Dawson Reigns first emerged on the international stage half a decade ago with the rock drive of Enjoy The Ride. The Canadian songsmith returned after an extended break with the irrepressible single 'Love Was All You' before playing a handful of intimate UK shows. He's currently out on a UK-wide tour, showcasing his rock country sound, and is about to release the single 'The Night Ain't Even Over Yet'. Musos' caught up with him for a wee natter before he hit the road.
MG: Hi Dawson! You're about to head out on a tour of the UK [22nd - 31st March]. Are you excited?
DR: 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!
MG: What is it about performing in the UK that you enjoy?
DR: I love everything about the UK! I love the people, the cities, the food and the pubs! My one living grandfather is from Sheffield, so growing up I heard about his years in England and the history of the country and, yes, the food. Roast beef, potatoes, yorkshire pudding and meat pies were a regular for me growing up. As a performer I appreciate how welcomed the UK country music fans, UK country artists, radio and the media have made me feel. You don’t know what to expect until you get here and do your thing and it’s been great from the start! I plan on being back a couple times every year.
MG: You are a Canadian based in Nashville creating a cross-genre sound. What are your ambitions?
DR: I’ve had my career plans and goals set for some time now and have been checking them off over the past six years. Moving to Nashville was a big one and really the first major step in my career path. Writing with top industry writers, working with top producers and creating the business relationships I have now that allowed me to open my own independent label, Hit Maker Entertainment, are the foundations for my career and where I want it to go. Now it’s about touring as many
countries around the world annually, like the UK, and starting to establish myself back in the US as an artist to watch for years to come.
MG: Your debut single, 'Love Was All You', got a great radio response in the UK. Did you anticipate it's success?
DR: My team and I knew we had a great single with 'Love Was All You' coming out of the studio to launch with last summer. We had some good pre-release response from radio and other industry people that gave us some confidence with it. But to see radio, media and fans react the way they did in the UK has been great! The song is still being played in the UK and around the world so we think we made the right choice in leading with it off my new EP.
MG: We hear you have another single up your sleeve. Tell us about it…
DR: Another single is coming to radio real soon! It’s one that I wrote with one of the co-writers on 'Love Was All You'. It’s another high tempo, good feel, relationship story that we’re just as excited to release as we were with the first single. Definitely a good song coming outta the winter months into the spring and summer to get everyone feeling good!
MG: They are both lifted from your eponymous EP. How did you piece
together that body of work?
DR: Well along with getting Hit Maker Entertainment up and running, planning for this EP has been in the works for a couple years. Although I’ve been a little quiet on the live show side of things up until the 'Love Was All You' release last summer, I’ve been writing a lot with some of the very best writers in Nashville for this project. Also, I’ve sitting in publishing houses listening to songs being pitched to me for it as well. So you end up having dozens of songs iou’ve written and just as many collected songs from top writers in town. Then it comes down to putting the best songs on the CD or EP, be it your own or ones you collected. I think we did that with the six songs we selected for my EP.
MG: You have written a couple of the songs on the EP. How important is it for you to write your own work?
DR: I feel it’s becoming more and more important to me, and to many artists, that you have your own written songs on your projects. The songs have to mean something to me to be on my CD/EP and the more of my songs are included the more they are coming from my thoughts, my experiences or my wants. The
songs still have to be great to make it on the CD/EP, you aren’t doing yourself or your fans any favours by not putting on the best music you have be. I was
told long ago that you always put the best songs on your CD/EP even if that means fewer of your own. My goal is to keep writing with these hit song writers and every great song will be mine on the next CD/EP.
MG: When interpreting the words of others, what is your approach?
DR: I don’t really have an approach to be honest. I think you listen to a song and you either connect with it or you don’t. This is what we as artists are trying to do with our fans too. We put out music we love and we hope that they can connect with the song both musically and lyrically. So as an artist if I’m looking to collect songs for a project, I’m doing the same. It has to sound good musically to give me a feel for the song but lyrically I need to connect with it or I won’t cut it.
MG: The tour sees you team up with The Rising and Gary Quinn, which is a real cross-continental line-up. How did it come together?
DR: I’ve very excited to have The Rising and Gary Quinn on this tour. My team and I had a list of artists that we really felt would be good to join up with for this tour. We had talks with artists in Australia, the Netherlands, Italy, US and, of course, the UK. We had talked to The Rising back in October about working together so they were on our list right off the top. They have a country rock fell like me so we knew it would be a good fit. As for Gary Quinn, I got to meet Gary last October at my Gullivers show in Manchester. He was good enough to play in the line up for that show for me. Not that I need to say it cause the UK country fans already know, but he is a very talented singer/songwriter and artist that I really enjoyed listening too. Having these two great acts, along with additional local acts from
each city we’re playing in over the tour, is gonna be a full night of great music that any country music fan will enjoy!
MG: Will we see any collaboration between bands on the road?
DR: You might! This sorta thing happens quite regularly with touring acts. You have a lot of down time hanging out and it’s always something fun
to do. So we might pick a cover song or two that we all like and put on an extra little show for everyone.
MG: Lastly, if you could achieve on thing in 2017, what would it be?
DR: As far as the UK goes, I really hope to connect with people and reach more country music fans through my live shows, my social media sites and through radio.
I really hope to continue to see the radio support grow for my music. The UK is going to be an important part of my career and like I said earlier I plan on being back a couple times or more every year now.
Dawson is currently on tour in the UK and still has a number of dates to go before his final gig at The Garage in London on the March 31. To check out the full tour schedule and to purchase tickets for the shows, check out his website.