Dean Alexander: A Fresh Face in Country Music
Music Mix Daily Staff
MusicMixDaily recently featured Dean Alexander as one of our need-to-know newcomers from this year’s CMA Music Festival. Back in 2014, Country Weekly called the young musician “One to Watch in 2014,” and he was also named the 2012 “Best Local Music Celebrity” by the Nashville Scene, an honor bestowed to greats including Taylor Swift and Jack White, as well. We think these heaps of praise are on to something – Dean really is something special – and that’s why we’re featuring him now!
The youthful and handsome Alexander has country roots and sure knows how to use them, charming the socks off of some of Nashville’s elite. While he grew up in Tuppers Plains, Ohio, Dean certainly won’t mind if you’ve never heard of the place – he once told CMA the town had a population of “a little over five people, I think – a gas station, one stoplight, a school, one tiny bank, and that was it.” From these dirt-road, horse-riding roots, it is definitely no surprise that, from his first time picking up a guitar as a kid, Dean wanted to make country music.
The artist’s first record deal came from total left field. It is one of those stories that is almost hard to believe. Dean moved to Nashville with the hopes of, you guessed it, making it big in the country music scene. Of course, nothing starts out perfect: at first, the singer was living out of his car and working odd jobs, while spending all his free time playing the clubs in Nashville’s Lower Broadway, where his talent had been quickly recognized. In fact, the singer, who made the move to Nashville in 2003, had only 100 bucks and his guitar to his name at the time.
While it wasn’t the perfect life, Dean was still pretty happy to be in Nashville. Then came the job that changed it all – working as a landscaper for Barbara Orbison, the wife of Roy Orbison. It might not seem like much, but when Barbara Orbison asked Dean why he was in town, and listened to his demo CD, it was merely a couple of weeks before Dean had scored himself a publishing deal. From there, it was smooth sailing through the motions, from being a touring guitarist to signing a record contract with Warner Music Nashville. It seems Dean has a knack for impressing the right people, as the record contract came from a chance meeting with eminent producer, Scott Hendricks!
Like a proud parent, Scott has praised Dean for his “songwriting sense and his vocal delivery”. When it comes to his songwriting, Dean shares that his music is not about these stereotypical country things, like tailgating or driving trucks. Instead, the young musician makes music to tell different kinds of stories. That must be why Scott continues to gush, going so far as to say, “There is simply nothing like it in our format.” Dean’s voice and writing style has also been positively compared to country music pioneer Dwight Yoakman and rockabilly’s Chris Isaak. (who happens to be one of the singer’s inspirations, too!)
With all that acclaim, it is no wonder that Dean’s 2014 single, “Live a Little,” made it to number 50 on Country Airplay Chart and Billboard. The song, featuring an upbeat tempo and plenty of catchy hooks, spreads the message to, well, live a little! Dean and Laura Veltz wrote the tune, and co-produced it with Justin Weaver. In the song, he focuses on love and the reminder to seize the day – abashedly telling all the guys out there that for every pretty girl, “there’s another one of you, and he’s looking at her too, Brother don’t let her pass you by!”
His tongue-and-cheek lyrics might be his own, but Dean is no stranger to reaching out to his supporters, either. For the release of “Live a Little“, he invited friends and fans to share their own stories with the hashtag #LiveALittle. We’re certainly glad he decided to take the plunge and move to Nashville – so we’re happy to hear him touting the advice to just go for it to others out there, too.
He did the same for his next single, released this year, with the hashtag #LifeAintFair. The single, “Life Ain’t Fair,” has been called both “chilling” and the kind of song to “bring a tear to your eye.” The track, released this April, is a true ballad and showcases Dean’s beautiful country voice alongside light guitar and drums. As for the future, we’re pleased to report that Dean is working on his debut full-length album with Elektra Nashville (a division of Warner Music Nashville).
So, while Dean isn’t ready for a full tour yet, he’s got lots of great shows coming up where you can catch him. Only in August, you can catch him opening for Rascal Flatts in Washington, and at the Nifi Festival in Kentucky, alongside renowned acts including Hank Williams Jr. and Green Day! And if you happen to be near Nashville, who knows, you just might run into him at his old hangouts on the famous Lower Broadway.
If you want to learn more about Dean, you can hear it from his own voice through his short video clip, No Other Road.