Dakota Bradley will take the stage Sunday, Aug. 18, at 7 p.m. in the Baker Park Band Shell as part of the free Sunday Concert in the Park series.
I talked with Dakota earlier this month to find out more about this 20-year-old new country artist.
First, he’s new to 20, his birthday was Aug. 9.
His debut album for Streamside Records was co-produced by Tim McGraw and his producer, Byron Gallimore. Tim also hand-picked his debut single, “Somethin’ Like Somethin’.” You can hear it at www.dakotabradley.com.
Before music, Dakota was all about sports. But once he picked up an old acoustic guitar he found in his basement, he became obsessed with music and even taught himself to play electric guitar, piano, drums and bass.
Dakota had an impressive backing band for several of the songs on his album — Tim McGraw’s band, the Dancehall Doctors. No release date yet for the album, Dakota said.
If he wasn’t a singer/songwriter, he said he would probably be playing basketball.
But songwriting gives him something that sports can’t: “Music is an outlet for everything that’s frustrating me and everything I have gone through. It’s therapy,” he said.
Dakota’s parents are a big inspiration. His mother lost nearly 200 pounds when he was a kid and became a motivational speaker, and watching her accomplishments gave him the confidence to chase his own dream. His father, who spent his life in the construction business, taught him the value of a hard day’s work, he says.
“My dad was always working and I got my work ethic from him. When I was little, he was digging ditches, and he never complained,” Dakota says. “Growing up, we were dirt poor, and he would come home happy as can be … he never complained. So I’m never in a bad mood ’cause it’s in my blood — my dad is always happy.”
Recording in the studio presented a few challenges for Dakota. “It was a huge learning curve,” he said. But McGraw and Gallimore were there to help him every step of the way. And he says he has a “family” of good people helping start his career, too, including his mom.
Though McGraw and Gallimore haven’t told him what it is about Dakota that made them want to work with him, he thinks it was “because they know my family story, they saw my passion, drive and ability, and the way I can adapt to changing situations.”
During his high-energy shows, Dakota said he does a lot of jumping around on stage and off the stage with his fans and who knows, he may take his shirt off, too.
“I like to have the fans really involved,” he said.
You can read more of my interview with Dakota Bradley in the Aug. 15 issue of 72 Hours, inside The Frederick News-Post.
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In the Aug. 22 issue of 72 Hours, you can read my interview with Rodney Atkins (“Take a Back Road,” “Going Through Hell,” “Cleaning This Gun,” “Watching You” and “Farmer’s Daughter”). He will be performing at the eighth annual Family FUNomenon event on Aug. 24 at the Frederick Fairgrounds. It’s a fundraiser for the Patty Pollatos Fund Inc.