Long before Devin Dawson was a rising country music star, he was making music in another genre: heavy metal. The California native was in a band, Shadow of the Colussus, along with his twin brother, Jacob, crossing the country in an old van, staying with fans, and doing their best to make a living.
But one night, when things got especially tough, Dawson realized he might be on the wrong path.
"We were in a northern winter tour, which is the worst decision ever in Northern America," he tells Taste of Country. "We had a trailer, the bearing seized up and we had to get it fixed ... and we had to pay like $1,000 that we didn't have."
"And so we're hauling a-- to try to get to the next show because we needed it to eat, we needed it to get gas," he continues. But when the van and trailer got caught in a show drift, causing the van to run into an embankment and roll over twice, at 4:00 AM in the middle of Wyoming, Dawson decided he was ready for a change.
"That was a turning point for me of like, 'Is it worth it?'" Dawson recalls. That night became the impetus for Dawson's switch from metal to country music.
"I just grew out of it, man. It didn’t fulfill me toward the end," he says. "I got older and realized I wanted to hear and say different things ...It was another one of those moments where I was like, 'Is this worth it? What am I doing? Is this fulfilling to me in my heart and my career, and the way I want to spend my time?' It was a big turning point for me, in my head to say these other songs I'm writing, maybe have more chance.
"But beyond that, they make me happier," Dawson adds. "I would do this for those songs. I would have this peril or this heartbreak or this trouble for those songs, but maybe not for those songs I was playing in the metal band. So it was a big eye-opening moment for me."
Dawson released his freshman Dark Horse album in January, the result of his finally making peace with his musical ambitions.
"I wanted to fulfill my heart, my creative heart, in a different way with these songs that I was writing in my room on the side, just for myself," Dawson tells PopCulture.com. "It slowly transitioned into that taking over more of what I wanted to do musically and creatively, and so, it was really almost a Renaissance in a way of my going back to what I had started with and how I had grown up. It was an easy transition for me.
"I moved to Nashville to go to college and write songs," he continues, "and obviously being here, and the song writing community here in the home of country music and all of that was just this perfect storm of everything that I've been wanting to do and I had the ability to do it here."
Dawson is currently serving as the opening act on Brett Eldredge's The Long Way Tour. Dates can be found on Dawson's website.
Photo Credit: Instagram/zdevin