We first met Dan Davidson last summer at Festival Country de Lotbinière where he opened for Meghan Patrick. Dan immediately made an impression on both us and the audience, his energy was infectious and he knew how to work the stage. We talked to Dan after his performance and he was surprised at how many people knew him and his music in Quebec and that his fans lined up for a chance to meet him and get a photo taken before the show. In the year since Dan has toured across Canada with Brett Kissel and his new EP “Juliet” came out Feb 21, 2019 and debuted at #1 on the Canadian iTunes Country charts.
Dan is taking part in the SiriusXM Top of the Country competition and we think that he could very well be the one to beat. Don’t get us wrong all 8 of these finalists are incredibly talented but Dan is the only one with a resident tour witch doctor on staff which likely gives him a magical edge over the others. We caught up with Dan again this week via email to get his thoughts on the Top of the Country competition, we also got answers to questions that you won’t hear from Dan anywhere else so read on for the full interview.
SCE: You’re no stranger from the music scene, having spent some time in a rock band Tupelo Honey. You’ve shared the stage with acts like Bon Jovi, Theory of a Deadman, Thornley and Billy Talent to name just a few. You’re about 5 years into your new country music career and to date it seems as though some of the success you had in the rock world has followed you to the country side. You aren’t the first artist to take the leap from rock to country, Dallas Smith came from Default, Darius Rucker from Hootie and the Blowfish to name a few. What makes country music so attractive to make successful rockers want to cross over? Would you say you “Found” your calling?
Dan: Haha, well first off, high five for puns. Well I’m just wrapping up my third year in country music and man, its been insane how the stars have lined up for me! I’ve been super lucky to connect with country fans on the level I have right at the start. I was also really fortunate to have a great career in rock. We came up in a time when the industry was crashing – every time we had an American label flying out to see us, everyone at the label would be fired. It really helped me figure out how to survive as an indie. I had to be my own manager, agent, tour manager, promotions person, etc. I couldn’t have asked for a better music industry education – all this helped me set up my country career!
I didn’t really plan to eventually be a country singer. I think being an Albertan those country-isms are in most of us out here. When I started to write for a solo career, things started to just come out country. I started to go check out country shows and dip my toe a bit and realized – this was the world for me. Great fans, great songs, and room to grow as a songwriter!
SCE: Tell us about the two different genres from a musician’s point of view. The music, obviously, is different to some extent but what are the differences in the music community? The Canadian Country Music industry is often referred to as a family, how does rock compare, or does it?
Dan: I always found when I was in rock, there was definitely a vibe of competition amoungst the “opening” bands. In country its always felt, as you said, more of a family vibe. When I came into the country world I was happily shocked at how most of the artists had this “were all in this together” vibe.
Rock is a fun genre, its all about emotion – I always liked that. I found the problem was that what was cool in rock changed so dramatically all the time. I think that’s one really cool thing about country is that fans can be 14-90 and they seem to be fans for life.
I’ll always have a soft spot for rock and roll.
SCE: If you could own any make, model or style of vehicle what would you own?
Dan: 1995 White Ford Ranger – The truck of my youth! Haha ok maybe not… I’d probably love to have a Land Rover or something. Honestly never been much of a flashy car dude!
SCE: Your ideal brain food?
Dan: Fried egg sandwich! That’s my go to… also the best thing I cook… is that sad?
SCE: If you could see any artist in concert, who would you see (living or dead)?
Dan: Ummmm…. I would have loved to have seen Queen. I’ve seen a lot of cool shows I loved… Willie Nelson, Muse, FGL, Every Time I Die, The Eagles, Snoop Dogg, Justin Timberlake… but yea… Queen would have been AMAZING to see. Freddy Mercury was basically the best front-man of all time.
SCE: iPhone, Android or Pixel?
Dan: iPhone – I’m too deep to switch now!
SCE: What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Dan: Be great, don’t go away. I think my dad said that to me.
SCE: Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?
Dan: Vacation! I love Hawaii – its expensive but WORTH IT! My wife and I love Palm Springs too. We try to send a week or two a year down there. I think most of the time stress is best managed by taking the time to switch off for a second. I like to just spend some time with my phone off going out for dinner with my wife, maybe grabbing a beer with some friends, or crushing 50 hours of Game Of Thrones in a row.
SCE: If you could be any superhero who would you be?
Dan: I’d say Nightcrawler… if I could teleport Id never have to do a 15 hour van ride across the prairies EVER AGAIN!!!
SCE: Multiple Part Question: Star Trek or Star Wars? If Star Trek pick from the following (Original series, TNG, Deep Space Nine, Voyageur, Enterprise, Discovery or all of them I’m a Trekkie). If Star Wars pick from the following (original trilogy, second trilogy (aka Episodes I-III), third trilogy, spin offs, or all of them I love Star Wars and I’ll watch it as long as it has the words Star Wars on it)
Dan: Well, have you seen my video for “Say We Did”? I converted my garage to the Star Ship Enterprise (entirely out of cardboard…. Worth a watch). I gotta say Star Trek The Next Generation… its too good so, many unreal tiny stories… plus when captain Picard plays his little flute thing… its too hilarious. I’m also a fan of the original though… the way Kirk can seduce any race of species at any point in time is pretty amazing.
SCE: In “Dan Davidson, Story of My Life” – The Movie, who would play you?
Dan: THE ROCK!! OK maybe not… Well I’ve been told that Jim from The Office could be my brother… I’m going to go with that. Second choice… Oprah.
SCE: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
Dan: I think getting an independent gold record has got to be the top. Many top 10’s in Canada (even by major label acts) don’t even go gold- so to do that as an indie is pretty unheard of. Ill always be proud of that. Other than that, its been hard to top opening for Bon Jovi in my hometown with my old rock band Tupelo Honey.
SCE: Many artists we’ve worked with have crazy pre-show traditions or superstitions, if you will, that they must partake in before they’ll set foot on the stage. What is a must for you before every show?
Dan: Nah we don’t do anything crazy – we warm up. We have a shot of whiskey and toast with “BEST SHOW EVER!” (has to be initiated by my guitar player Tyler Dianocky. Oh, and there’s the whole voodoo ritual where we roll chicken bones and consult the tour witch doctor… but I think that kind of goes without saying.
SCE: Take a moment to tell country fans across Canada why they should come and vote for you to be Canada’s next Top Country Star!
Dan: Well, first off, I think if you’re going to vote – vote indie! That kind of money goes a long way when you have to do all your own fundraising for marketing, touring, content, gear etc! Myself and a couple other artists are waving the indie flag in this contest – I think that’s pretty cool. I hope people vote for me because they’re a fan of what I’ve done so far and love the new tune “Don’t Judge A Beer by The Label”. This song was super cool for me to work on – its hard (in my opinion) for country writers to write songs about things other than love, good times, and drinking. I’m proud to say that this song is really about something, its about being good to people out there and positivity out into the world. I’ve been putting in a lot of work in the trenches over the last couple years… went on the longest tour in Canadian history, played in 5 countries last year and I feel like its starting to get some attention. I hope country fans out there think so too!
SCE: When the dust clears on Top of The Country and festival season what’s next for Dan Davidson?
Dan: I’m actually off to Europe for a week right away – I’ve been asked to go over and write with some producers in Copenhagen and London for Scandinavian pop artists! Pretty cool opportunity! After that, festival season begins! I’m playing festivals in BC, Alberta, Ontario and PEI this summer. Its going to be a busy summer, but that’s the way I like them!
Voting for the SiriusXM Top of the Country ends TODAY so if you want to support Dan be sure to get your votes in NOW here: https://topcountry.siriusxm.ca/. Dan has a busy summer ahead with tour dates across Canada including a date in the Ottawa Valley at Palmer Rapids Twin Music Festival. If you want to learn even more about Dan, find links to his music and keep up to date with his show dates so you can catch him live head over to his website www.dandavidsonmusic.com
Big thanks to Dan for taking the time to answer our silly questions, we wish him the best of luck with the competition and look forward to crossing paths again very soon! From one Trekkie to Another Live Long and Prosper!
Dan mentioned his video for “Say We Did” in one of his answers. If you’re a Star Trek fan and haven’t seen it yet check it out below: