We had a chat with Dawson Reigns about his upcoming UK tour, his most recent self-titled EP and working in Nashville.
Hey Dawson! Dan here from yourlifeinasong.com, thanks for giving up some of your time to talk to us. You’ve recently announced another UK tour and you’ll be joined by The Rising and Gary Quinn. How excited are you about returning to the UK?
I’m very excited to be back on my next UK tour so early in 2017. The UK is a major part of my touring so expect to see me a couple times each year going forward. Having country rockers like The Rising and BCMA Male Artist of the Year, Gary Quinn joining the tour, definitely takes the show up a few notches. It’s gonna be a full night of music that any country music fan will enjoy!
You were on the road here back in October with Holloway Road on your very first national tour. What did you make of the whole experience?
It was exactly what I hoped it would be for a first time UK tour. The tour took me across England and up to the top point of Scotland. Got to see the sites, enjoy some new food and some classics and I got to meet a bunch of great people, fans and local artists that really welcomed me into the UK and the UK country music scene. Getting to hangout and start the tour off for the first four shows with Holloway Road was the perfect pairing. Those guys are super talented, definitely knowledgable of the UK country music scene and mainly just a blast to be around. Glad to be able to call them friends now and will be doing more with them in the future that’s for sure!
A lot of artists who tour here talk about the special connection they have with UK fans. Did you find there was a difference in the crowds over here to back home in the states?
I think that country fans from all over the world are very similar in the sense that they absolutely love the music and are very interested in the artists. The one thing I can say about UK country fans is that they made me feel welcomed and wanted immediately. It was great to see most fans that were at the shows grabbing both my debut CD and new EP. Tells me that they liked what they heard and saw and wanted more right away. It’s a great feeling for an artist but especially starting out in a new country where you aren’t sure what will happen til you get out on the road and put on the show. Love my UK fans!
For anybody here in the UK who isn’t familiar with your music yet, give us an introduction to yourself and what people can expect from your music.
Well I was born and grew up in Canada. Love sports and play hockey, golf, baseball, tennis and more. Been singing pretty much my whole life from school concerts and plays to karaoke to bands in bars. So I have a very diverse music background and like music from all genres really. After my debut CD in 2010, Enjoy The Ride, I made the permanent move to Nashville in 2011 where I started writing and working with some of the top people in the industry. I feel my music captures a lot of my exposure to the different genres I grew up with, especially classic rock. I love the story telling country music is all about and adding a little more rock to the sound is definitely my sound. So my fans will get some good stories and some kicking music!
You had international airplay in over 150 countries with your debut album ‘Enjoy The Ride’. What is it about country music nowadays that you feel has made it so accessible and engaging for people all across the world?
I think that the country music genre is made up of real people singing songs about real life experiences that so many of us can relate to in our daily lives. The fact that our music, videos and interviews like this can be heard, seen and read all over the world allows fans to get close to the artists like never before. This is a big reason why I want to get out to as many countries and play live for all the great country music fans. They have connected with me from across the world by buying my music, my merchandise and following me online through the difference social sites. We are in a great place now to be able to do so much with our fans even without being in their countries or cities but like I said I won’t to get to as many countries as I can to give them more.
Over the years you’ve written with some incredibly talented song writers including Byron Hill, Johnny Bulford and Phil Barton. What have you gained from working within the song writing circle in Nashville and how do you feel it’s shaped your own artistry?
I have been so fortunate to have been introduced to such amazing song writers in Nashville like the three guys you’ve mentioned and many more. Being in the mecca of country music like Nashville, promotes and supports the creative side of the music business like no other place in the world. The city is a buzz daily and nightly with writing sessions, studio sessions, live performances and song writer rounds. I can honestly say that if I didn’t make the move to Nashville I wouldn’t be as good a writer or an artist as I am now. To be able to work with and learn from so many talented people daily has made me a better artist all round!
What’s it like as an artist trying to break through in Nashville? There must be so much competition and the level and I imagine the level of talent there is incredible. Give us an insight into life over there from an artist’s perspective.
The amount of talented singers, songwriters, producers is crazy, Nashville has them all and a lot of them! Breaking through in Nashville can be hard but breaking through has many different meanings to everyone. You can breakthrough by signing a record deal, by getting signed at a publishing house or getting to play on studio recording sessions. For me I started coming to Nashville in 2004 every other month to learn more about the business, network and build relationships in the music industry. For me I wanted to break through on the level of being able to write with the big name writers, work with top producers, create my own label and make a name for myself in Nashville and globally. Since making Nashville my home 6 years ago it has been a lot of work, a lot of long days and late night but I can honestly say that I feel I’ve accomplished the first part of my goal and wouldn’t change a thing that got me to this point. Like any other career you are always trying to better yourself and be more successful. For me, it’s onto the next part of my career path which is taking that next step up as a country artist. Being a name that is recognized and in demand throughout the country music industry and to begin touring around the world.
You released your single ‘Love Was All You’ around the time of your UK tour last year. Canaan Smith was involved in the writing process, and Canaan is making a name for himself in the UK now. How does a song like that end up becoming a Dawson Reigns track? Do you have to battle for songs like that or are they offered to you specifically?
Songs on our CD’s or EP’s come from usually two places…ones we wrote or ones we got get from publishing houses that all the amazing songwriters are writing daily. You always want to write your songs for your project but when you find one or are given one to listen too and it’s great, you gotta take it. Love Was All You, that was written by Canaan Smith (Love You Like That), Jaron Boyer (My Kinda Party / Jason Aldean, Somewhere On A Beach / Dierks Bentley) and Aaron Goodvin (Out Like That / Luke Bryan), was one of those songs that was pitched to me and the moment I heard it I was hooked. I have written with Jaron and Aaron on a number of occasions and after this song was written and demo’d, Aaron brought it to me to listen too cause he knew it was my kinda song and he was right! Most times if a song is available it’s first come first get. That will change if a major A list artist wants it too, you’ll probably have to concede the song at that point. Luckily for me I haven’t run into that problem.
‘Love Was All You’ is a fun, anthemic track that pays homage to small-town roots. Was it that personal connection that attracted you to the song?
As a fan of music I’m always attracted to great music in a song be it a guitar riff, a drum beat or just the whole music production overall. As a writer I love a good story that I can follow along with and connect with as well. Love Was All You had both! Amazing music right off the top and the story is relatable to past loves and life experiences for me. I am from a small town and the story in this song is one that many people have lived in many small towns all over the world. And the song is very energetic so cranking it up in the car with the windows down fits well too!
Since then you’ve released a 6-track self-titled EP. Do you feel that there was an evolution and a progression for you as an artist between the ‘Enjoy The Ride’ album and the new EP?
Definitely! Like I mentioned earlier, you always try to better yourself or your craft in whatever career you’re in and I feel I have done that with my self titled EP. It’s the reason we didn’t name the EP something else. I really like how Enjoy The Ride sounded and still love playing the songs live now. I just felt that I’ve grown as a writer and artist and my sound has become more me at this point so having a self title EP now felt right. I’m sure the next EP or CD will continue to see me grow and evolve into what I hope is an even better song writer and that the music production will continue to be what the fans enjoy from me!
Apart from the UK tour, what does 2017 have in store for you?
Well my team and I are working hard as we speak on additional tours in other countries as well as some festival opportunities. We’re taking this old school by getting out and touring as much as possible in as many places to get up close and personal with all my existing fans and news fans around the world. Touring, playing live, visiting new countries and getting to meet everyone is the part I love the most. I can tell you that I will be back in the UK at some point over the summer for more live shows.
We can’t wait to see you back in the UK again very soon! Thanks so much for talking to us.
Thanks Dan! Looking forward to getting back to the UK in March!