Hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area, singer-songwriter Y. Dan Rubinstein has found his musical purpose in crafting songs that explore themes of love, relationships in the modern age, socially important issues, and the realm of possibilities. Unique messages, meaningful lyrics, and folky-jazz-rock production all mesh together to create a classic sound influenced by artists such as Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, and Sting. Dan draws much of his musical inspiration from the important issues of our era as well as the timeless, universal aspects of longing, desire and memory.
Rubinstein’s musical journey started with piano as a child. He felt he didn’t put enough time into practicing or focusing on learning the right theory. Rubinstein adds, “Like most things in life, you get out what you put in. I should have put more into it.” During high school, he became reenergized musically and took up the guitar. Quickly learning all the basic major and minor chords, he started playing cover tunes of pop and rock songs. He continued developing his guitar and singing skills throughout college.
After college, startup life and raising a family became all-consuming and music took a back seat for a while. A few years down the road, after attending one of his five year old’s violin lessons, he came home inspired to study the violin alongside him. Dan’s wife convinced him instead to focus his energy on expanding his guitar skills. Rubinstein’s local music school had instruction in folk/rock guitar (which he already had a firm grasp on), classical guitar (which didn’t interest him), and also jazz guitar which piqued his curiosity. He enrolled and immediately became intrigued with the music theory surrounding jazz structures and chord variations.“The fretboard opened up to new sounds and voicings. I was hooked!”
His first experience in songwriting started on a rainy Californian weekend with a cancelled group bike ride he organized. In an email that he composed, the cancellation letter turned into a poem, which morphed into lyrics to his first song set to a jazz chord progression that he came up with on the spot. “It was such an energizing experience! I wrote a few more poems and set them to music and started going to weekly songwriting workshops and song circles.”
Rubinstein has honed his craft throughout the years and has since performed on locally televised competitions at West Coast Songwriters (Palo Alto), Song School’s opening night at the Rocky Mountain Folk Festival, and the occasional live performance. Rubinstein enjoys composing and writing in his home studio and reaching a global audience online with his music.
Rubinstein is now on the verge of releasing his new 9 track album entitled ‘Stolen Moments’. The album itself is a collection of primarily acoustic driven pop songs with lyrics that delve into personal and social issues that affect most of us daily. The title track is one of the first songs that he ever wrote. Dan explains:
“In our lives and relationships there is always the question of “what if?”. The paths taken and untaken. What if we didn’t meet? What if we didn’t break up? What if we had broken up sooner? Our experiences bring with them a lot of emotion and memories. But there can only be one reality, and no matter how good or bad it is, there is an infinite realm of possibilities and each of those conjures up its own imagined feelings and outcomes. Many of my songs explore this realm of paths not taken.”
“Stolen Moments is about first loves. Everything is new and special and magical because like all first experiences there is nothing to compare them to. We open ourselves, and become vulnerable. Do we regret that vulnerability or does it become part of who we are? Knowing how things turned out, should we have stolen those moments, or borrowed them instead? What would we tell our younger selves if we could?”
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