We had the good fortune of connecting with Dan Harrison and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dan, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
The thing most people who aren’t in the music business don’t realize is how much of it has to do with luck and timing/relationships. There are so many talented artists/writers out there that deserve to be heard by a wider audience, and some of the best songs ever written will never see the light of day. But like any business, the music industry is driven by money and strategic relationships/connections, not just pure talent. That shouldn’t dishearten people, it’s just a fact of life, and still recognizing that you have to put in the work and have the talent/product. There will always be things out of your control, even for the most successful artists and musicians. The best you can do is work hard AND smart, so when the luck/opportunity comes, you’re ready for it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a country singer-songwriter who grew up listening to a lot other genres. I had some exposure to country growing up, Johnny Cash and 90s/early 00s female stars like Faith Hill and Gretchen Wilson, and but I didn’t really dive deep into country music until college. I used to think there was this underlying assumption that being country/liking country music is something you’re born with/raised on, and anything less is inauthentic. But much like rock and blues and r&b/jazz, country started out in the south but reaches and resonates with people across the country and world. For example, I grew up in Philadelphia, which has the 5th largest country radio station in the US! At the end of the day, country music is about storytelling and authenticity, and I believe what sets my music apart is being authentic about my story. I didn’t grow up on a farm, but there’s a truth and perspective in country music that I identify with, and I want my music to be a bridge between people who might not traditionally have listened to country music, but come to see that it’s relevant and unique and special in ways that other genres aren’t. Sometimes I feel an urge to “fit” with the Nashville sound and be exactly like what’s on the radio, and try to frame my story in a way that fits other country artists’ narratives. There’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration and influence, but I’ve learned along the way to embrace what makes me different as an artist/person, and try to lean into that and not be afraid to be vulnerable/tell my story, and explore sonically. I hope any success or exposure I have can show the world that being who you are is always the right path to take.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When I have friends visiting Nashville, there’s a few places I try to take them. Certainly Lower Broadway (if only for a little bit, as that can get overwhelming pretty quickly), and Midtown/Music Row, so they can see a lot of the historic music places and venues/shows. The Bluebird Cafe, The Ryman, and The Opry are must-sees as well, whether for a show or just a tour. But there’s so much more to Nashville than that as well! I’d take them to eat at some good southern cooking like Monell’s, Loveless Cafe, Husk, and maybe even Hattie B’s (just to say they’ve had Hot Chicken). I’d also bring them to check out East Nashville scene, a lot of great bars and restaurants/venues over there. There’s also some great outdoor hiking out east by the Lake, and southwest in Percy Warner Park. I could go on, but that’s definitely a good starting point!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate this to my parents for supporting my dreams, all of my friends and colleagues I’ve met and learned so much from/grown with in Nashville, and to my girlfriend Ali, who believes in me more than I do sometimes, and is a constant source of inspiration.