Devin Dawson has been touring the UK this past week opening the show for Dan and Shay but this is not his first visit. He has played support slots and festivals over here in the past and as Dan and Shay closed their show they said what much of the Manchester crowd (those that turned up in time for the support) were thinking, it’s time Devin did his own headline tour! His personality and stage etiquette is endearing even if he did upset a small minority when he came out wearing a Manchester United sweatshirt (good choice Devin!) So let’s look more closely at Devin’s career so far.
Dawson’s mashup’s of Taylor Swift songs which he recorded with his friend Louisa Wendorff can still be found on Youtube, in particular Blank Space/Style which went viral after Taylor herself retweeted now has 36 million views. I remember watching that video when it was first released but who would have thought 4 years later one of those artists would have a number 2 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and be touring the World. Devin has come a long way since then and though we all loved hearing him sing covers of current chart hits it’s nice to hear what he has to say himself. The day I went to see him in Manchester, January 19th was a year to the day that Devin released his debut album Dark Horse which featured that hit single All On Me. Of course on the night when he played that towards the end of the set the Manchester crowd sung along in full voice, many with their phones in the air capturing the moment on video, but it wasn’t the only track they knew!
The 2018 album has offered two more singles since All On Me was released and though Dark Horse and Asking For a Friend have not faired as well on the charts, the crowd gathered for Dan and Shay on Saturday night knew most of the words to these singles as well. Dark Horse appears to be a particular fan favourite at the moment across the country if social media is anything to go by. Dawson is working with the likes of Barry Dean, Luke Laird, Connie Harrington and Chris Dubois to name just a few top songwriters credited on his first record, so where does he go from here? Well he’s doing things right for the UK fans, he has been over a few times in the past year, built a connection and a fanbase which, if he wants to succeed, he needs to keep coming back to. Judging off the crowds reaction to him on Saturday night and by his reaction to their reaction, he enjoys playing over here, he enjoys supporting friends such as Dan and Shay but I think he’d enjoy his own headline shows here even more!
But the bigger picture for Devin is to own his sound, he is never going to please Country purists but that’s ok, he’s found his sound with this record and needs to stick with it. The stripped back versions he does on tour solidify it into its Country roots. If he stays true to himself and keeps writing and co-writing with the people he collaborated with on this first record I’m sure Devin Dawson will be a name we see a lot of when we look at the charts in the future.