David Fanning Talks ‘Drink You Away’, Songwriting

David Fanning (Photo: Robert Chavers)
David Fanning (Photo: Robert Chavers)

While growing up on a 100-acre farm in Ardmore, Alabama David Fanning always dreamed of being a recording artist. Honing his musical skills while listening to his parents sing in a capella groups, he quickly learned the secrets behind harmony and performance.

Today, as part of Nashville’s production team New Voice, Fanning has produced #1 hits for both Thompson Square and Parmalee. But with all of his success Fanning never lost sight of his true calling, and it wasn’t long before a chance phone call by a friend about a pop superstar reignited the fire to return to his roots.

Fanning’s debut single, a unique country version of Justin Timberlake’s “Drink You Away,” has quickly gained buzz from fans and media alike (even receiving praise from Timberlake himself). Fanning’s rendition has enjoyed regular airplay on SiriusXM’s The Highway and will officially launch on country radio April 28th.

I spoke with Fanning about “Drink You Away” and also got an update on his forthcoming album and tour plans.

Where did the idea to record a country version of “Drink You Away” originate?

Justin [Timberlake] was coming to town to perform at an arena and one of my friends from radio, Storme Warren called me up and told me he was going to have him on his show. Then he asked me if I’d be interested in doing a country version of one of Justin’s songs to play for him while he was in the studio. I had three days before he was going to be there so I told him that I’d give it a try.

I hopped in the studio that night and recorded the basic track and the next day put on vocals and mixed it. Then I emailed the song over to Storme and he played it for Justin on the radio. The cool thing about it was that everything happened so fast. Sometimes when you produce, there might be a tendency to over think it. For this song, I had no time and it came out just as it was supposed to.

What are some of the elements that make a song suited to be “country-fied”?

The lyric is usually the first thing that lends itself to being country. People can relate to that. Sometimes in pop, it just goes for the beat or the music. In country music, the lyric and story really has to mean something. Any song that has a cool groove or makes you want to bob you head or pump your fist feels good. 

Can you give me an update on your new album?

We’ve cut about eight sides so far, including “Drink You Away”. The nice thing about producing your own record is that you’re in control of getting the perfect songs. We’re looking at an end of year release date.

What’s your songwriting process like?

I don’t have one set way of doing things. I have a cabin out by the lake where I like to go and post up for a few days to just forget about the grind and write. When I’m working with another artist it can be different. Sometimes, someone might just come in with a title for a song and other times you might just whittle away on an idea and work it into something.

Did you always know you wanted to have a career in music?

I always intended to be an artist and never really thought about doing anything else. My parents were in 50′s/60′s a capella groups singing bebop music and they were always very supportive of what I wanted to do. I got started playing in bands and doing solo work and even bought my own Pro Tools rig when I was 14 to start putting together my own recordings.

How did you wind up in Nashville?

I actually grew up about an hour away from Nashville, but took a 2000 mile trip to get here because I decided to go to LA for a while first. I had grown up thinking that everything was huge out on the west coast. But once I got there, I quickly realized that it wasn’t for me. So I moved to Nashville and started sending out emails to connect with people in town.

One of the guys I met was Kevin Neal, who runs Buddy Lee Attractions and books Jason Aldean. Jason was just getting going at the time and Kevin introduced me to Tully Kennedy, Rich Redmond and Kurt Allison who were in Aldean’s band. We all hit off well and started New Voice Entertainment. We began working on my project and discovered that we worked so well together as a production team. That was around the same time we were introduced to Thompson Square and all of the stars started to align. Having the opportunity to produce really gave me a much deeper understanding of creating music. Now it’s time for me to get back to where I started from, and that’s working on my own album.

Do you have plans to tour this summer?

We’re working on an up to date list of shows. June kicks it all off. It’s going to be a rock out year and I can’t wait to get out there and play!

For more on David Fanning be sure to check out
his official website by Clicking Here!

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