josiah got sick. “Victory is in Jesus. Victory was secured by Jesus and I came to understand that victory is not what I want it to be. Victory is God doing whatever it takes to make me more like Jesus.”
Chase believes that his son’s two weeks in ICU really helped him to become more like Christ. He describes that track as “a song for us to rally behind and just celebrate the victory that we have in Christ over sin and over death.”
“To lose things creates space to receive things from God.”
This was what inspired his song “Separate.” Chase says that in order to grow closer to Christ, we have to separate ourselves from what hinders our relationship with the Lord. “It’s pretty much another way to say, ‘Be a joyful loser.’ Separate so you can elevate.”
The featured artist on “Separate,” Coop, is a high schooler that Chase met at a church camp. Coop asked Chase if he could share his raps with him. When Chase heard what came out of his mouth, he was amazed. “It wasn’t just his talent, it was his content. His content was very deep.” A few months later, they met at a concert. Producer OB was there and when he heard Coop’s rapping skills, he agreed that Coop should be featured on Joyful Loser. The biggest obstacle for Chase was getting Coop into the studio, but once they did, “the dude nailed it. I could’ve used his first take.”
“A lot of my opportunities are in front of students at youth groups.”
Chase estimates that three quarters of his shows are for youth groups and while some artists may not want that audience, he loves it. “They’re the large[st demographic of] people who are consuming music… I’m like, ‘Man, what can I give to them that is going to encourage them, maybe guide them?’”
Joyful Loser concludes with “Farewell.” When thinking up the song concept, he thought about the word as saying “goodbye,” but also if you broke it up into two words, it would be “fare well.” “I was hanging on to a lot of things with Julian that were preventing our relationship from being more fruitful.” Now fifteen, Julian is becoming a man and Chase is working to understand his changing relationship with his son.
“As a parent, I’ve found myself insecure.”
Having spoken with other fathers of older children, he realized that he needed to say goodbye to Julian’s childhood, “to say farewell, but then I need to say ‘Julian, as a man I hope you fare well, you do good in life.”
Get Joyful Loser here.