Catching Up with the Selma-Based Acoustic Guitar Songstress: An Interview with Dawna Crocker
Dawna Crocker will perform live at Weekend Beer in Grants Pass 5 pm, Monday, August 23 as part of the Messenger’s annual Music Sampler. She also performs at McGrews Lounge in O’Brien on Aug. 27.
As a child, Dawna Crocker’s father, who was a talented musician himself, told her: “Unless you are some musical virtuoso just don’t expect to be playing tomorrow.”
Well, she stepped up. That very same day that her father offered his wisdom (and challenge?), she killed it! Playing her first attempted song without a hitch. The rest is history.
From the empowering self-exploration of “She Defeats” to the self-acceptance and love of individuality in “This is Me!!,” Crocker bares her soul and gives acoustic beauty her own flavor. I had the opportunity to ask Dawna about her heartfelt personal lyrics and plans for the future among other things in a recent interview.
Rogue Valley Messenger: You tell really personal stories in your songs. When it comes to making an album: Are you thinking of a concept album that continues the same theme throughout or more of an eclectic mix to give the listener variety?
Dawna Crocker: Before, I had wanted to add in a full band. I tried doing that last year but I found that with the kind of music I have, and the stories that I have to tell, the more that I add, the more it takes away from the story aspect of it. So that’s been the hold up for me. What I’ve decided now is that I’m not going to be doing a full band. I’m going to stick to really simple… like what you would hear at one of my shows, just me and my guitar, maybe some added in harmonies, but it’s all based on the story and my collection of songs I’ve had for the last seventeen years.
RVM: Baring your soul and having very personal, almost confessional lyrics, how far can you take that? I mean, where do you go after you have shared your story? How many albums can you do that?
DC: I’m always going to continue to write. It’s really hard for me to sit down and be like, “Let’s write a song tonight,” My writing is always going to be based on new experiences. I’m getting married next year and there’s going to be a lot of new stuff coming out of that which is a whole other journey I’m about to take in my life. I’ll never stop. This album that I’m going to be doing is getting to the point where I’m now settling down in my life.
RVM: You’re going to be performing at McGrews Lounge in O’Brien. Could you tell me a little bit about that venue? I know that you used to be like the “Queen of Karaoke” there and you worked there too.
DC: (Laughs) I did. It was fun. It is a really special venue. I’ve known the owner my whole life. Her daughter is my best friend since we were six and so the venue is like another home to me – as well as I worked there as a bartender for five years. The outdoor stage and the beer garden is where the magic happens unless it’s karaoke, which we bring inside because we have to shut down music at ten outside but inside we can do it until two. It’s in the woods, like smack dab in the middle of nowhere, but it’s fun.
RVM: Your father was a very talented musician. Is talent for the most part genetic?
DC: His side of the family has a lot of musicians and artists. I believe that one of the first TV shows that was aired from Medford, my great grandpa was singing in the barbershop chorus that was on one of the first programs. I’ll look into it to be sure, but that’s what I’ve been told my whole life.
RVM: That would be awesome to have a copy of that.
DC: I know, man. I wish I could find that. I think I saw an article when I was younger that my dad had about it but I’ll ask my mom. A lot of my siblings, (I’m one of nine), are also very musically talented. My brother Jeffery performs as well and my dad taught us all how to play the guitar. My children are also very musical, so yes, I’d say it’s in the genes.
RVM: You’ve talked about Avril Lavigne as being a big influence on you. Who are some of your other big musical influences?
DC: Celine Dion, absolutely, was a huge influence for me. Garth Brooks – I realize a lot of his writing style I took inspiration from. The very first place I ever sang – (I was five), I was in Montana at a cousin’s wedding. My family was like, “Hey. You sing to us all the time. Will you sing a song with this band?” I sang with this live band, performing “The Dance” by Garth Brooks and that’s when it all started.