James Lytle conducted this interview with Derek Jones, one of the few people in the music business from Hartford City, IN, and who is currently in Nashville chasing his dreams of playing country music. Residents will tell you that he is very friendly and loves hometown support.
JL: How did you get into the business you are in?
DJ: I’ve always wanted to be a professional musician. I grew up playing the drums and wanted to be in a rock band. So, I’ve always had a huge passion and love for music, so I decided to chase my dream and try and make it my living.
JL: What do you like most about it?
DJ: I get to do tons of cool stuff and meet some amazing people and play shows with some of the biggest names in Music! I also get messages from people saying that my music has helped them through tough times and that’s the greatest gift a singer/songwriter can get!
JL: What are you good at?
DJ: I try to be good at anything I do. If I’m gonna do something I’m gonna give it 110% of my best efforts! I love to just sit and play my guitars and it’s very important to practice as much as you can to hone in on your craft and try to be the best at it you can be.
JL: How do you use your skills?
DJ: I use my skills to pay my bills! I get to wake up every day and do what I absolutely love to do! If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life. But I also love making music that people can relate to or connect with!
JL: We are promoting the Midwest music scene on our website, middletownmusic.org. What should we tell our followers about the music & entertainment scene in Nashville, coming from someone who grew up in a small Midwest town?
DJ: It’s a very tough and unforgiving town. There are thousands of people trying to make it in the music business here in Nashville. You can’t stop or even slow down because someone will pass right by ya! But I love it that way cause it keeps you on your toes!
JL: What is the most exciting part of it for you?
DJ: The most exciting part for me is about 10 minutes before I hit the stage. Hearing the crowd yelling and feeling the butterflies in my stomach! It’s an incredible feeling and I hope I never get used to it!
JL: Do you have any advice for someone that wants to take on the Nashville challenges in the music industry?
DJ: My advice to anyone wanting to move here and give it a shot, it’s not about how many shows you can play in a week. It’s not about how many songs you can write in a day. It’s about networking. It’s about meeting people and forming relationships with people that can and want to help you. As for me and my music. I will always stay true to my songs. I write what I know and believe in. I write songs that I’ve lived and to me that’s the most important part. Staying true to yourself. Don’t give up, this town WILL chew you up and spit you right back out. Just keep pushing and never take no for an answer. And good luck!