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Chatting with rising country artist Drake Milligan

Rising country artist Drake Milligan chatted with Digital Journal’s Markos Papadatos about his self-titled new EP.

Drake Milligan
Drake Milligan. Photo Credit: Jay Blakesberg
Drake Milligan. Photo Credit: Jay Blakesberg

Rising country artist Drake Milligan chatted with Digital Journal’s Markos Papadatos about his self-titled new EP.

On the song selection process for his new EP, he said, “There were two main things I wanted to achieve with this EP: First, find songs that had a classic flair to them, melodically & lyrically. I wasn’t interested in chasing “trends.” I just wanted to try and make something that I felt could hold up in any decade. Second, I knew I wanted these five songs to have range and to include a little something for everyone. I didn’t want them to sound repetitive or too similar.”

He continued, “I was lucky to have a great team in Broken Bow Records, Sony Music Publishing as well as producers Tony Brown and Brandon Hood to help me through the process of finding and choosing songs. We spent a lot of time listening to as many songs as we could. The five that made the EP I co-wrote. The entire process was a great learning experience for me. I’m very proud of these songs and excited to have them out in the world.”

Milligan listed “Kiss Goodbye All Night” as his personal favorite song on the EP at the moment. “I co-wrote it back in 2018 with Phil O’Donnell, Josh Jenkins, and Brandon Hood. It was the first song we chose for the EP. It was definitely a turning point in the whole process and really lit a fire under everyone to make the most out of this project,” he said.

On his music and songwriting inspirations, he said, “I find myself being constantly inspired by just being around the great talent and history that Nashville is drenched in. It’s almost like country music osmosis. When you’re around these great historic places, musicians, songwriters, and singers, you can’t help but soak a little bit of that up.”

He opened up about his biggest musical influences growing up. ” My earliest memories with music were what my parents were listening to, lots of country classics (George Strait, Alan Jackson, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Vern Gosdin)I then discovered who Elvis was when I was 7 or 8, and he quickly took over my musical world,” he said.

“Throughout middle and high school though, I dug into the Texas/Red Dirt music scene (Pat Green, Randy Rogers Band, Wade Bowen, Stoney LaRue, Whiskey Myers, Turnpike Troubadours). I feel like I’m always trying to broaden my influences, although still mostly staying in country music. Lately, I’ve been finding myself digging back into the catalogs of great country songwriters (Hank Cochran, Roger Miller, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt),” he elaborated.

He listed Willie Nelson and George Strait as his dream collaboration choices in music. “First, I think would have to be Willie Nelson. He is the ultimate stylist, truly one of a kind. He brings his own brand of magic to every song he plays. Second, George Strait. I’d love to do something fun like a good western swing song with him,” he said.

On being an artist in the digital age, he said, “I find it interesting that in today’s world we have access to any music we want at the tips of our fingers, and I think that’s why I find myself constantly going back towards older music. Every time I find an old artist or songwriter I didn’t know, it feels new to me. I think a lot of my generation feels the same.”

“As far as being an artist in today’s world, we‘re at a point in time where we can finish a song today and essentially have it available across the world in an instant. It’s inspiring to know that the possibility of reaching millions of people is always there,” he explained.

Regarding his definition of the word success, he said, “Success, to me, means getting to do what I love for as long as possible. I think as long as I’m singing, performing, and being inspired to reach new heights, I’ll consider myself successful.”

For his fans, he concluded about the new EP, “One thing I’ve always loved about music is how we can attach songs to certain moments or times in our lives, no matter how simple or profound the song may be. It’s a cool thought to me that one of my songs could potentially be a reminder of an important memory in someone’s life.”

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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