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The name Dave Barnes is synonymous with awesome. By day, he’s an independent musician who just recently released his eighth studio album, Golden Days. By night, he’s a bit of a Nashville superhero, moonlighting as a mentor, award-winning songwriter, standup comedian, husband and new father.
We recently had the chance to chat with Dave about his new album, writing country hits, his incredible 12 year journey in the music industry and his big plans for 2014.
KIC: This is your 8th studio album – what can fans expect from Golden Days?
DB: Hopefully a subtle combination of more of what they hopefully like about what I do, while pushing the boundaries a bit musically and lyrically from what I’ve talked about and how I’ve done that before.
Although you may not know the name David Fanning just yet, chances are if you’ve turned on country radio recently, you’ve heard a song he’s had his hand in. Since arriving in Nashville seven years ago, he’s been working behind-the-scenes, but now, he’s confidently making the leap from one side of the microphone to the other. And he’s got Justin Timberlake‘s endorsement.
Before moving to Nashville at the age of twenty, David Fanning grew up in Admore, Alabama, which is on the Alabama/Tennesee line, and was always surrounded by music. His family sang 50′s & 60′s Acapella music on weekends, while it was his older sister who listened to country music. In typical younger sibling fashion, David idolized his sister and wanted to be just like her. “She was in the Bryan White fan club, so I had to be like her and be in the Bryan White fanclub.” He laughs, recalling his intro to country music.
David tells us that he played shows whenever the opportunity arose, and at the age of twenty, he packed up and headed to Nashville. Upon arriving in Nashville, he met Rich Redmond, Tully Kennedy, and Kurt Allison, members of Jason Aldean‘s touring and recording band. The foursome began New Voice Entertainment and began writing and producing for new acts. Together, they’ve produced hits such as “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?,” which David describes as one his first steps into professional production.
Hannah and Abby Herrold, collectively The Herrold Sisters, are a sibling singer-songwriter duo from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Fifteen-year-old Hannah and twelve-year-old Abby may be young, but they certainly have big dreams and they are determined to make those dreams a reality.
We recently had the pleasure of getting to interview the girls, and they seem well on their way to achieving their goal of making a name for themselves as country artists.
While Abby has had a life-long love for music and performing that rubbed off on her sister, their quest for a career as a duo commenced a couple of years ago. Abby had received a guitar as a birthday gift, and began taking lessons. In true sister fashion, Hannah started stealing the guitar. In no time, however, Hannah got her own and the girls began singing, playing, and harmonizing together. As Abby told us, “the rest is history.”
The girls have been traveling to Nashville for the past several months in order to further the pursuit of their dream, and they both agree that it has been their favorite part of their journey thus far. They are very thankful for the opportunity, and know that this business takes an immense amount of hard work. “We have been going to meet with an artist development manager to work on our playlist, guitar lessons and we do some song writing. It’s really a great opportunity!” shared Hannah. “We have really learned what the music business is like – it’s hard work! When we go there, we get to do what we love doing – playing music.” added Abby.
While the siblings admit that it is not always easy spending so much time together practicing and honing their craft, they truly love performing together and happily find their sisterly bond growing stronger. Abby said, “I feel like we’ve become really close to each other because of the time we spend together.”
The girls have videos ranging from original to cover songs on YouTube and their website. With inspirations including The Dixie Chicks, Carrie Underwood, The Band Perry, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, they really enjoy performing other artists’ material and trying to make a song their own. Their favorite song to cover is “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash, and Hannah thinks that it is their best one yet.
The sisters are currently co-writing new songs and getting ready for the album they will be recording and producing this summer. “We’ve been working with Johnny Garcia (Swat Music Group) in Nashville and are really excited about the next CD!” said Hannah. As they continue to work towards their goal, they are “going to keep working on getting better!” noted Abby.
These talented girls certainly do not let their age hinder them in any way. “Just because we’re young doesn’t mean we can’t dream big! We have big dreams and we want them to happen soon!” shared Hannah. “What Hannah said!” Abby adorably added.
With The Herrold Sisters’ drive and passion, we think the dream is right within reach!
“I remember telling my sister when I was very young, ‘I either want to be like Alvin and the Chipmunks or Garth Brooks.’”
That is my favorite quote from my interview with Brent Rupard.
Brent is a proud Kentuckian who took the leap of faith and headed to Nashville in 2010 to pursue his dream and passion – music.
Rupard (pronounced Rooperd he jokingly noted) is from the small town of Shepherdsville, Kentucky. He took a liking to music early in his childhood. After his dad taught him his first guitar chord at age 10, an artist was born as they say and he started writing songs a few years later.
After he made the move to Nashville to pursue his dream career, he soon found a home for his songwriting. With the help of Leann Phelan (ASCAP), he signed a publishing deal with Sea Gayle Music Publishing which is owned by Brad Paisley, Chris DuBois and Frank Rogers.
After about a year of focusing on his writing, he started and is currently working on his debut album. He is hoping for it to be released sometime this year. When asked about his album, he says: “Working on this record has been the highlight of my life. This is a record I’ve always wanted to make. I’ve been fortunate to work on this album with Bryan Simpson and Justin Niebank producing. This record will have the elements of a “rootsy” back porch style with a big ol’ slice of Rock n’ Roll. According to my producer Bryan Simpson, ‘It’s kind of like Garth Brooks meets Levon Helm.’ I have really poured my soul into this project and I hope people get a clear picture of who Brent Rupard is from this debut album.”
If you read our October 2013 interview with Jo Dee Messina, you likely noticed that we announced a March 18, 2014 release of her next studio album, Me. Today, Jo Dee’s camp confirmed that March 18th will, indeed, be the release of the highly anticipated fan-funded project.
Today, on JoDeeMessina.com, it was announced that Jo Dee’s new full-length album will be released Tuesday, March 18th. The album, entitled Me, which was chosen by fans, has been described as Jo Dee’s “most personal album to date as she wrote or co-wrote many of the songs and will release it on her own newly established label, Dreambound Records, with distribution by eOne Music.” From the beginning to the end of the creation of this album, Jo Dee has been able to maintain complete creative control, something that was lacking in her career before this point.
There are many words that can be used to describe singer/songwriter/musician, Jenn Bostic: talented; intelligent; humble; gracious; personable; soulful; inspiring … and that is just to name a few. During our extremely chatty telephone conversation, I learned that Jenn is one of the mentally and physically strongest people I have had the pleasure of “meeting” and that this artist gets lost in her craft for the most admirable of reasons. With accolades and awards that are exceedingly impressive and in which any artist would hold a great deal of pride, what Jenn holds dearest is the impact she has made on the lives of those who can relate to her music.
Jenn Bostic was raised in a musical family. When she was younger, her family would sit around after dinner, with her father playing guitar, and he and Jenn would each sing songs. In an extraordinarily unfortunate twist of fate, Jenn’s father’s life was cut short in a tragic car accident when she was ten years of age. “It broke my heart, but trying to find a therapy to express those things was so difficult, so I sat down at the piano again and, for me, he taught me how to play, he taught me how to sing … that was the one connection that remained with him not being around anymore. And, through that, I just enveloped myself in every form of music I could.”
When Austin Webb first visited Nashville in 2010, he drove from his hometown of Williamston, South Carolina in the middle of the night and arrived at Johnny Cash’s grave. There, he sat and played a mix of his own songs and those by the famous “Man in Black,” in what he tells us was a “spiritual moment where I truly found out who I was and who I was to become.”
The next morning, he “walked into the Waffle House, put on a Patsy Cline 45 and sat down for breakfast.” Almost immediately, he struck up a conversation with an older gentleman.
He may not have known it when he sat down at Waffle House, but that day would change his life. The man he started talking to was Charlie Louvin, a member of the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame. “He told me I reminded him of Kris Kristofferson. He didn’t realize Kris was my biggest influence, and that’s still the biggest compliment of my life.” After that fateful meeting, Louvin invited Austin to see him play that night, where he invited him on stage and the two remained friends until Louvin’s death in 2011.
Although he had been writing poems since age 9 and performing since 15, it was another event in 2011 that would change his life. It was then that he won a local songwriting competition and headed to Music City. “I immediately quit my job and moved to Nashville the next day.”
In today’s music, it is common to hear a remix of some of your favorite songs; even heartfelt power ballads have turned into dance hits with the help of some of music’s most talented DJs. And just when you thought DJ’ing couldn’t become anymore unique, enter Dee Jay Silver, the first DJ to be signed to a major Nashville record label. Dee Jay has played in premier venues in virtually every major market in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, but has ultimately found his home in Nashville. Whether he is touring with Jason Aldean and playing in sold out stadiums, performing on the American Country Awards, or remixing the work of some of country’s best known artists, Dee Jay is bringing his talents to the fans of country music in a myriad of ways. Dee Jay took some time out of his day of “bad television” while he recovered from the ACAs in Las Vegas to talk with me about his music, his favorite tour stop to date, and his future plans (which included getting back to Nashville stat!).
Texas country star John David Kent has accomplished a lot so far in his musical career, with his accomplishments ranging from age 14 to now, and we want to introduce him to you! He has been playing music professionally since he was 14, has appeared on Letterman and Conan, and he signed his first major record deal at age 16. Not too shabby! He has received critical praise in the NY Times, Dallas Morning News, Lone Star Music Magazine, Billboard, American Songwriter, and many more. We were introduced to his music and we just had to share!
His sophomore album, Before the Sun Comes Up, spawned the Top 10 single “Until We Turn Around,” and Kent wrote or co-wrote 8 out of the 10 tracks, including UWTA. We are looking forward to John David’s future success and wanted to share our interview with him below:
For those who are hearing about you for the first time, tell us a little bit about yourself! I grew up in a very musical family. Both of my parents play instruments, and played music from all genres on the turn table around the house as I was growing up. The music from that time and those experiences heavily influence me to this day. I started playing drums when I was 4, and began teaching myself piano around 8, and picked up lots of other instruments along the way. I signed my first record deal at the age of 16 as a member of the alt-rock band Radish, and I’ve been touring the world since then, and never looked back!
What was your first encounter with music and what made you decide that you wanted to pursue a career in music? My dad had a country band (Second Wind) when I was 4 or so, and I remember him taking me over to the drummer’s house and seeing his drums in the living room. It was the first “real” drum set I had ever seen, and it looked like a space ship, or something with magical powers. I used to sit right beside the drummer during their rehearsals while the other kids played, and I just soaked it in. I can’t remember audibly saying I wanted to play music “for a living”, but the bug definitely bit me early.
What has been the biggest challenge so far for you in your career? Patience!
What are some of your biggest influences when it comes to writing and singing? Tell us a little bit about a typical writing session for you. Some of my favs are Roger Miller, Tom Petty, Steve Miller, Carole King, Kris Kristofferson. Most of the time I sit down with the guitar or at the piano and start strumming/playing some chords. If something starts to vibe, I’ll start just kind of singing gibberish over them, and if I land on a melody, a lot of times lyrics will come simultaneously and that’s what the song ends up being about. I think there is a spiritual aspect going on when you’re being creative and it consciously or subconsciously influences your work.
Is there one song you’ve written that you’re more proud of than others? I’m really proud of ‘Loves Just Another Word”, a song on my first album. I wrote it based on an actual event/experience and didn’t have to bend or shape the lyrics to make them rhyme. And I’m really proud of the message that’s in there.
You recently released a new album called “Before The Sun Comes Up,” tell us a little bit about the story behind it. I wanted to make an up-beat/summertime/feel-good album, and I think we captured that vibe pretty well with this new album. A lot of the songs are written from a “young man coming of age” perspective. I got to relive my past while writing a lot of the songs.
If you could go on tour with anyone, who would it be? There are lots of people I would like to go on tour with….. I love being on the road and the bonds you build with the people you tour with; the camaraderie, the brotherhood/sisterhood.
I saw that you’ve built your own studio and started your own record label. Tell us a little bit about that! I built “The Vault” recording studio about 13 years ago. It’s built in an old downtown bank building from the early 1900′s and still has the original vault. I use it as a live echo chamber like a lot of the studios back in the day had before effects units existed. Our label office runs out of the same building. I love being involved in all aspects of the business.
What is your highest ultimate dream/goal as an artist? I want to continue to release albums and tour world-wide.
You’ve had a lot of success in Texas, any plans to migrate to Nashville? I spend quite a bit of time in Nashville and will be spending much more time there in the new year. I have lots of friends there, and I love the energy in that town.
Lastly, where do you see yourself in 2014? Touring more nationally, doing lots of writing, and hopefully another tour in Europe
Lighting Fire Round:
Guilty pleasure: I don’t really believe in “guilty pleasures”. I think you like something or your don’t, and you should own it either way.
Biggest pet peeve: gossip
One song you wish you’d written? ”God Only Knows”
Most played song in your iTunes? ”The Warrior”
Dream duet partner? Carole King
For more information about John David Kent:
We recently introduced you to singer-songwriter, Maria Taylor, and now she’s back for an exclusive Q&A.
Taylor has a pretty hectic schedule these days to say the least. She just released her new album, Something About Knowing, is busy being a mom to her little boy who changed her whole world, and will be hitting the road in January!
The singer-songwriter plays the guitar, piano, and drums; would love to have one of her songs on Nashville (one of my favorite shows too); and has always known she wanted to be a musician.
I was lucky enough to interview the multi-talented artist and have her answer some questions for us. She was sweet and genuine, and I’m so glad to give you a chance to get to know her.