Artist Spotlight: David Fanning
We always try to introduce you to new music on 99.5 WKDQ, but we can’t put everybody on air. So, I decided to start spotlighting some of my favorite artists just for you! New artists, old artists, in between artists, I’ve got them all!
I called David Fanning on Tuesday to do an interview, fully expecting it to be over the phone. WRONG! David cleared his schedule and drove up Wednesday, six-string in hand, and I’m so glad he did! As you can tell by our "selfies", I knew within minutes of being around him we’d get along well, which unfortunately is the main reason I can’t include the audio from the actual interview ;)
David’s single “Drink You Away” has taken everybody by storm. This song was written by Justin Timberlake and is on his latest album “The 20/20 Experience- Part 2 of 2”. What’s even more incredible than David being able to turn a pop song by an iconic superstar into a country hit, is how quickly he was able to do it. “Storme Warren called me on a Tuesday morning, and told me he had this guy coming into the studio on Friday and he wanted to have a country version of this song to present. He told me it was Justin Timberlake and if anybody could do it, it’d be me. Well this was on a Tuesday, and I had shows scheduled on Wednesday and Thursday, so I told him I’d try. I went into the studio Tuesday night, cut the track, went out of town, got back Thursday night, sang the vocals, sat up with my buddy Jim Cooly all night Thursday mixing, and the following morning it was on the radio.” When I asked him what Justin thought he said he loved it, I guess the tweet below proves that!
David is originally from Texas, but he’s spent most of his life around the Alabama/Tennessee line. In fact, David was pretty upset when he found out that name was already taken ;) With being from the south, he wanted to experience the LA life, so at the age of 18, he packed up and moved to the west coast with one of his buddies. He quickly realized that he was too homegrown to ever live there, and made the move back to Nashville to continue pursuing what he knew he wanted. Music City had bigger plans for him than he could have ever dreamed. He always knew he wanted to be an artist, but after meeting Rich Redmond, Kurt Allison and Tully Kennedy, his dreams quickly expanded. You might know them as the band members for Jason Aldean, but all together, these guys make up New Voice Entertainment. David originally met them as an artist, to lay down some of his own tracks, but not long after meeting, the four clicked and welcomed him in. Production wasn’t something David ever saw in the cards for him, but after the guys took him under their wings, it all grew together. Today, David is considered a triple threat. He’s a producer, a songwriter and an artist. Some people struggle with one, but not him! I asked him how he balances the three and his response was, “If someone is going to trust me with their career and their music, I want to make sure I give them the best product. Everybody wins that way.” However, every other second of every other day is spent focusing on himself as an artist, in the long run, that’s the goal. One of the biggest accomplishments of David as a producer was Thompson Square’s “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not.” David couldn’t be any happier with that outcome. “As a producer, you can’t ask for much more!”
Luck has nothing to do with the success David has accomplished. Determination and stubbornness, maybe, but never luck. Within the past five years, his passion and skill has grown immensely. Since becoming a huge part of New Voice, David’s been able to step up his songwriting to a whole new level. Remember “Musta Had A Good Time” by Parmalee? Well, he co-wrote it! Out of everything he’s had a hand in writing so far, he puts that song at the top because that’s what started their career. To him, seeing them form and grow together was an amazing experience to be a part of. What about the latest member of our Country Whuppin’, Lindsay Ell? He co-wrote that song too!
One thing that I found to be pretty amazing was that music was never not an option. There was never a backup plan. He’s known music since he was a toddler singing on the weekends with his parents’ acapella group and impersonating Elvis, cape and all! He picked up the guitar and starting beating the drums around the age of 12, and wrote his first song when he was 14. His friends, though… kinda mean! He was in a band with some of his friends around this time, before they told him he sucked and kicked him out. I bet they’re kicking themselves right about now! At this point, David knew he had to focus more on guitar since he no longer had a player, and clearly, that’s working out pretty well for him!
Now, it’s one thing to perform for fans at an event, or a bar, or even to open up for one of your favorite artists, but it’s a completely different thing to perform for people you can have a huge impact on, in more ways than one. David does a lot of charity work with his music in schools, and LOVES it. He’ll take the afternoon, pack up his band and head out to either a high school or middle school and “literally blow the roof off of the gymnasium.” How awesome is that! Picture being in school, and having someone as amazing as David WANT to spend the afternoon playing for you. It not only helps these schools with funding by raising money, but it also has a huge impact on the students he plays for. David loves being that person these kids can look up to, and in my opinion, he’s one of the best role models they can follow. I mean, think about this, his friends kicked him out of a band when he was only 14. If he was able to continue pursuing his dreams after that to get to where he is today, that’s proof right there for these kids to dream big. He hasn’t played his new single “Drink You Away” for them yet… I wonder why? ;)
With being so involved in every aspect of music on a daily basis, winding down can become pretty impossible. BUT, David seems to have figured it out. He calls himself a “movieholic”, which is basically a word he made up describing a person obsessed with movies. The only problem, however, is that he’s running out of movies to watch! “There’s nothing worse than getting home after a long day and wanting to watch a movie on Netflix, and then realizing you’ve seen them all.” So, he does one better! It doesn’t matter if he’s been in the studio all day and he has to be up at 6, if there’s a new movie in theatres, there’s a good chance you’ll find him at the midnight showing!
I asked David what fans normally give him as a gift, and his response threw me a bit. He said they give him jewelry. Jewelry? Regardless of what it is, he loves it! Actually, he has a keepsake box at home to be able to store everything he’s been given. Although it’s thoughtful and very much appreciated, that’s not what he necessarily wants. I got the truth out of him! David LOVES peanut butter. Doesn’t even matter how he gets it, he’d be happy with a jar! But realistically, peanut butter fudge is the way to go. Oh! Or a Lamborghini…. Who wouldn’t want that?
Looks can be deceiving. Although he’s got that rocker vibe to him, David is country to the core. It doesn’t matter how he’s relaxing. If he’s outdoors, he’s happy! Being from the south, David grew up hunting, fishing and spending days on the lake. Success has not gotten to him, and I fully believe it never will. In talking with David in the days after he was here, I was guaranteed he’d NEVER turn diva on me, and I plan on holding him to that promise.