You’ve heard his music; but do you know him?

GRIN # 177

James Dunn actually grew up in Apex, NC. He used to be a regular Joe, working in pharmaceutical sales in Raleigh. I met him a few years ago after interviewing him for a story. Back then, he was splitting his time between Raleigh and Nashville. Now, he’s mostly in Nashville, writing and recording his songs. He just released his third CD: The Bed We Made. Check out his site to hear the first track (it comes on automatically):

Dunn’s music is pretty cool. He’s been compared to both Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne.

FOX Sports and ESPN have broadcast his songs during their football shows. And both the Carolina Hurricanes and NCSU play his music as well. His music has also aired on A&E’s “Bounty Hunter” and TNT’s “Saving Grace.”

I’m really rooting for James to make it big because A. I like his music and B. I really want to know someone famous or a physician; I’ll take either. I had a chat with Dunn a few days ago about the music industry:

Q: James, you used to work in medical sales. What brought you back to music?
A: Well, I didn’t really get started with music until my mid twenties.  I was always a fan, but never actually played an instrument growing up. The turning point for me to dedicate myself to music was in the later years of my Grandfather’s life.  He was a musician and had been passing down instruments to me over the years when I was young and for some reason, the light went on around the year 2000, and I started doing a lot of writing and picked up the guitar for the first time.  I wrote my first song for him, and then I really began to write more and more and that led me to recording.
Q: “The Bed We Made” is your third CD. What inspired this one?
A: A lot of the songs on this album are things that I’ve experienced in my life and some of the song ideas came from simple everyday observations of life. I’d say the heart of the album is a little bit more serious than my last album, but that’s where I’m at right now as a writer.   I’ve experienced a lot of personal changes over the last 4-5 years and I tried to channel some of that into my songwriting.
Q: Most people know very little about the music industry. What goes into making a CD?
A: Well, it’s pretty simple and pretty complex at the same time, if that makes any sense. There are plenty of studios out there and plenty of great musicians, but it really just depends on what you are trying to do as a songwriter and artist. It’s an expensive undertaking, so it really pays to do your research before you step into a studio. There is a lot of sitting and listening during the recording process.  The amount of time you actually play your instrument/sing is actually pretty minimal in comparison to the time you sit listening back to the tapes and discussing arrangement ideas.  It’s a fun process, but exhausting mentally, because you’re trying to give the song the best treatment possible because once you release it to the public – it’s out there forever.
Q. What’s the biggest misconception people have about making it in the music industry.
A: Wow, that’s a hard question to answer.  I guess it really just boils down to what you would consider “making” it.  If it’s bright lights, TV, MTV, VH1 etc….I think it takes a lot of luck along with talent.   Sometimes it doesn’t matter how talented you are, if you don’t have the right look or exactly what someone has in mind to promote, you may not get a break.    I think the biggest thing is that you have to understand that people are not going to seek out your music, you really have to be out there promoting your art.  It’s very difficult, because music is a ‘luxury’ item, people don’t HAVE to buy it to survive in the world, but they might NEED it to survive day to day, if that makes any sense.  I  know that music has helped me make sense of the world in ways that books or education has not.   I think you have to be able to deliver a good song that makes people feel something outside of the day-to-day grind and if you can do that for one person, then that’s not a bad thing.  In regards ‘making’ it – it is truly not a race that goes to the swift, but to those who keep on running the race.
To learn more about James Dunn, check out his Facebook and Twitter accounts:
FACEBOOK FAN PAGE:!/pages/James-Dunn/10398813695?ref=mf

2 Responses to “You’ve heard his music; but do you know him?”

  1. YEY for James!!!! Great article Chrissy!! I’m rooting for him too, not just b/c he’s a great person, very talented, and deserves it, but I’m w/ you. I want bragging rights that I went to school w/ him!! LOL!!!

    • I just love it that so many people from the Triangle are showing up in unexpected places. I’m thinking of doing a regular feature on it…”Famous folks in NC” or something like that:))

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