From Mission to Music Career: Interview with Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds

I think every David Archuleta fan knows that Imagine Dragons’ lead singer Dan Reynolds (a friend of David’s, btw) served a mission before the band was formed.

Here’s an awesome interview with Reynolds. If anyone’s wondered how David will fare in the wacked out music industry when he gets back, this interview may shed some light on how that could work. Enjoy!

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Universal themes: Imagine Dragons’ leader Dan Reynolds, second from left, addresses spirituality on the band’s recording “Night Vision.”

The hit musical “The Book of Mormon” might make fun of dress-shirted representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints naively trying to save souls in war-torn Uganda. But to Imagine Dragons bandleader Dan Reynolds, a longtime Mormon and Las Vegas native, it’s no joke.

Describing his two-year mission to Omaha, Neb., at age 18, he says, “It was like going to another country. When you’re sitting down with a single mom whose husband left, and she’d been beat up by him, and she has no way to provide? And you’re this kid in a stupid white shirt, trying to figure out a way for them to make money and get her off addiction? When you do that, you grow up fast.”

Reynolds – who brings his group to The City this week, backing its chart-topping debut “Night Visions” – also worked with farmers, signed on with a veterinarian and helped transform strangers’ lives in ways he never would have imagined.

“It was such a growing experience for me, and it humbled me and made me realize that the world’s a lot bigger than where you’re raised,” he says. “There are people dealing with so many more problems than you, and it makes all your problems seem really small. So you just forget all about yourself.”

Reynolds’ missionary garb was regularly pelted with Slurpees from passing cars in Nebraska.

“But when I got home, I saw the world in a different way – it was more important for me to do something positive than to be cool,” says the singer, who penned his band’s breakthrough anthem “It’s Time” at his lowest, most depressed point. “I was dropping out of college, I was not happy with who I was, and I wanted to make some changes,” he says.

Putting his fears and frustrations into songs, Reynolds formed Imagine Dragons (the name is a secret anagram) with his old college chum, guitarist Wayne Sermon, and started penning spiritual-themed stompers like “Demons,” “Radioactive” and “Hear Me,” which they tracked with producer Alex Da Kid on their Interscope-issued album.

Reynolds is a remarkably mature 25. He married his sweetheart, Nico Vega’s Aja Volkman, and the couple – who record together as Egyptian – just had a baby daughter named Arrow.

After his missionary eye-opener, he says, “If you’ve got food, a house and people that love you, you’ve got a lot more than 90 percent of the world. So we’re definitely blessed.”



p.s. in another interview a friend sent to me, Reynolds says, “I think we try to write music that takes the listener through a whole range of emotions. Some songs are sad, some are uplifting, some are introspective. Above all, we try to write music that helps people cope with what can be a very hard life at times. We want to connect with the listener through the only means of communication we understand — art.” Sound familiar? 🙂

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13 Responses to From Mission to Music Career: Interview with Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds

  1. TOfan says:

    People seem to be commenting mostly on Twitter lately so here you go, lol:

  2. dangitdavid says:

    Loved this interview :). I have a few Imagine Dragon songs on my playlist! Love them! Looking forward to seeing what kind of music David will be sending our way, soon I hope 🙂 🙂

  3. archugeezer says:

    Thanks for posting this—timely and very interesting. I just watched a lecture at Oxford from visiting Irish actor Jack Gleeson who is a star on HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” a show I have never seen. He presented a thought-provoking, rather negative view of the celebrity culture, specifically celebrity worship. And then this morning, we get another not-so-surprising report about Justin Bieber’s ongoing meltdown.

    With David coming home very soon to what his fans hope will be a stellar and well-deserved career in music, I really believe that his two years away from the spotlight, along with his experiences in Chile, will have a positive impact—like giving him a GPS to navigate through craziness, regardless of the direction he takes.

    David’s journey was a personal choice; but he looks smarter to me all the time. He has my utmost respect, and he will always have me as a fan.

    Sorry to ramble on and on. I sound like such a Mom.

    • dangitdavid says:

      A very wise Mom :). Love your post!

    • Fan Dja says:

      “David’s journey was a personal choice; but he looks smarter to me all the time. He has my utmost respect, and he will always have me as a fan.”


    • rose says:

      yes he is smart and full of wisdom..i’ll be his fan forever no matter what..he is such a good example to the young ones.

    • TOfan says:

      Ramble away anytime, Geezmeister, loved every word <333… I've often thought that the values David holds dear will give him, as you say, a GPS of sorts to help him survive… and thrive… through the shady side of show biz.

      And off-topic, apparently one of the big Toronto AC radio stations was playing Crush today. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  4. tammi says:

    i didn’t know that two of the 4 imagine dragons belonged to david’s church… there songs are so good i can’t wait to watch them on the grammy’s this sunday! 🙂

  5. marin says:

    long-time lurker here. I really like Imagine Dragons and, to me, they represent true musicians, like David, who are trying to create something lasting and real. I don’t even pay attention to the mere “entertainers” with lots of lasers and backup dancers. (yawn)

    One advantage David doesn’t have, that the Imagine Dragons did, is the opportunity to hone his songwriting skills in anonymity, working at it over time. After Idol it was BAM, into the spotlight for him. Considering that, it’s pretty remarkable the caliber of songs he has been able to create (like his latest, Broken). But maybe since he won’t be in the glare of attention as much when he gets back, that will give him the time and space he needs to “start over” as he says, and eventually craft some really amazing stuff. I can’t tell you how glad I am that we’re all still here to be along for the ride, wherever it takes him.

    (did not mean to go on so long, back to lurking! 🙂 )

    • TOfan says:

      Welcome, marin!!! Please de-lurk more often! … “I can’t tell you how glad I am that we’re all still here to be along for the ride, wherever it takes him” … YES!!!

  6. trace says:

    Really liked the interview. Thanks for posting it TOfan!
    And that quote at the end definitely sounds familiar! 🙂 It’s all about the connection.

    • TOfan says:

      you’re welcome, Trace! That connection is something else, isn’t it?

      …aaaand a new vid from the lovely Marcella (0o0bluedots0o0):

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