Over 1000 shows, 10 years, and 200,000 miles have passed since Dean Fields went on the road to pursue a career in music. During that time his address changed from Richmond VA to Miami to Boston until most recently settling in Nashville TN. Now, he hits the road again to promote his most recent release “Any Minute Now.”
His recent homecoming has found Fields selling out shows in Richmond VA, as well as nearby Washington DC. “Dean Fields writes lyrics like Leonard Cohen and sings like Jeff Buckley. It’s no surprise that there’s a serious buzz on this Virginia singer-songwriter.” (Free Times) While continuing to feed his passion for music, Dean is fueled by a single-minded love to perform, sharing the stage with KT Tunstall, Blues Traveler, Rosanne Cash, Eric Hutchinson, Colin Hay, Bob Schneider, Hootie and the Blowfish, John Hiatt, Cake, Bruce Hornsby, Rusted Root, Madeleine Peyroux, Carbon Leaf, among others. In addition, Fields’ maturity as a writer and performer is brought to the fore by some of the region’s finest musicians. The band features members of Mandy Moore, Sparklehorse, Agents of Good Roots, KD Lang, Carbonleaf and Modern Groove Syndicate.
Q: Where were you born?
A: I was born and raised in Virginia, right outside of Richmond.
Q: How and when did you start playing music?
A: I started playing piano when I was four or five years old, and grew up playing classical music. My dad got a guitar for a Christmas present when I was fourteen years old. I stole his guitar and played it all the time.
Q: When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in music?
A: I grew up wanting to be a runner. I ran competitively at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, but I got injured. So then I decided to go to grad school at the University of Miami to study music. I didn’t want to go but its what everyone was doing. However, as soon as I found my voice as a songwriter I was out of there.
Q: What was your major in Grad School?
A: I studied MBEI. Which is Music Business Entertainment Industry. Not many schools were offering solely Music Business back then. I also studied Audio Engineering.
Q: What are the steps of your songwriting process?
A: It used to just be messing around until I found something cool, but now its much more simplified. Musically, my classical background helps me construct a melody, and lyrically it’s my love for reading. If I’m co-writing I usually come with a hook ready, and if I’m not I’ve just developed the discipline to knock out a song in four hours or so.
Q: Do you currently have a publishing deal?
A: Nope, I don’t have anything. I pitch all my own songs and book all my own shows. I appreciate anyone’s help, but I’ve realized that no one will work as hard as I will because it is my music. I know me and know what I want to do and think about it all day and night, I can’t expect that from someone else.
Q: What has been your favorite recording experience?
A: The first record I made, I was in the studio with Alan Weatherhead who used to be in a band called Sparklehorse. He’s a great engineer, who kind of fly’s under the radar. He is like the secret weapon of Richmond, Virginia. The studio is called Sound of Music. I knew nothing about what I was doing. I was just winging it. Alan was awesome; he had this idea to just have everyone in the room be a part of the record. We made it sound like the recording was in a bar, with all this background noise, and people telling jokes in the background. It was really cool; we were all singing around the same mic, it was very spontaneous. It was fun, it sounded like garbage, but it was great for that song.
Q: What has been your favorite live performance experience?
A: I like it when there is a super loud crowd that I can shut up with my music. I think that’s amazing, now when it is the other way around it sucks. I just played this show with Levi Lowrey in Atlanta and that happened there. None of the crowd was ready for my sound, but it worked. It was weird when I used to play college gigs because I had to make them feel like they were having an awesome time, while satisfying my need to be heard.
Q: Do you have any summer touring plans coming up?
A: I actually have a big tour coming up. My home market in Virginia is solid; I can sell out venues there. I have other friends who can do the same in other markets. I reached out to them and said I’ve worked twelve years to get to this point, I’ll trade you my twelve years for your twelve years. So we put together a twelve-gig tour, and we expect to sell out at least four venues. That tour starts in June and spans from Georgia to New Hampshire, we’re playing Atlanta, Charlotte, Richmond, Washington DC, Philly, New York, Boston, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.