MONTVILLE, NJ - For some, music can be just a hobby. But for others like 15-year-old Towaco resident Dylan Nieradka, music is a destiny.

“I picked up the guitar around seven-years-old and have been playing ever since,” said Nieradka, who is a freshman at Montville Township High School. “I was always into music. It just spoke to me. No matter if it was in the car or at a concert, there was always music and still is music always in my head.”

And as the music stays in his head, Nieradka has made many accomplishments with his guitar. This includes being in a local band called Chasing Paragon where a lot of cool stuff happens, including the release of single called “Not Enough” and tracking a bunch of songs for their debut album.

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“I really like being in a band,” said Nieradka. “Sometimes we have creative differences but working out the kinks in my opinion is one of the best parts about it. We all know each other so well by now, like we just know what’s up with each other and work it out. We learn cover songs for the stage, but we also write originals. The originals in my opinion really show our journey through finding our sound. I also love playing them on stage as well.”

Nieradka gets to play a lot on stage; from his high school to something much bigger. Last year, the young guitarist, who also attends the School of Rock program in Montclair, got to travel to Milwaukee and attend Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival. There, Nieradka participated in a guitar-themed Shredfest, where he competed with about 43 guitarists and placed third.

Following Summerfest, Nieradka attended a clinic, meeting and jamming in classes with famous musicians such as Steve Vai of Whitesnake, Joe Satriani, who toured with Mick Jagger, and Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick.

In recent months, Nieradka was named to another guitar competition, known as the Dallas International Guitar Festival’s elite list, called the “10 under 20,” which is the top 10 best guitar players anywhere under 20 years old. The Towaco guitarist and his family could not be happier for the upcoming competition.

“I have seven minutes to perform whatever material I want to, to show what I’m best at,” said Nieradka. “There is a first, second, and third place winner. It is absolutely crazy awesome that I am part of this, and I am really looking forward to it. I can’t wait to meet all the awesome players and people. To me, it’s not really even about winning, I just love the music and people who play it. I’m also looking forward to checking out all the guitars and gear from my favorite companies.”

Furthermore, Nieradka intends to put together a collaboration video with other musicians and posting it out on social media. He also has another collaboration video project with a group of musicians from Vai Academy. At the same time, as he tries to discover his own unique sound and tone, Nieradka has been penning his own solo material.

In the future, Nieradka would like his life to remain music-related, such as a touring musician in a band, a session musician, an audio engineer or a college music professor. He currently has his eyes set on places like the Musicians Institute in Hollywood and Berklee College of Music. Until then, the Towaco teenager continues to keep his guitar at his side, playing whatever is currently in his head.

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