IAA SPOTLIGHT: GET TO KNOW – DEREK ANTHONY – MISSOURI’S HOTTEST STAR!

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Derek can best be described as a contemporary country style with some traditional taste of country music embedded into his sound and feel.  He has always had a passion for music -instrumentally and vocally. From the age of six, Derek was singing from George Strait, Kenny Rogers, and Alabama, to Glen Campbell. In addition to vocals, Derek has played a wide range of instruments (trumpet, banjo, guitar, saxophone, harmonica, baritone, and piano). The diversity of instrument experience gives Derek a wide range of styles and patterns to pull from while writing, performing, and composing songs.  Derek enjoys writing creative lyrics that have a simple cadence. Moreover, turning a negative quality or situation into a comical play on words is a goal for Derek. The country music listener has always accepted this notion with open arms.

Growing up in St. Louis, he was deeply involved with music in the school system at a young age. Derek attended Missouri State University.  His parents have always instilled in him a very strong work ethic and emphasized “go for your dreams”.  For the past ten years, Derek has resided in Keller, Texas, where he started his own label and has been entrenched in the Texas music scene.  He is a regular at the world famous Billy Bob’s and has opened up for Pat Green, Josh Turner, Kansas, Colt Ford, and many, many others.  He has performed at Gexa Energy Pavilion, Texas Motor Speedway, Grapevine Opry, House of Blues (Dallas), Las Vegas, and many other venues across Texas.  Derek’s live performances are high energy with extensive crowd interaction. His band “The D-Train Band” is one of the strongest bands in the country genre – a must see.  Derek is eager to broaden his musical career into the mass market appeal and produce memorable music that embraces emotion, fun, and touches the hearts of millions of fans.

Derek Anthony, released “Give It to Me Strait” from his latest sophomore album “Cowboy Way”.  Derek is coming off his success of the single “Cowboy Way” on radio for 26 straight weeks averaging 1000 spins a week.  “Cowboy Way”, produced by Steve Mandile, is the title track to his latest 11 track album that can be found on all major sites. Some exciting news you may not be aware of…“Cowboy Way” is being played in AT&T Stadium at the Dallas Cowboy home games.  Once you hear the song, you will know why (stadium feel and production is very solid).  Derek’s style ranges from country rock to a strong traditional ballad with a full range of vocals. His style is what makes him unique.

“Give It to Me Strait” was created with the concept of taking some of Derek’s favorite George Strait songs and incorporating a George Strait title or lyric to fit just right into his tune.  The hook is about a couple not being honest with each other- just stop wasting time and “Give It to Me Strait”.   Can you recognize all the Strait references?   Derek’s silky traditional sound and creative lyrics makes you really listen for the references.

The man behind the music is even more impressive.  Derek is a supporter of the NOCC (National Ovarian Cancer Coalition). The NOCC is a nonprofit organization that helps spread awareness of the signs/symptoms of this “silent killer”.  It is “more than a woman’s disease”.  You may view Derek’s testimonial video on his website. Learn more at www.ovarian.org.  Please see more at www.derekanthony.net.

IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What city and state are you from?

DEREK ANTHONY: Florissant, Missouri (suburb of St. Louis) – born and raised until 18. Attended college at Missouri State University (Springfield, MO). I played 5 instruments in high school, captain of baseball team, lead roles in musicals and was planning on majoring in music in college. I went up to the desk at Missouri State to declare my major and she said I had to take 4 years of marching band and I said “Marketing”. I just completed 4 years of marching band in high school and had enough. I was pretty shocked.   After college, I married and moved to Indianapolis, IN, for 3 years, then moved to Keller, TX (DFW Metroplex) where I currently call home.

IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What is your music background?

DEREK ANTHONY: Since age 5 I have been singing. I entered singing competitions in elementary school and won them all and got the itch. Sang every song in the backseat of our station wagon everywhere we went. At the time, I really didn’t think anything of it. Yeah, my mom and dad and family thought I was great, but they were just being nice. Through the Florissant public school system, I was heavily involved in choir, band, musicals, and anything that made noise…..from violin, banjo, piano, saxophone, trumpet, bass quartet, to baritone. In my early teens I loved to listen to all genres at the time, and country really wasn’t as popular as it is now. I really was a closet singer outside of choir shows. I taught myself piano in my teens, and didn’t gravitate to guitar until much later. With lead roles in “Hello Dolly” and “Music Man” in high school, I broke out of my shell and started to get word I might have a voice. But to be honest, my voice was still cracking and was still a very shy young man. I wouldn’t trade my high school days for anything. I played baseball as well and was very involved with high school and tried out for four major league teams out of high school (left handed pitcher).

Since I didn’t stick to music after high school, my academics took priority and I became a lot more concerned about adult life, getting married, having kids, getting a job, and raising a family. So music was in me, but really didn’t gig or play around Springfield, which I regret now looking back. I picked music back up after my first child and she really motivated me to write. Everything changes when you become a parent. I got back to writing, picked up the acoustic guitar and learned major chords. After all….isn’t country music 3 chords and the truth? I wrote a song called “Bridges to Madison” (the name of my first child), because I wasn’t supposed to be able to have kids, according to an expert doctor. Thank God he was wrong. Maddie is a blessing. So this continued to inspire me and still worked on my craft for three to four years before playing in public.

When we moved to Texas, I got settled and found that Texas has a huge music scene. I wanted to see how I might match up with the talent that is out there, from Pat Green to Randy Rodgers Band, and even the Nashville acts that came through town at Billy Bob’s and other large venues in town. Man, how I wanted so bad to be on that stage and sing in front of 10,000 people. What a rush that would be and have folks sing back your song to you that you wrote.

Given my marketing experience, I used these skills to start my own label, BLUANT Music Group which is basically a tax write off, and an entity for business purposes. I was able to raise money, get investors, get it all lawyered up and official and started pushing my brand.

We started off slowly with local pubs, with another super guitar player Gaylerd Wienwriter performing cover songs and making very little money, if anything. We did that for a few years. Then I wanted to start playing my own music and get an album produced out of Nashville, so we parted ways. The next step had begun in learning the music business, people you can trust, people that just want your money with no promises, and many other facets that come with the business side of music. I also started doing shows on my own and building a solid band in the DFW market. I met a great songwriter Randee Lee in Keller and we started collaborating, writing, and he was my lead guitar player for a while. As with any product, my goal was to put the best possible band on stage, have band mates that care about the long-term plan, check the egos at the door, and not always take the highest paying gig, but support our efforts as a whole, believe in me and the product we put on stage. My first EP “One Minute” was an “ok” project, but just didn’t get the final production I really wanted. We went through a lot of the first round of funding and was quite upset with the entire project after the fact, but I learned a lot. I worked with a great photographer and video director Marlo Casabar that really helped launch the brand, music videos, and appreciate all his time and effort he put into the project for me. Through all experiences, I try to see the positive and learn from my mistakes, and was fortunate, through my network of folks in Nashville, I found Steve Mandile. He is one of the best songwriters in Nashville and has written many hits, and we agreed that he would produce my next album called “Cowboy Way”. Due to budget, we worked on 3 songs at a time and was able to notch out 11 great tracks on this full length album in 2013.   I am so proud of every track on this album and the final production of Steve’s work. I will put it up against any national act like Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Alan Jackson, etc. That’s how much I believe in this album.

So for the past 2 years we have been pushing singles from this album to national radio and Texas radio and was able to chart Top 100 on the Texas charts for our last two singles “Give It To Me Strait” and “If I Don’t”. “Give It To Me Strait” music video will stack up to anything on CMT or GAC! If you have not seen it yet, I urge you to watch it. Willow Street Agency, based in Dallas, produced the entire project and did a phenomenal job. The really cool thing is I pitched “Cowboy Way” to the Dallas Cowboys to consider playing during all the home games for the 2014 season, and it was approved! It took me nine months through email, phone, twitter, and many other efforts to finally get them to approve the song. So for the past two seasons, they have been playing it and currently we are working on a half time show for 2016. So stay tuned.

In 2015 we had over 100 shows and are targeting 120 shows for 2016. We are also trying to broaden our geography in the five state region (due to costs, AR, LA, TX, OK, MO) for the next two years and then start to branch out. We are willing to go to on a USO tour and overseas if needed, it just all depends on the opportunity and budget.

Currently, I continue to book my own shows, manage website design, call 30 venues a month, work with local city officials, design my merchandise, work my merch table, and be as interactive as possible with the communities and fan base. This business is not a sprint, and anyone that tells you that is a liar or has millions of dollars behind them, but they would never tell you that.

The message of my music is very important and I write about my life experience or someone else’s story. I believe it is also important to give back, and I do a lot of work for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC). Go check them out at www.ovarian.org. I also volunteer and sing in the chemo ward at the local Centers for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Fort Worth.

IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Why do you want to record and release your own music?

DEREK ANTHONY: The country music in mainstream today has become so predictable and “cookie cutter” labels are afraid of doing things different, with the risk of losing money and the unknown. Plus, most of the singers are singers, not songwriters, and to their credit, are great entertainers, but have never written a song in their life. 80% of what is played on the radio is forced to the stations by labels and labels have a strangle hold on the industry. So the average fan starts to like the songs after they hear it ten times in the same day. Take the talent competitions over the past ten years on national television with millions of viewers. You can count on both hands the success rate of the winners and even the top 5 finalists for each show. The “where are they now” series? Sure would be good viewing for that one! I wish everyone the best in this business, it is the toughest there is, and has been so monetized and commercialized the art and craft is going away. So why do I want to record my own music? Because I have a lot of great songs that resonate with honest, hardworking, loving people. I have been told time and time again, “why aren’t you on the big stage? You are better than the headliner! Why are you even playing here, you should be on the road in front of thousands of fans”. So, herein lies the frustration. In addition to great songs, we bring more energy than most on stage, and really feel the fan response and emotion on stage! I have one of the most supporting bands in the world. Garth Brooks’ steel player for 14 years- Steve McClure; Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony’s keyboardist and vocalist – Tim Georgeff; unbelievable lead guitar player-Ben Garnett; a bass player-Wade Campbell who brings it every night; and a drummer that looks like a hard rocker, but can play any country tune with the best of them-Johnny Rhoads.

IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your songs about?

DEREK ANTHONY: Songs should be about personal experiences (if you wrote them or someone else wrote them). When I write my songs, they come from a different spot in my heart. They come from big events that have happened in my life. “As I Sit Here”, “It’s My Time To Shine”, “Give It To Me Strait”, “What’s Love Supposed To”, and plenty more are all solid orchestrated songs that I believe can be recorded by any top ten country artist. People always ask me “what is your favorite song you have ever written”, and I always respond “the next one”. I try not to be so predictable and tell stories that other songs have told. For example, there have been millions of songs written about love. How it is supposed to feel, look like, taste like, be like, etc. so I came up with a song title of “What’s Love Suppose To”. Every song tells you what love is, but not what love is supposed to….?

IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Who is your fan base directed towards?

DEREK ANTHONY: The way this question is stated is odd to me. If you mean who is my fan base and target audience? 20-60-year-old country music fans, and/or convert the “country music hater” into a country fan is the ultimate pleasure. Folks that might be tired of the same old folks, same old songs, same old style looking for a change in look, feel, energy, and sound. Yes, radio is the ultimate medium due to the footprint you get, but it is so expensive to get airplay, so we target folks online through social media programs (Facebook, Twitter-mostly). Please follow up on the links provided at www.derekanthony.net.

IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Who are your musical influences?

DEREK ANTHONY: Bryan Adams, George Strait, Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley, The Eagles, Restless Heart, Clint Black, Journey, Randy Travis, James Taylor, Alabama, and Alan Jackson

 IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How would you describe your music to people?

DEREK ANTHONY: Traditional lyrics with a taste of contemporary country music in the mix. Given my love for all genres, there is rock, blues, and funk all in this “Cowboy Way” album and shows all sides of me. When someone sees me for the first time, I want them going away saying “I didn’t expect that” (in a good way of course). All the while, I must stay the course and have most of the songs fit the pocket of country and not lose sight of my fan base desires.   I usually get a lot of comparisons to Brad Paisley with the look and style we put on stage, and I’ll take that all day long. Brad Paisley is one of my idols and has longevity in this crazy business. I just wish I could play that axe like him. He is one of the best in the world.

 IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What makes you stand out from other artists?

DEREK ANTHONY: I am a triple threat. Write, Sing, and Look. But above all, I would hope the passion for the songs, and sharing with fans onstage and through social media. The energy we bring each night, and the hearts that we touch is second to none. Country music needs more energy, needs more independent artist to get their due. It is tough to stand out given the saturation of content folks are hit with each and every minute on their wall, on their phone, on their TV, and oh yeah, in their personal life too.

 IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are some upcoming projects you are currently working on?

DEREK ANTHONY: Writing and more writing for the new album. Targeting end of 2016. Still considering an EP vs. a full album. May lean toward an EP since today’s music is all about the single release. We are looking at several different studios and producers to consider in Texas and in Nashville. I am sure Steve Mandile will be involved in some capacity if he has time in his schedule.

There is a quote that I love, “Your legacy is not about what you have, but about what you give”. I continue to live by this concept daily. Charity work, singing at the chemo wards, and many other volunteer work that must be given by all us. Sure would be a much more pleasant place to live.

 IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

DEREK ANTHONY: Continue to grow my brand and on tour headlining with sponsors that endorse my brand at $1M each sponsor. Commercial placement, product placement, and getting my fan base to 5M on social media with tours already overseas and worldwide. Continue to write and have other artists sing my songs and cut my songs. Bring on other artists under my own label, if not already on a major label myself, or have someone else run BLUANT Music Group while I am on the road or signed with another major label. I continue to stay in shape, work out 5 days a week and continue to work my vocal chords as well, so I believe I have a lot of longevity in this business – mentally and physically.

 IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How can your fans access your music and contact you?

DEREK ANTHONY: Main Website: www.derekanthony.net

All of my music is available everywhere music is sold online. iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Spotify, etc.

Email:             music@derekanthony.net

Facebook         www.facebook.com/derekanthonysmusic

Twitter             www.twitter.com/derekanthonymus

Instagram        www.instagram.com/derekanthonymus

Youtube            www.youtube.com/derekanthonymusic

CD BABY           www.cdbaby.com/cd/derekanthony2

 

 

 

 

 

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