At age three, Nick Dillon or D’Original Reverence began piano lessons at the Sylvia Robin School of Music. Growing up in Trinidad and Tobago, this disciplined journey had his grandfather standing firmly behind a rigorous regimen. Given Reverence’s lifelong passion for music, the youngster must have been onboard. “I strongly disliked it,” he said. “The piano was not the instrument I wanted to play.” But as his grandfather foretold in the late 1970’s, Reverence would eventually understand.
“The intense study formed a mindset that helped me through my life,” he revealed.
However, the boy had to put music aside first, and despite competing in numerous national music talent shows and appearing on television, reemerging as Reverence in 2018 had to wait. “I was in exile from music,” he clarified.
The long separation didn’t necessarily begin when the teenager started to ween himself from his grandfather’s influence. The classical playlist was exchanged for the revolutionary sound of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and others, but Rebel or not, Reverence kept it undercover. “I played the recordings on Sunday mornings when my grandparents went to church,” he joked.
Nonetheless, the diversion from music is easily explained. “Life happened,” he revealed.
Reverence began a family and had to make a living. Learning construction, the young man rose to the level of Regional Coordinator of Renovations for one of the Caribbean’s leading Manufacturing Companies. He also enrolled at the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and studied Law and Political Science.
Although, Reverence wouldn’t go near an instrument. The piano lessons still hungover and formed a “mental block”.
On the other hand, the internal struggle didn’t hold him back, and Reverence set his ambitions for America. He said “a suitcase and a dream” as he remembered the 1999 leap of faith.
The hurdle wasn’t made any easier by entering undocumented either. Fortunately, Reverence’s wife was on his side. Dawn Marie Dillon got him beyond early underemployment struggles, and suggesting a return to construction, came with a targeted nudge. “She bought me a $10 tool box,” Reverence remembered.
So he began searching Craigslist and left a long trail of cookies. “It took about six months before I got my first bite,” he remembered.
A freelance handyman job opening led to more work and eventually paved the way for his own business. Nick Knacks Creative Interiors is a fully licensed and insured renovations entity, he said. We offer service in almost all aspects of renovations and project management, while designing and delivering high end finishes in both the residential and commercial markets.
Not bad but the entrepreneur wasn’t done yet. He moved his family from the swelter of Brooklyn’s sidewalks, and opened the Breathless Beauty Raw Live Organic Juice Bar in Milford, Pennsylvania.
Tough going at first, the Pocono Mountain oasis is going strong after 11 years. But really hitting the high note meant he had to dig deep, and his wife was there again. “She bought me a beautiful guitar on a Father’s Day with the hope that I would be inspired to play” said Reverence.
Still, the guitar sat so she signed him up for a lesson. The old rote, drudgery returned, but the regression turned out to be a rebirth. “That really drove me to develop my own style,” he boasted.
Shifting into gear, We are the Wifi began his musical reconnection in 2018. It is a reminder of the time before iPhones, where humans actually interacted and with a lot more care. “Let love be the conversation,” Reverence harkened back.
Still, he wasn’t exactly on board with his own song and did a double take when his wife suggested he record it. “I was like what are you talking about?” Reverence hesitated.
But all ears, Reverence acquiesced, and she proved his better half again. The positive feedback came pouring in and led to several invitations to play on the road.
Another great success, Reverence realized his musical inclinations required a bit more attention. An understatement for sure as he has since racked up 1109 original songs. “Me and music have a very unique relationship,” Reverence downplayed again.
He doesn’t have to look far to find the origin either. “That’s why my grandfather said, ‘you’ll understand later,’” beamed Reverence.
Specifically, the old lessons have him beginning with a melody. “I start building my music with organic beats – like a rhythm, a hum or whatever inspires my soul,” he revealed.
The lyrics followed and lay the groundwork for playing live and for studio recordings. “It’s a conversation,” Reverence said. “A relationship that builds, and that’s why people develop followers.”
Reverence’s independent “The Silence No More World Tour” certainly speaks to that. Referring to his long absence from music, Reverence gets out there with his regulars, and they’ve put the catalogue to the test at venues like The Milford Art Walk 2019, 9th Annual Chesapeake Bay Reggae in Virgina Festival, The 49th Annual International Arts Festival in Brooklyn NYC and the York Soul Music Festival in Pennsylvania.
Nonetheless, he’s down to earth about music’s financial prospects. “It shouldn’t be your day job,” he joked.
Reverence also knows the bigger picture. The musician often plays at elderly care homes and community centers, his family contributes to the local food pantry, and he’s building a non-profit entitled, Centers of Music. An endeavor that will provide free musical equipment and training to under privileged children across the country. “I think to who a lot is given, a lot is expected,” Reverence assured.
Of course, his music speaks the same language. Among his latest, Say a Prayer responds to the Covid-19 pandemic and references scripture. “The song is a call to prayer for this world and all who live and are affected by it,” Reverence pleaded.
So obviously D’Original Reverence understands more than his grandfather could have ever hoped.