18-year-old Dakota Bradley has fought hard to get to where he is; going through some difficult times during his teens, he teamed up with another aspiring artist and wrote 'The Girl Is Mine', which became a hit on YouTube. It was so much of a hit, in fact, that they were invited to perform on The Ellen Show, and it wasn't long before Dakota was writing with big producers, not least Tim McGraw, who ended up producing every song on the album after being really impressed with his talent. Dakota brings the powerful, raw energy of rock to his songs, but is
definitely very much a country artist at heart. I interviewed him to find out what makes him tick, his newfound success, and the scoop on his new album.
have you been taking all this success?
All of this success has been such a life changing experience. It's
unbelievable to sit back and think about what I'm doing and how far I've come.
Music is truly something I've fallen in love with and being able to play it and
be around it every day is a dream come true.
Tell me a bit about your life growing
up. Are sports still a huge part of your life?
My life growing up in St. Louis was full of craziness. My parents
are divorced and I would stay at two different houses, which made Christmas
awesome. But I fell in love with music when I was 12 and haven't stopped
playing since that day. My house burned down, which caused us to move to
Nashville in the first place and everything that has happened since then has
been incredible and I'm so grateful for everything now. Sports are also still a
part of my life. I workout every single day and I play basketball 3 times a
Who are your musical influences?
My influences growing up were blues, rock and country artists. I
loved guys like Stevie Ray and Buddy Guy because they paved the way for my
guitar playing. John Mayer inspired me to start writing songs. When I
discovered country music, I fell in love with the deep meaning of the lyrics
and the story telling that is involved. Keith Urban and Tim McGraw are some of
Did the hard times you experienced
growing up inspire you to never stop working towards your dreams, and is
there evidence of your life experience in your music?
The hard times growing up definitely helped me realize how
important life is and to never give up. My music is 100% based off my life.
It's all real stuff I've been through and all from the heart.
“Somethin’ Like Somethin’’’ is your
first single. What inspired you to record that, and why did you choose it
as your first single?
“Somethin’ Like Somethin’” was a song that I didn't write but we
cut it for my album. Tim had played it for me and I fell in love. It just fits
my personality and everything about me perfectly. It's a bouncy, feel-good
summer anthem. I feel incredibly blessed that Byron Gallimore and Tim McGraw
handpicked my first single.
How did Tim McGraw come on board to
produce you? That must have been amazing!
It has been so amazing! I met Tim at Blackbird Studios through his
producer Byron Gallimore. I played 2 songs for Tim and the next day he invited
me back to the studio to cut one of those songs. He ended up producing every
song on my album in the following weeks. It was unbelievable.
What’s the reaction been like on social
media? I hear it’s been a great tool for your career.
The reaction on social media still blows my mind every time I talk
about it. I have almost 60,000 twitter followers and I have had girls drive 30
hours to see me. My fans are so amazing. They motivate me.
What’s the craziest fan you’ve ever
I’ve had fans drive cross-country at all hours of the night just
to meet me. It's so amazing! I love them!
You’ve made plenty of public appearances
over the last few years. What’s your favorite show you’ve ever played?
I don't think I have a favorite show I've ever played. I’m just in
love with performing in front of a crowd and see them going crazy. I love
concerts, so to be able to put one on is a dream come true.
What kinds of things can we expect on
the upcoming album, and do you have a release date?
We don't have a release date yet, but fans can expect some great
songs that I really believe in and hopefully they like it. It's been a lot of
hard work that everyone has put in. My music on the album is just my life and
my outlook on life wrapped into an album.
How do you feel when you get up on
I feel like a monster is released when I get on stage. I have so
much adrenalin and I love working the crowd.
Who in the charts right now do you look
up to as someone you would like to emulate in your own career?
I would have to say Tim McGraw and having the opportunity to work
with him has been unbelievable. His longevity, songs, personality, humbleness
and everything about him make him unstoppable.
What’s your musical ‘USP’ (unique
I think my USP would be my voice. It sounds nothing like anyone
else on country radio and I'm proud of that. I think my voice sounds very
How do you think being just 18 affects
your brand as an artist, and the music you create?
I don't think it affects anything. It's all how people view me and
see what I have to offer. When I get up on stage, I don't act like an 18 year
old kid. I act professional and take it very seriously but still have fun. Age
is just a number. Life is what makes you who you are.
What’s next for you? Do you have a
proper tour planned?
Next up for me are my summer shows. I have a lot of shows booked
and am in the process of booking tours as well. I'm so excited for the summer.
Finally, tell us something random about
you that your fans don’t know; for example secret talents, passions, funny
anecdotes or hobbies.
Secrets about me that no one knows are that I can juggle 4 oranges
and I can catch chocolate chips in my mouth even if you throw it across the