Interview with Dion Pride

with Dion Pride, Nashville 07.06.2013
You have a very famous father, did
you always want to follow his footsteps?
Yes, absolutely, my father put a guitar
in my hands when I was five years old. I started playing left handed
and I remember him saying I’ll have to change the strings on it. I
wanted to keep that guitar so bad and I was afraid he would have to
take it back to the store, so I changed over to the right side.
Actually, he did me a favour, left handed guitars are way to
expensive. But yes, when I was five, my father showed me the first
three cords. I used to take the phonograph player and put Dad’s
records on, listened to them and pretend I was Dad. I have a good ear
and I have perfect pitch. I learned the songs and played them in my
room. And because I would play them day and night, my Mom tookd the
phonograph player and put it on top of the dresser so I could not get
to it. Then I started using chairs, dragging them in my room to get
on top of them so I could reach the player. It would be in the middle
of the night when I’d be putting the records on and start playing.
All I knew was Dad played a lot, so I just practiced and practiced
and practiced.
And it was clear that you wanted to
play country music?
Yes, I always knew that I wanted to do
this. I like all kinds of different music, my music background is
very cultic. My Mother raised me listening to Jack Jones, Frank
Sinatra, Mel Tormé, Herp Albert and the Tijuana Brass. Thru my
brother I also listened to a lot of R & B. But my main influence
has always been Dad. When I got older and went to college in North
Texas State, I went to Jazz studies, so I got that in my background
too. My favorite is country, but I like doing different styles of
music. I try to incorporate everything, because to me, when it is
good quality music, there is a place for all of it. The way country
has opened up lately musically, you can throw different styles of
music into it now. There’s some people that don’t like that, they
still like the more traditional country music. I still do
traditional, the single “We all gotta Live here“ that I released,
is very traditional, it was the most requested song in Irland. They
are very passionate about their country there.
Is it easier or harder to start your
own career with a famous parent?
It’s a double ressort to be honest,
it cuts both ways. It is difficult sometimes to get recognized for
your own accomplishments and your own achievements. Yesterday I
played over at one of the clubs here and one lady said, you know, you
don’t sound like your father. I said no, I’m not trying to sound
like my father. I think I would be doing a disservice to him and it
would not be honest to try to duplicate what he’s done. He came up
at a time when it was a perfect storm, with the civil rights movement
and all that. There is only one Charley Pride and there is only one
circumstance that could happen that way. But our voices are
different, our deliveries are different. People seem to be very happy
with my style and I like it that it is different from him. When I
open up his shows, his fans are appreciative that I do my own style.
Some people will come up and say you should be more like your Dad. I
think that is narrow minded, as we just said, there is only one of
him. I’m my own person and I’m confident of my talents. I have my
fathers Blessing and backing. There are times when he’s referred to
my talent as being over his, but I’d never say that. My feeling is,
because of the time that I grew up in, if we swapped places, he would
probably be doing the same thing that I’m doing and I would do what
he did. So I like to think, that everything I’m doing is directly
because of him.
What has been your greatest
challenge so far?
It’s been trying to get out from
under his shadow. As difficult as it is, I still see it as a blessing
because he accomplished so many good things. And immediately, there
is the name recognition. People will take me in and embrace me
because of his success and I’m greatful for that. But the greatest
challenge is, to establish my own mark.
What is your biggest disapointment?
I can’t say that there has been any,
there are always some things that you would like to have turned out a
different way. Maybe certain shows or certain performances that I
would have liked to have done better. I guess that would be my
disapointment. One thing my Father has passed down, ist
perfectionism, but I don’t think that is a bad thing to strive for,
to want everything to be perfect.
You are about to start your own solo
Yes, we just released a single called
“Might as well be Me“ . You know, we’re based in Texas and it
went to Nr. one on the Texas Music Chart for two straight weeks. On
that, it was picked up by a station called WCMN
in Atlanta and from there it has been played across the country and
limited places. I don’t have a lot of money to put into this, so
I’m proud it’s making out on its own merit. I called Bill Kelly,
the DJ from this Atlanta Station and thanked him for playing my song.
He said listen, I’m not playing the song because you’re Charley
Pride’s son, I’m playing the song because I like it and I like
you. That was really a great feeling. I think with just that phone
call alone, I’m achieving that mark. It just takes a little time
for people to look at both of us in our own unique ways.
Did you write that song yourself?
No, that single was written by someone
else, but the majority of my music, I write myslef.
Where do you get the texts for your
songs, what inspires you?
It depends, on my Dads last album he
released, there is a song that I wrote called “I miss my Home“
and the way that came about is, I had been commuting between here and
Nashville and my wife was in Dallas. I think I had been away for
three or four months straight without having seen my family. I missed
them and I was feeling very lonely, so I sat down and wrote this
song. You see, that’s how good songs come about, they come from the
heart. I was opening my Father’s show in Canada and my Mother came
to me asking if I had written any music lately. I told her yes, she
wanted to hear it so I played it for her. She asked me could she keep
it and I said yes. She played I miss my home for my Dad and later he
came and said to me in his Bariton voice, now I want you to know
something Son, I’m not recording this song because you’re my son,
I’m recording it because I like it. So there is another endorsement
to what I’m doing on my own. Because, he’s serious about these
things. You have to earn everything. When I was opening his shows, he
always told people, I have him on my show because he is genuinly
good. Other friends of his, like Waylon Jennings and people like that
told me also, that he would never have me opening up his show if I
was not good, because that is his requirement.
How many albums do you have
I have three albums and they are all on
You have performed for Troops, how
was that?
That was really a life changing
experience, getting to commute and talk to the Troops, seeing the
sacrifices they make. I’m not a supporter of war, nobody wants war,
but I do respect highly the sacrifices that those men and women make.
I feel very rich to have performed for our Troops.
Have you been anywhere else
I have been in England, Scotland, all
over Australia, thru my Father again, It was a blessing to be able to
tour with him. I played lead guitar for my Father for two years. And
I also played Keyboard for him.
Have you been to Germany or
No, not so far, my manager has been
talking to some booking agents and venues over there just last month,
so we are working on that.
Your Dad was an avid Baseball
Player, have you plaid any sports?
Yes, I was a four-sport lettermam at my
highschool, I played Basketball, Baseball, Football and I ran track,
I was all state track. The University of Arkansas offered me a full
scholarship for Baseball. I love Baseball, but my favorite was
Football, I was Runningback at football, I loved it.
Are you working on a new project?
Yes, it’s been a little while, it’s
been two, three years between albums, my last one was 2010 and now it
is 2013, so it is time. I’ve been writing with some good friends of
mine in Texas and there are some friends of mine here, so we are
working on a new album right now.
Do you already know when it might be
You never know about that, I haven’t
made up my mind who is going to produce it yet.
I like songwriting because you create
something. But these things take time, maybe the end of this year or
early next year, it depents on a lot of different things.
What would you like to tell your
I would like to say that the fans make
you and are what we do this for. The fans are the most important part
of music. It means a lot when you perform and you see the smiles on
people’s faces. A few weeks ago there was a young lady at one of my
shows and she loved what we did, I was selling CD’s there and she
said to me, I wish I could buy a CD. So I gave her one and she
started crying, she couldn’t believe I actually gave it to her.
That’s what it is all about, you want to touch people’s hearts.
You want them to come and hear those songs, so they can relate them
to their lives. I want to say thank you to everyone who supports me,
buys the songs and comes out to hear me. I’m very touched and
honored to have a fanbase like that.
Heidi und Marco Duss for Country Music News International

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