If someone were to try to categorize Nate Earsley, aka Ded Stark, into a specific genre of music, they’d find themselves in a bit of a rut. There’s no defining his music, and Ded acknowledges that he likes it that way. The self-sustained and self-produced artist doesn’t like labels, and that’s what has turned him into a unique breakthrough artist that averages over fifty-seven thousand streams on Spotify and growing.
“I don’t like to label myself as a rapper or even a hip-hop artist if I can help it because I feel like it’s limiting to me,” shares Ded Stark. “I almost write indie pop music disguised as some form of hip-hop, with a blues, grunge, reggae, or rock sonic undertone, because of what I grew up on.” Whatever genre he falls under, whether or not there will ever be a label for it in the future, his fans will love it. Two of the artist’s most popular songs to date, “DED END” and “DED,” have over 1.3 million and 1.6 million streams on Spotify alone. Through songs like this he has amassed a mini cult like following of ppl who, similar to him, struggle with anxiety, so they can personally relate to his message.
To date, Ded Stark has over fifty original and self-produced songs, twenty of them featuring music videos that continue to make rounds in the underground realms of YouTube and gather tens of thousands of streams. Today, Ded’s brand has developed a loyal fan base of followers who are always eager for the artist’s next release. Without any management or representation, the artist has truly put himself on the music map, depending mostly on sheer consistency combined with grassroots promotion, organic growth, and word of mouth.
Ded Stark grew up with an undeniable love for music. He started playing guitar by age 9, and was the lead singer and guitarist in bands throughout middle school and high school, before ultimately picking up production and engineering by the end of highschool.He picked up various influences along the way that would mesh up together into a collage that has become his signature sound, which many people have described as a “sad” and somewhat alternative version of hip-hop. Ded Stark has built a brand that is a mixture of all his past musical experiences and ventures.
More than anything, Ded Stark dedicates his life to writing more and more music. It’s something he was always naturally gifted with and motivated by. He has accumulated a pretty legitimate discography already but he is only getting started. Some of his other more popular tracks include songs like “Lifeline,” “L’s,” “Don’t Follow,” “Chillin,” “Camouflage,” “Over N’ Out,” “Ded Inside,” “Disgrace,” and “Ded or Alive,” to name a few. Along with spotify, you can find all of his music on soundcloud, which is a streaming website he truly believes in and has been on for many years, since way before the Ded Stark the brand ever existed. Ded also just released a brand new ep (DED DIARY VOLUME 4) and he hopes it is as well received as some of the above mentioned work.
Ded creates all of his material on his own. In 2020 he has lived remotely, in the woods among rural dirt roads of the rugged mountainous backcountry of the pacific northwest. Having left LA just before the new year, Ded did not buy or bring any traditional recording equipment with him, but this has not slowed him down. If anything it seems he has finished more tracks since he left LA, than he did the entire time he was there. With no studio or mic setup, he records his vocals and guitar on his phone mic, yes his phone mic, to create the truest, grittiest form of underground-indie music one can conceive. He claims that this new setup is part of his process, sound, and brand, noting that it is true to who he is, being a “loner that works on his craft all by his lonely self.” It does seem to add an extra twist to his sound, adding Lofi to the list of genres his music could almost but not quite be categorized as.
All in all Stark seems to have found a rhythm, making and releasing song after song by himself without skipping a beat for years now. Amid the collaborative nature of the scene he is part of, he has found a way to thrive as a solo artist. He plays all guitar parts and makes all the beats himself, with the exception of 2 beats he co produced from early releases back in 2017/2018. He also writes, records, edits, and engineers all vocals on his own, and mixes and masters each song as well.
Retrospectively, Ded Stark stands as a monument of unique value and quality that the underground scene has to offer. In a time where more popular and mainstream circles gain most of the cut of the pie, Ded hopes that his work will shed some more light on more independent artists who create music simply for the love of the craft and the pursuit of creating fresher variants of music that the world is yet to discover.
Ded is apparently sitting on more unreleased music than ever. Claiming 2 complete albums and an EP are sitting ready to be released, yet he looks forward to creating even more music, hoping to reach the one hundred solo release mark in the next couple years or so. Beyond all else, his greatest goal is to grow and improve his craft and see where his journey takes him next.