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A Chat With Zach Dubois

By Felix “Nacho” Casado –

Hey guys I’m back with another “Nacho Artist Review” this week we have Zach Dubois, and let me tell you something i was completely blown away by his voice and the lyrics of his songs that i had to go and download all of his songs! Yes i spend money on awesome artist and he’s one of them. Trust me for someone that gave up Medical school to Pursued music means that he not only believes in himself but knows in his heart he’s following the right path and I’m with him 100% on this one. so don’t miss out on an awesome interview and go check out his music!!!!

 

 

1) Zach, as an up and coming artist how do you describe yourself and what makes you unique from all the other up and comers?
That’s a great question.  I love writing story songs and I want to use my platform as songwriter and artist to share messages that I think are important.  I guess that would be my best attempt at an answer.  I’ve always been drawn to story songs, and I think they have kind of gotten lost in country music, recently (unless it’s the story of a guy in a pickup truck drinking beer and hooking up with girls).  So I hope that with this new album I am just doing my part to tell interesting stories that are worth sharing.

2) So you put medical school on hold to pursue your music career, why? What made you make that finale decision and how did your family and friends react to it.
Yeah – that was definitely a 180 degree turn, of sorts.  I really developed a passion for songwriting during my time at Notre Dame, and I felt that I needed to pursue that passion.  So I developed a business plan for being a full-time singer-songwriter during my senior year entrepreneurship class, and then put that plan into action after graduation.  When I started telling my family and friends that I was changing course, it kind of felt like I was “coming out” in a sense.  But the amount of support that I received from family and close friends was, and remains to be, overwhelming – I still can’t believe the incredible support I’ve received from those closest to me.

3) I’ve listened to your album and i see that you sing a lot about what’s in your heart and whats going on around you, which one of your songs was your favorite to write/record? And why? And which one do you connect with the most?
That’s a tough one – each song is like a child and has its own special meaning to me.  But, if I had to pick only one as my favorite, I guess I’d have to go with “Pray for Rain.”  I love story songs and I am really proud to share the message of the song.  I was reading Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath at the time, and I wanted to tell a modern version of that story.  So instead of Okies migrating west during the Dust Bowl, it is the story of a guy from Mexico in present day.  There is a guy I met in Nashville, his name is Lupe, who actually inspired the song.  On two separate occasions he crossed the border illegally, traveling for days in the Sonoran desert.  I didn’t really want to make a big political statement with the song, though – immigration is such a difficult and complicated issue.  I just wanted to show the humanity of the situation with this song – it’s just the story of a guy trying to make a better life for his family.  At the end of the day, I think that is a universal message that we all can relate to.

4) Your single “Work Harder” music video has a message (Multi-generational family farms are the backbone of the american Ethos). Why the message and how do you personally connect yourself with that message?
I am really proud of that music video.  We shot it on a multi-generational family farm outside of my hometown of Elkhart, IN.  There were 4 generations featured in the video – it was really special.  I’m from northern Indiana and agriculture is such a huge aspect of life there.  Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more difficult to sustain a small- to medium-scale family farm – oftentimes, you need to be farming thousands of acres just to get by.  I just wanted to use the platform of the video to try and do my part to raise awareness about the issue.  There’s a lot an individual can do to help support and sustain family farms – mainly, buying local – so hopefully the video did that.

 
5) Flâneur is your 3rd album, how can you compare all three and what makes them also so different (Lyrically / Musically)?
As an artist and songwriter, you always want to be improving and getting better at your craft.  I’m proud of all 3 projects, to date, but I think from a song and sound perspective, Flâneur is my best yet.  I really tried to hone in on my “sound” with this album – I guess I would classify it as Heartland Country.  Somewhere between John Denver and John Mellencamp.  Lyrically, I really just explored stories and topics that were interesting and inspiring to me.  I really didn’t worry about whether or not any of the songs were “commercial” or would play well to a bar crowd or the radio – I just wanted to write and record songs that I was passionate about.  Hopefully the songs show off my maturation and growth as both a songwriter and a person.

 
6) Who has been your backbone in all your projects personally and as an artist?
My parents have been so incredibly supportive of me.  I can say with 100% certainty that without their support, I would not have had the courage to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter – and I definitely would not still be doing music full-time.  They have been so great.  I just got married in June, and my wife (Katy) is so supportive, as well.  She is a musician (member of the band Maybe April), so she kind of gets where I am coming from.  I always said that I never wanted to date a musician, but now I am married to one.  I think it really helps us both out to have a partner that understands the struggles of the music industry.

 
7) If you had to work with anyone in the industry past or present who would you work with and why? And would it be as a song writer or singing on a record?
That’s so difficult.  I’m going to cop out and pick one from the past and one from the present.  From the past, it would be John Denver  I would want to write with him and just listen to him talk about how he was able to use his art as a platform for the causes of which he was so passionate.  I’d also want to go skiing with him in Colorado.
From the present, it would have to be Jason Isbell.  I think he is the best in the business right now.  I’m not sure I would want to write with him, or not.  I’d just want to pick his brain on how he has been able to progress as an artist.  He just keeps getting better and better as a writer, and you don’t always see that.  So often, you find something that works and you just keep going to the well.  It’s tough to grow and mature as a creative and not feel like you are alienating/abandoning your fans.

 
8) In the future what can we expect from you. Tour/new music video/new single or maybe take a break and lay back?
The honest answer is that I’m not sure.  I hope that I can continue to tour and take my music to new markets.  I’ll be releasing the music video for “Pray for Rain” at the end of September, so that will be great.  I’ve already started writing songs for a new album.  But, as I’ve found out, trying to predict the future is a fool’s errand.  I’ve got a plan to continue to grow my music and career as a singer-songwriter, but you never know what will actually occur.  All you can do is come up with a goal or plan, work your ass off to achieve it, and have the courage to adjust course when it is necessary.  Who knows – maybe I’ll end up going to medical school.  I’m really not sure.  And I’m okay with it.  I’m just going to try and enjoy the journey.

 
9) Every artist has come by the magical wall called “Writers Block”. Who do you turn to for help/inspiration or do you go and listen to a certain artist to help you knock down that wall?
I hit a wall, creatively, about 2 years ago.  I was in the Nashville writing community, networking and meeting with publishers all the time, and I started trying to chase fads – writing songs that I thought would be good for radio, but songs that I really was not passionate about.  What helped me was stepping back, kind of removing myself from that world, and get back to my roots.  I went back and listen to artists that I love – Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Darrell Scott, Jason Isbell, John Denver – and got back to writing songs that I wanted to write.  I didn’t worry about whether or not publishers would like them – whether or not they would be good for country radio – I just wanted to write songs that I liked and would want to listen to.  It sounds like an easy thing, but it is really difficult to find your own unique “voice.”  But once you find it, people can tell.  The authenticity is palpable.

10) In a few words tell us something you want your fans and new fans to know about you that will make them know you a little better? 
I love to travel – eating, drinking, and experiencing local culture is how I find inspiration.  The more you travel, the more you realize we are all connected.  And the vast majority of the human population is made up of great people.  I’m very content in my life, but if I could trade lives with anyone in the entire world it would be Anthony Bourdain.  At least for a while.  The things that he gets to experience, and the manner in which he frames his experiences, is just incredible.

About Felix Casado

Music is what Felix lives for. He loves to DJ, produce and review music. Felix has also served as a reporter for Clear Channel Communications, working in various venues such as Sirius/XM Radio.

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