Interview: Dakota Poorman
WHAT WAS THE LIGHT BULB MOMENT TO MOVE YOU TO PURSUE YOUR MUSIC CAREER, AND IF YOU HAD NOT GOTTEN INTO MUSIC, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING TODAY?
Music was always a constant when I was growing up; I gravitated toward music very early on. I was bullied a lot growing up and playing the guitar was a “safe haven” for me; I shut out all the negativity and just got lost in a world of music. To be painfully honest, if I didn’t have the deep connection with music, and hadn’t really focused on it, I probably wouldn’t be here.
Other than writing, recording and performing, I really don’t know what I’d be doing; construction work perhaps.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING IN YOUR SPARE TIME WHEN NOT PLAYING MUSIC AND HOW DOES THAT INFLUENCE YOUR CREATIVITY?
I enjoy spending time with my family and being outdoors--connected with the earth and Mother Nature; it’s a great way to free my mind and recharge! I get a lot of my inspiration from just being able to let my mind wander under a blue sky, wide-open spaces or the quiet of the woods. It’s the place where I’m able to be with my thoughts, song ideas and melodies. I’m an avid sportsman (hunting, fishing, camping) and enjoy any activity that takes me away from the hustle and bustle. I have a deep love for my music and chasing the sun down.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PURSUING YOUR INDEPENDENT MUSIC CAREER?
I’ve been pursuing my music career, professionally, for about three years as a sole means of making a living. I had a handful of jobs that never stuck, or they just weren’t for me. So, I took the leap to pursue my music career as a full-time endeavor. Playing music has been the only thing that’s felt right to me. I feel like it’s the reason I was put on this earth—to make music, and touch people with my words and songs.
WHERE ARE YOU BASED OUT OF AND HOW DID THE LIFESTYLE, HOME LIFE, COMMUNITY INFLUENCE YOUR MUSIC?
I’m originally from Maple Valley, WA; I’m currently based in Nashville. Maple Valley is where it all started. I lived on the outer part of the town--more rural, farmland with a small town feel. If you drive down the road where I grew up, there’s a little store at the end of the road (Hobart Store) where you might see an old-timer sitting on the
outside bench, drinking coffee and greeting people as they start their day. It’s very down home where I grew up, and it’s where I got a lot of my inspiration; I still do.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR MOST MEMORABLE SHOWS (VENUE LOCATION, AND WHY).
In 2018, I played the beer garden at the SpurFestl in Darrington, WA. Picking Wildflowers and XXL headlined; my show followed Keith Anderson.
I had been slamming beers all day, so I was ready to do whatever it took to make my show the talk of the festival. I started in to play a guitar riff to one of Keith’s hits; nearly three-quarters of the way through, everyone was looking at me like I had lost my mind. I got on the microphone and said, “I’m gonna either get him (Keith) to sing with me, or get punched in the face! I don’t really know and I don’t really care!” Low and behold, Keith heard me picking on the song and hopped up on stage to join us. He helped us sing “Friends In Low Places” and the crowd lost it. That was the most fun I’ve had on stage and I’ll never forget what he told me. He said, “Don’t ever stop playing the beer gardens. That’s how I got started.” We hugged. That night is the most memorable of my career to date!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VENUE TO PLAY, AND DO YOU HAVE ANY PLACES YOU WANT TO PLAY THAT YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY?
That’s a toss up! I’d have to say my favorite venues to play are the Sunrise Saloon in Missoula, MT and San Jac Saloon in Austin, TX. The atmosphere, the people, the stage and the environment make both a blast to perform at. I’d love to play Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth, TX, The Grand Ole Opry, The Ryman, Gruene Hall, and the Gorge Amphitheater! Those are on my bucket list!
IF YOU COULD PLAY ANY SHOW WITH ANY LINEUP, WHO WOULD BE ON THE TICKET?
Man, that’s a tough one. There are so many great bands and artists that would I’d love to perform with. But, I’d say, Travis Tritt, Brantley Gilbert and Kid Rock. These guys know how to put on a show. They’re damn good writers and damn good entertainers. It would be an all out party! …Throwing in a little old school with the new school, but still keeping it simple!
WHAT IS SOME ADVICE THAT YOU WOULD GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO IS JUST GETTING INTO PLAYING MUSIC AND ADVICE THAT YOU WOULD GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF JUST STARTING OUT?
“Never give up! No one is gonna make your dreams come true but you. Don’t let anyone tell you other wise. You choose your own destiny; no one else can do that
for you. And, practice, practice, practice! Honing your skills and crafting your sound is the biggest challenge. Keep pushing yourself to do better as an artist. Evolve, but don’t lose sight of the big picture and stay humble. It’s the people that believe in you that will build your foundation for your empire. Take the leap, and just go for it. At least you can say you tried and hold your head up high, even if it doesn’t work out. But perseverance, determination and dedication ultimately will lead you to where you wanna be in life!
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME AND GIVE YOURSELF PERSONAL ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
To be honest, I wouldn’t if I could. Because everything that I am today, is from all the life lessons I’ve learned. …The challenges I’ve faced, bridges I’ve burned, love that I’ve lost...it all has lead me to be the person you see today. I write about what I’ve gone through, where I’ve been, the struggles I’ve endured, the wild crazy party nights. Those are things people can relate to, and that’s what makes us human. But, if there was to be any advice given to my younger self it would to save your money, it sure as shit doesn’t grow on trees.
WHICH SONG/RECORDING MEANS THE MOST TO YOU TO DATE AND WHY?
I think the song, ‘When Loves Comes Looking For You,” from my new album definitely means the most to me. It’s just one of those songs that everyone can relate to. A guy walks into a bar, broken-hearted, orders up a drink and sits down and his mind just races. Then…a woman walks in who is down on her luck from being hurt too many times and they lock eyes, dance and laugh the night away. It’s a feel good love song that everyone can relate to at some point in his or her life and it’s definitely one of my favorites to sing and play.
WHICH SONGS ARE YOUR FAVORITE TO PLAY AND WHICH GET REQUESTED THE MOST?
All of the songs on the new upcoming album are my new favs. But, I think my first radio single, “American Made,” and my sophomore single “Hippie @ Heart” (set to drop in April), and a tune called “Black Sheep” (which is set to come out in July 2022) are my FAVORITE songs to play to the crowd. All three tracks tell a story and people really get an understanding of who I am as an artist and person through the songs. They’re also the most “requested” songs at my shows.
DESCRIBE YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS AND WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO WRITE YOUR MUSIC?
I don’t really have a set way of how I write songs. I start with at title, or a melody, or just some words written on my phone or notepad. I’ll just let whatever I’m feeling take over, and then I’ll go back over it and see what fits and what doesn’t. There are times when it only takes 40 minutes to right a song, and other times when it’ll take me three months to come back around to an idea and finish it. Writing a song isn’t something you rush, it needs love and attention to be perfect. I write about what I know. I’m inspired by all kinds of different things. It just takes the right thing to trigger it for me to put pen to paper!
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU WISH TO CONVEY IN YOUR MUSIC; WHAT IMPRESSION DO YOU HOPE TO MAKE ON YOUR LISTENERS?
I’m just a normal guy who loves to play his country music a little too loud and loves to have a good time with his fans. I’m also, just a guy working on his American Made Dream! I can get down with the best of them. I get loud and I make it a PARTY! Every show is different! I keep people guessing! But I love to see the crowd having fun; if they’re having a good time, I’m having a good time. My music is all about having a fun and enjoying life, and the little things that go along with it!
HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED DIFFERENCES OF OPINION, OR DISAGREEMENTS, WITH YOUR LABEL, MANAGEMENT TEAM OR BAND, AND IF SO, HOW DO YOU GET PAST THEM?
I’ve yet to deal with this, really. Everyone who’s a part of my team has the same mindset and goals as I do. If you ain’t first, you’re last. Everyone that I work with busts his or her ass. We all work together and it’s been great so far!
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE, AND WHAT DO YOU WISH SPOTLIGHT— COMING UP?
We are currently booking for a Spring/Summer tour; I think, “Post My Bail Tour” has a nice ring to it! But, in all seriousness, we are going to be dropping another single, “‘Hippie @ Heart” from the new album on April 22 and then drop another single, “Black Sheep” in July. I can’t wait for everyone to get his or her hands on it. I’m telling you, every song is a hit and I couldn’t have done it without my producer, Malcolm Springer and the label head Christopher Gergen (Ten Inch Vinyl). These guys were the ones that took a chance on me, and I’m sure glad they did. I couldn’t be happier with the product we have.
WHAT IS YOUR LONG TERM GOAL?
Long-term goal is to become a household name. I just wanna play my songs for
people who want to hear them. I wanna show my kids that you never give up on your dreams, no matter what challenges you may face. There is a certain feeling you get when you put all your hard work and dedication into something to have it eventually pay off. No money can buy that feeling, especially when you did it with your own blood, sweat and tears!
DO YOU HAVE ANY NICKNAMES?
None that I’m aware of, other than a buddy’s friend who calls me, “Big Country.” I mean, I’m 5’9” and 185 lbs, I’d hardly call myself “Big Country!” LOL.
WHAT WOULD YOUR FANS BE SURPRISED TO KNOW YOU ABOUT YOU PERSONALLY?
I used to work for a porta-potty company before taking the leap and doing music full time. I’ll tell you, the job SUCKED.