By Christina Philippides, news correspondent
Northeastern senior Dylan Rockoff opened for Bon Jovi in the iconic Madison Square Garden on Saturday in front of thousands of people.
Rockoff, a business administration major with a concentration in finance and music industry minor, is no stranger to music success. He released a debut single in 2015 titled “Feeling Fine,” which reached No. 51 on the iTunes singer-songwriter chart. He also produced an EP titled “These Old Streets,” had his music featured on “The Today Show” and embarked on a tour across the East Coast, visiting cities including New York, Philadelphia and Boston.
He called these accomplishments “a dream come true,” and his latest accomplishment left him beaming with excitement.
“I grew up listening to Bon Jovi,” Rockoff said. “My mom is a huge fan, so actually having the opportunity to open for an artist that means so much to me is crazy. When Live Nation informed us that we had won [to open for Bon Jovi], I couldn’t believe it. It’s unreal.”
Rockoff’s band, Dylan Rockoff, has four members: Rockoff as the guitarist and vocalist; Dillon Salkovitz, a junior Northeastern student majoring business administration with a concentration in marketing and minoring in music industry, as the bassist and backup vocalist; Jasper van Dijk, a junior film scoring and electronic production and design dual major, as the keyboardist and backup vocalist; and Valentin Fritz, a senior contemporary writing and production major, as the percussionist.
Live Nation, a live-events company that focuses on worldwide concert and entertainment-show promotions, created an opening act contest with Bon Jovi Management in January. Solo artists and bands were able to submit applications, Live Nation chose 10 finalists and Bon Jovi Management selected the opening act contest winner in March for each tour date.
All musicians who are selected as tour openers were featured on Live Nation and Bon Jovi’s Facebook pages. Rockoff and his band members were originally scheduled to perform on April 8, but their performance was moved to April 15 to give Bon Jovi time to recover from bronchitis.
In the days leading up to the performance, Salkovitz said that opening for Bon Jovi is only the beginning of the band’s career.
“I’m not nervous at all. The four of us feel most at home when we’re on stage so it’s 100 percent excitement on our end,” Salkovitz said. “As a musician, you are constantly yearning for a bigger stage and a greater audience, and Madison Square Garden is the top of the hill.”
Rockoff is currently a financial service intern at Paul McCoy Family Office Services in Boston. He is also a guitarist and vocalist in bands: ClydeFrog and Dylan & Maverick.
Music was always a large part of Rockoff’s life and upbringing, having come from a very musical family.
“My parents, who realized how much I loved guitar, sent me to music school,” Rockoff said. “I learned how to not only play the guitar, but also how to play blues, jazz and R&B, and took classes on music theory and music history.”
Sean Mula, a junior music industry major at Northeastern, has worked with Rockoff since high school to produce music. When Mula released a single, he gave Rockoff a feature in it.
“We became close friends because of our shared passion for music, and collaborated a lot in high school,” Mula said. “It was always rewarding working with him, he has good ideas and is very talented.”
Rockoff hopes to utilize his skills to possibly turn his music career into a business, while looking to find and build a network of work opportunities related to music, finance or both.
“Ideally, I would like to be a performer and a musician for the rest of my life,” Rockoff said. “However, I know I will always be able to use my expertise in business and finance in the music industry, such as market my music and calculate the finances for performances.”
Rockoff said that opening for Bon Jovi has encouraged him to work harder in achieving his goals. He said he once believed that performing at Madison Square Garden in front of thousands of people was almost impossible, but now he knows that even the most challenging opportunities are attainable.
“Headlining Madison Square Garden is something I’d love to see happen,” Rockoff said. “It’s reaching for the stars but you’ve gotta aim high.”