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article imageDevin Dawson talks 'Dark Horse' album, new single, Taylor Swift Special

By Markos Papadatos     May 20, 2018 in Music
Devin Dawson chatted with Digital Journal about his album "Dark Horse," his latest single "Asking For a Friend," and his dream female duet partners, which include Taylor Swift.
Dawson co-wrote every track on his debut album Dark Horse, which is the highest charting country debut from a solo male so far. The CD features his gold-certified single "All On Me."
On the song selection process for Dark Horse, he said, "The songs happened to fall together. We write hundreds of songs for these albums. For me, I wanted to put songs together that all worked together, and they all had their own moment. I didn't want to write two songs about the same subject. I wanted them to have their own identity. It has love songs, heartbreak songs, live songs, uptempo, mid-tempo and dark songs."
New single: 'Asking For a Friend'
His latest radio single "Asking For a Friend" was the most added song at country radio on its release week, and it made Rolling Stone's list for "10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week." "I am excited to start the next chapter, and have another single, and start sparking our way up the charts. It is exciting," he said. "The song has a George Strait 'The Chair' feel to it, lyrically. Those are the songs that I grew up listening to. I wanted to emulate that feeling or lyric. It lets you in a little bit at a time, and it doesn't give you everything at once. It lets you put your own story to it," he said.
While it was difficult for Dawson to select a personal favorite tune on the album, he listed the title track as the "most personal" song on the album. "I actually wrote that song after the record was done. I wrote a song about me, and it showed itself after the fact. 'Dark Horse' is just so true to me, which makes it one of my favorites," he said.
Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17 at NASH FM 94.7
On May 5, 2018, Dawson performed at NASH FM 94.7's Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17 in New York City, along with fellow country stars Brett Eldredge and Jillian Jacqueline. "It was great," he exclaimed. "We have gone through there on radio tour, and we were actually one of the first artists to play that room. It has a nice stage and vibe, and that means the world to us. It was cool to bring the whole tour package to the radio station," he said.
This year, Dawson secured an Academy of Country Music (ACM) nomination for "New Male Vocalist of the Year," and he will be joining country superstars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill this summer on their "Soul2Soul World Tour."
In the fall, Dawson will be touring once again with label-mate, country star Brett Eldredge on the second leg of "The Long Way Tour."
A 28-year-old musician, Dawson hails from Orangevale, California. He grew up just outside of Folsom Prison and moved to Nashville in 2012.
Influences and dream duets
Dawson credited Johnny Cash, George Strait and Marvin Gaye among his early musical influences. He also listed Taylor Swift as his dream female collaboration choice in music. "I think Taylor Swift would be an incredible duet. She gave me some help early on in my career. She tweeted a video that I did, and that video helped me get discovered. That would be a really cool full circle moment," he said. "I also love Maren Morris. She also took me out on the road early on in my career. I love what she does. She is honest and writing her story."
Advice for aspiring musicians
For aspiring songwriters, Dawson encouraged them to move to a city with other singer-songwriters. "I grew up in Northern California, and I started to do open mic nights. It's good to get your chops, but you have to be present to win the prize. One of the most important things is being at a place where there are other songwriters such as Nashville, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, New Orleans, and London. Somewhere where there is a music scene," he said.
Dawson continued, "Stick to your guns and write your own stories. Write things that happen to you. If you are an artist, you need to write your own stories. As an artist, you have to write about what you are going through. That is what people resonate with, and they can tell if it is genuine or not."
He defined the word success as "Being able to play music and being comfortable." "I consider myself successful at this point since I get to play music and be comfy, but I want to take that all the way to the top. I want to be one of the biggest artists in the world," he said.
Digital transformation of music business
On the impact of technology on the modern country music business, Dawson said, "Access is bigger than ever. Anybody can access music. Before, you might have to go to a record store or see them live. You couldn't become a fan of somebody just by seeing them online. Also, thanks to technology, as artists, we have to step up our game. We have to keep putting out great songs, because people want more music quicker. They don't want an album every three years, they want singles every other month. It changes the way that we create music, and technology has allowed people to do things without being signed to a label, like Chance The Rapper who is unsigned and still a huge artist. Technology is a beautiful spectrum."
For his fans, Dawson concluded, "Stick with me. I've met so many people telling me that my songs changed their lives and helped them through some hard times or through some great times (like weddings). I will be giving everything I have until I can't possibly do that anymore."
To learn more about country sensation Devin Dawson and his touring schedule, check out his official website.
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