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Frank Kadillac doesn’t think he should have turned out to be a good person. His mother had him when she was 17; he endured hardships growing up; he never stayed in one place long enough to make friends, and went to 10 different schools. This made him a easy target for bullies but he persevered, and now is dedicating his life to make sure others can overcome hardships too.
“I have stories to tell from a place of love to other people who are like me,” he explains. “My main goal has been to reach as many people as I can and spread positive energy. I feel like I need to get out the message to people who are like me, because I don’t know anybody else who’s doing it.”
Neon Dreams is the vessel for that message. Kadillac and drummer Adrian Morris have been making music together under that moniker since 2015, but it wasn’t until last year that Kadillac realized his true purpose. After pushing himself too far and experiencing insomnia for the first time in his life, the singer wanted to get help—but not from a doctor. He had dabbled in meditation in the past and decided to attend the Sedona Meditation Center Mother Earth Retreat. There, he detoxed from life and recalled horrifying memories he had previously blocked out.
“It helped me forgive people and release all the negative energy that I had built up inside,” he says. “I felt it travel through my body, from my head down to my feet and into the ground. It was something special to me.”
Kadillac had always felt moved to invoke positivity with his music. Though the band had already garnered a gold single in “Marching Bands,” accumulated tens of millions of streams, and won numerous Canadian awards—including a coveted JUNO—the singer-songwriter wanted to reinvent their sound. He promptly deleted a full album's worth of songs and started Neon Dreams anew.
In 2019, the duo released Sweet Dream till Sunbeams—an album comprising nine uplifting songs about not fitting in and overcoming adversity—and have continued to drop new material this year, covering subjects from Kadillac’s painful youth to his mother beating cancer. Though they consider themselves to be “alt-pop,” Neon Dreams’ music can’t be pigeonholed. Kadillac likes to describe their sound as “if Adam Levigne and Gym Class Heroes made a band that was influenced by early 2000s, late ‘90s inspirational coming of age movie soundtracks.”
They mix rock with pop sensibilities, and at times Kadillac rap sings. He also gives a nod to the hip-hop community by referencing other artists’ lyrics in his own. “I like triggering people’s memory when they hear something that’s familiar to them,” he says. But really, he and Morris write music from their hearts without being concerned with genre, and incorporate everythingfrom EDM to reggae in their sound.
“I want to be the soundtrack to the next generation,” Kadillac proclaims. “I’m not writing for a bunch of cool kids. I’m writing for the kid sitting in the hallway eating lunch; the kid that has the perfect family but just doesn’t fit into it; the people who feel out of place.”
He relays this message every time he’s onstage. Even live it’s just him and Morris, though he says they exude the energy of a six piece band. That sense of solidarity has resulted in fans opening up to him about Neon Dreams helping them through their darkest days.
“This is why I’m here,” Kadillac says, recalling the first time a fan told him they found solace in his music. “I’m not going to force people to live a better life, but when they want to feel better they have a place to go.”