Armed with an electric guitar and a legacy of rock ‘n’ roll, Dina Dove is taking flight.
Dove, whose name is Ruth Buergenthal, is a second-year music history and industry student who will bring together rock music and catchy melodies with her electric guitar in this year’s Spring Sing. Growing up under the influence of high-energy groups like the Grateful Dead and The Clash, as well as the video game Rock Band, she said she was also drawn to Taylor Swift as a songwriter. For Dove, the practice of songwriting allows her to voice her thoughts in a nonconfrontational way.
“Writing songs is like saying everything that I left unsaid and being able to not only get it off of my chest but hopefully be able to say what other people were thinking or wish they had said as well,” Dove said.
More recently, her newfound interest in the music and media of the 1980s has inspired her songs’ emphasis on fun, she said. By mixing ’80s pop and ’90s grunge, Dove said she puts a modernized twist on both genres.
Her idea of spinning familiar music to make it her own also translates to her social media presence, where Dove said she rewrites and posts classic rock songs about women from the woman’s perspective. Dove’s close friend and second-year geology student Gwyneth Stolo said she has witnessed the effort Dove puts into growing her online presence.
“She’s very passionate about her music and putting it out there, and you can really see the work that she puts into advocating (for) herself on social media (and) the programs she uses to make her music” Stolo said. “Her music and her presence has grown at the same time.”
Through her music history and industry courses, Dove said she has really leaned into the marketing side of the music industry, which led her to TikTok. Her curriculum has also driven her to take the virtual stage to her apartment in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is an intern at Blackbird Studio learning about the industry. Dove said she has been immersed in music production methods while working at a location that musicians like Swift have frequented.
But because she is so far away from UCLA, Dove said she entered Spring Sing this year to feel more connected to the school, resulting in new connections and friendships. The process of filming her performance has led to her first video collaboration, which provided more mobility than performing on stage with a guitar and a microphone.
The video will also showcase her original song, titled “Call Me When You Have the Time.” As the track is about the frustration of trying to virtually reach out to friends during quarantine, Dove said the concept of the video focuses on the hobbies one can do instead of waiting around for a call back. She selected the song for this performance because she hopes its content can be relatable and optimistic for the audience.
“I think other people can probably relate to it or feel like they’ve been in the same position before, and so (I am) trying to turn that and make it into something tangible and something positive and a little upbeat, even though the whole situation has been pretty disappointing,” Dove said.
Dove’s ability to interact with others reflects how she is confident in being herself when performing, said her drummer and friend Sam Gleason, a second-year psychology student. Likewise, Stolo said Dove has easily adapted to connecting with audiences in the virtual sphere and can bring that to the upcoming competition.
“She is able to still maintain that interaction with the audience online as well as in person,” Stolo said. “She’s very adaptable and interactive, so I think she’ll get a bigger audience participation and response.”
Moving forward, Dove plans to release three songs in an EP format, which she said will reflect the production skills she learned at her internship. She said she hopes to continue sharing her music with others and become a professional musician and songwriter, fulfilling her childhood dream of being a rock star and following her love for music.
“I feel like no matter what happens in your life, you’re always listening to music and there’s always a song for it,” Dove said. “That’s really why I love (music) so much, is you can always find a song that you can relate with and that you can love or that you can hate, as long as it makes you happy.”