Canadian country artist Dan Davidson’s latest album, Nineteen Eighty Something, breaks the mold with its mix of modernized country and 80s pop nostalgia.
We had a chat with Dan not too long ago. He shared his creative process, emphasizing the importance of evolving as an artist and not repeating himself.
“I feel like it’s something that’s not really been done in Canadian country – which seemed like a real opportunity (and a great challenge) for me! Showing depth and personality is what I think makes artists stick around,” he adds, and that’s precisely what “Nineteen Eighty Something” delivers.
Keep scrolling to read our full interview.
Track List For Nineteen Eighty Something
- He Met A Girl
- After Hours
- If These Streets Could Talk
- Spirit of 17
- Won’t Forget
An Interview With Dan Davidson
Front Porch: Your upcoming album, “Nineteen Eighty Something,” is described as a fusion of modernized country with pop nostalgia. What inspired this unique blend, and can you share insights into your creative process?
Dan Davidson: Thanks!
Yea I feel like it’s something thats not really been done in Canadian country – which seemed like a real opportunity (and a great challenge) for me! I wanted to do my best to not repeat myself on this record – I feel as artists we owe that to the fans. Give them what they love about us but find ways to show other colours we might have in the toolkit.
Showing depth and personality is what I think makes artists stick around.
Front Porch: Can you tell us about the key inspirations and themes behind your new album “Nineteen Eighty Something,” and how you’ve evolved as an artist in this project?
Dan Davidson: Well, during the writing process I had a lot of songs that sounded like cool country songs on an acoustic guitar – but I wanted to challenge myself as a writer and produvcer. So I decided to work in some elements of songs that were really inspiring me through the writing sessions. A lot of my inspirations came from the classic songs from the 80s/90s from artists like Don Henley, Bryan Adams etc.
Also, I drew inspiration from some modern retro-pop bands like Arizona and St. Lucia. My challenge to myself was how to take these analogue sounds I loved and make it all work in a country production. It was a lot of fun – working keyboards, drum machines etc into the tunes really brought that nostalgic bright sound to life!
At the end of the day though, these are just good songs that you could play on a guitar and still make it work!
Front Porch: Can you highlight memorable moments from filming your documentary “Lighting Fires” and how/if it influenced the direction of your new album?
Dan Davidson: The doc was such an interesting experience.
Surrounding myself with the opportunity to find non-Nashville inspiration was really refreshing. It made me take a hard look at what comes naturally to me, and what parts of country music resonate best with who I am as a creative person.
I think honestly the biggest learning I had from the experience came from interviewing my industry friends (which was kind of unexpected). Clayton Bellamy had such great perspective on creating music. He quoted Tom Waits by saying “A life well lived, is a life well written.”, and that stuck with me. It made me realize that the fact that I was out there on a quest all over North America to keep generating experiences that drive creativity was actually the point.
I eventually let go of my worries surrounding how the album sounded, and started to focus on how it made people feel.
Front Porch: You’ve performed at international festivals in the UK, Australia, and Canada. How have these experiences shaped your career and music?
Dan Davidson: Travelling the world with my friends making music has been such an enriching life experience and something I’ll never take for granted. My favourite part of getting to do this for a living is connecting with people.
We’ve been lucky enough to tour in China, France, Italy, Hungary, Canada, UK, Australia and other places and I love seeing how music connects us. It sounds so cheesy and Hallmark to say, but it’s true. Country music is all about connection; being the soundtrack to someones life.
So I think thats what makes me feel at home in the genre, a need to connect, talk to people, and understand people better.
Front Porch: With your extensive music career, what advice would you offer aspiring artists looking to make their mark in the industry?
Dan Davidson: I can think of a few things that have helped me…
Mainly, I would say these tidbits… In a world where quantity is king… be sure not to forget about quality. Don’t settle when it comes to the creative. Personality rises to the top and sticks around. Collaborate often and without judgement.
Don’t be afraid to say the wrong thing in a writing session. Take big swings. Rely on the people around you. The only thing you have in this world is your reputation.
I think that last one is the best one!
Be sure to listen to Dan Davidson’s new album Nineteen Eighty Something
As the founder of Front Porch Music, I believe that music has the ability to connect people. I love country music, and I love the country music industry as a whole. My goal is to help music fans find new artists to fall in love with.