Riding high on a hit song is good. Riding high on a hit song video for less than five-hundred dollars in a moose suit, even better. This is Dan Davidson’s approach.
By now, if you are a fan of country music, you might have heard about this Canadian guy in a moose mascot outfit and his cool music video. If not, you’re in for a bit of schooling, Hoss. Dan Davidson is the next man up when it comes to being on the edge of breaking into the realm of household music names coming out of the Great White North. Getting ready to release his third single, still dealing with the fame a very shoestring budget video – watch it already – has garnered him, and getting ready to take on the big label guys in 2017, to say he’s a bit busy is an understatement.
We managed to catch up to Dan for a few minutes to find out about what’s going on with the Moose Messiah and all the things that we can expect to come down the pipeline. So, after the chorus for “Found” is entrenched in your brain, read the interview below. Then head over to Facebook or Twitter and let us know what you thought. We need a reason to break open the boss’ 12-year-old whiskey he’s been saving for a rainy day.
NRR: Thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for National County Review. What’s been going on with you, Mr. Davidson, so far into the early Fall of 2016?
: Well, Iâ€™m just wrapping up a crazy successful campaign with the breakout single “Found.” We really had a David vs. Goliath kind of summer and came out on top! I had the #1 selling Canadian Country single, a Top 20 at radio, and also a video that went top 20 on CMT
! Because of all that, Iâ€™m already booking into next summer. Right now Iâ€™m actually gearing up to release a brand new single and try to make lightning strike again with this next one!
NRR: Okay, let’s do some background stuff for the folks south of the border. How does one go from a Canadian Indie Rock band, Tupelo Honey, to doing indie Country Music?
Dan Davidson: Itâ€™s actually been a long time coming. Tupelo Honey was such an amazing experience, we released some very successful music and got to tour North America with bands like Bon Jovi, Three Days Grace, Billy Talent, Papa Roach, Shinedown, and many more. I learned everything about the industry. It also led me to a publishing deal with Red Brick Songs in Toronto. This publishing deal guided me towards writing all kinds of music. Before I knew it, I was writing and producing Top 40 Pop songs and working on Country Music which became the most natural feeling thing Iâ€™ve ever done. For about three years I was toying with the idea of a Country solo project and working up starting points for potential singles. After getting some inspiration and motivational advice from some industry pals that had become massively successful in the genre, I decided to pull the trigger. Two singles later, Iâ€™m here!
NRR: Well, let’s just jump right into the big question, how is your single for “Found” doing?
Dan Davidson: “Found” absolutely was a career maker for me. It proved that a good song CAN compete in a major label game. It was #1 on the biggest Country radio station in Canada (JRFM Vancouver), #16 nationally in Country, the top selling Canadian Country track for several weeks in the summer, Top 20 on CMT, and even hit #16 on iTunes. Really broke some new ground as an Indie. Pretty cool feeling!
NRR: Now for those that haven’t seen the video for “Found,” which was filmed by director Travis Nesbitt in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, what was the process like for all of the craziness that is a video shoot on a shoestring budget?
Dan Davidson: (Laughing), I always love when interviewers ask, “How did you come up with the concept?”â€¦ my response is usually “What concept?!”. The process was very off the cuff. The song was blowing up, and I needed a video. Luckily, one of my best friends is a video director. I sat with Travis, and we tried to figure out how to stretch the tiny budget. After a long silence, Travis simply said “mascot costumes,” and we went with it! We literally just scribbled down some very vague shots that we thought would be funny, called the band up, and shot it that weekend. We thought it would get some viral views and that would be it. I was so shocked when CMT put it into heavy rotation right off the bat!
NRR: Since “Found” is the second single you’ve released, is there a album in any kind of finished or finishing stages that current and new fans can take great solace in knowing is coming to them at some point soon?
Dan Davidson: Yes! Iâ€™m about to release my third single, and then Iâ€™m hoping to have an EP out in April, followed by an album mid-summer. Lots of content coming your way!
NRR: Being a solo artist is a different beast then being in a band for many reasons. What’s the writing process for you when you get the nucleus of a song idea in your mind’s eye since you don’t have other people in a group setting to bounce ideas off of?
Dan Davidson: Well, typically I co-write with at least one other person, so in a sense, itâ€™s still very much like a band. I love creative collaborations with other writers and producers. Bringing like-minded musical personalities and flavors to my ideas really helps them come to life. With “Found” I had the chorus and pre-chorus written without any music. I was just stomping around my kitchen singing like an idiot. Then one day, I called up my friend Clayton Bellamy, who plays in a very successful band called The Road Hammers, to do a co-write. We finished up “Found” and I sent it to my producer, and after doing a lot of Skype sessions to iron out the wrinkles the track came to life.
NRR: What influence(s) would you be able hear in your style of play regardless of the genre that might have hatched it/them?
Dan Davidson: Thatâ€™sâ€™ a cool question. I like to think people will be able to hear some 70s rock vibes, The Eagles, etc., some classic country themes; Willie Nelson was a big influence, and some ‘good times’ Country Rock elements from acts like CCR and John Denver. I’ve also loved so many other artists that have influenced my development in music that may not be as obvious, [such as] Foo Fighters, U2, Blue Rodeo, Lyle Lovett, etc.
NRR: If you were in the crowd after your set, and heard two people talking about Dan Davidson country music star, how would you hope the conversation might go?
Person 1: That was awesome! Should we just give him all of our money now?
Person 2: Yes, absolutely.
(Laughing)! I guess Iâ€™d just love to have people talk about how great the energy was and how it seemed like the band was having a good time on stage. I always feel like when the music performance IS fun, the crowd is generally happier. One day Iâ€™d also love to hear someone say “I sang the whole time!”
NRR: If you could catch the eye of an adult beverage maker, who would be the dream for free product and cash for your first US headlining tour in a perfect world?
Dan Davidson: I am a big fan of J.P. Wiser’s Canadian Whisky. That stuff is delicious! I am also a beer man, and I could definitely be alright with a sponsorship from a Canadian beer called Moosehead, the most Canadian sounding beer ever, EH?.
NRR: Are you still a music fans outside of being on stage, and if so, is there anyone you’d be excited to catch live, and if so who and/or why?
Dan Davidson: Oh yea, definitely! I love seeing all kinds of music live. I think as a live performer there is so much to absorb and learn from what works in front of crowds, no matter the genre. Iâ€™d love to see Chris Stapleton, The 1975, Bruno Mars, Rage Against The Machine, The Roots, Eric Church, and so many more! I guess I would pick these acts because they are all so different, yet so widely loved. It would be so cool to know what about their music and stage show resonates most with people. Sometimes music is such a cool, endless sociology study!
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