Local musicians make it big on YouTube

Local lyricist Bill Dann and musician Jack Servello, who collaborate on songs together, have released singles on YouTube under the username “Dreamsedge” that have recently gone viral.

Dann is a Bellefonte native now residing in Castanea, and is a long-time radio announcer, music director, program director and copy writer.

“I met Jack Servello about six years ago. Looking back, I believe it was destiny,” Dann said. “I received a copy of a Christmas CD of the Servello family from a friend in Oregon. Liking a number of the songs on it, I contacted him via phone to obtain permission to use some of the songs on an upcoming Christmas special which I was hosting on an area radio station. He graciously granted me permission and then we started to talk about music. He asked if I had ever written anything myself and I informed him that I had recently composed a song called ‘Stand Back and Marvel at the Cross,’ but that it wasn’t recorded. He said that he couldn’t promise anything, but asked if I would send him the lyrics, which I did. A couple of days later, to my surprise, he sent me the recorded song and I was blown away.”

Since then, the pair have written nearly 50 songs together, many of which have gone viral and even received national recognition. One of their most popular hits was written about a purple squirrel that was supposedly seen in Jersey Shore.

Dann said, ” In early 2012, there was a local story about the actual discovery of a purple squirrel in the Jersey Shore area. I told Jack that we had to do a song about that, as it was just too irresistible. After Jack recorded it, we had a video made for YouTube. Shortly after that, (a local newspaper)?asked if they could do a feature story on the song. That story was picked up by the Associated Press and it went viral from there. In addition to receiving major national airplay (including Dr. Demento), it was used with our permission on a travel channel TV special. Those are some factors that got it so many views.”

According to Dann, once the Associated Press picked up the song, it was just a matter of days before it began to really take off. The pair’s most recent song, “Tonka Trucks and Tinker Toys,” was released last month.

“This Christmas, I was feeling especially nostalgic for Christmases growing up in Milesburg (Centre County) and decided to write the song, “Tonka Trucks and Tinker Toys” (two of my favorite toys as a kid),” Dann said. “We have received many wonderful comments from people stating how it took them back to a time when things were much less complicated. Also, a number of people have asked if they could use the song for their own Christmas video postcard. It really is an honor to have so many love the song,” Dann said. The song has received airplay on more than 100 radio stations nationwide.

Dann and Servello are currently working on a new song about the beach, and will be recording it in Beach Boys style.

The pair believe it has potential to become viral as the last few songs they have released. “Our hopes are that people will forget about this deep freeze, if only for a while and embrace thoughts of the summer sun. This will be a happy place to be,” Dann said.

When the song is finished, it will be posted to the duo’s YouTube channel for listening. For more information about the Dann and Servello and to listen to more of their songs, visit their page on Reverb Nation at www.reverbnation.com/billdannandjackservello.