Six Questions With Derek Hoke
Welcome to “Six Questions With…,” a series of interviews with emerging artists, musicians, and bands focusing on the music scene and how they live within it. It started as a quick, fun project, but has quickly gained serious interest, so we’re making this a permanent feature on the site. Over time, the questions may change, but the sentiment will stay intact. This is a way for independent artists to be discovered by new fans on a global scale.
Within in each post, you will find all of their social media links, and also either a link to their music, or the ability to stream at least one of their tracks or videos, depending on the availability.
We hope you enjoy this series, and if you know anyone that might be interested in being part of it, please have them reach out to us for more information.
Next in the hot seat is Nashville-based indie singer-songwriter Derek Hoke. We have not had the privilege of featuring Derek Hoke here on the pages of Indie Minded, so we are thrilled to bring you this short interview. If you’re not familiar with him, sit back and enjoy! This is what is great about this series – the discovery of new music.
For those who may not be familiar, please tell us about your music: the type of music you play, where you are from, and how you got started?
I was born in Brunswick, GA, and grew up in Florence, SC. At a young age, I realized that I could play music by ear. Listen to something and then play it back on a guitar or piano. Nothing too complex, though. The music of The Beatles and sound of punk rock were very influential on me. I love a good a melody and was always searching for good tunes in whatever genre. At some point, I taught myself to sing and play the guitar at the same time. I really enjoyed it and soon began performing at VFW’s, local bars, backyards, anywhere I could play. As I learned to write my own songs, I kept with trying to be melodic and simple. Paul McCartney and Hank Williams were my favorite writers, so I tend to take that path a lot in my own writing.
As an artist, how do you define success?
I always try to set little goals for myself. I was never someone that wanted to be rich and famous. I just wanted the music that I make to be good. To be lasting. I think moving to Nashville was the best decision that I ever made. It really kicks your ass. I would have never grown as an artist had I not made that move. That, to me, is a success. Making the right decisions that keep you moving forward.
What do you find to be your greatest struggle when it comes to the music business?
Well, these days, EVERYONE has a record out. You have to create something that rises above the rest of the crowd. Do something unique and truly your own. Living in Nashville, it’s easy just to be “another singer-songwriter.” You have to push yourself. Stand out. The hard part, if you do that, is maintaining it.
If you could only play ONE of your songs for the rest of your career, which one would it be?
I’m really proud of the song “Lonely Street” from my album Waiting All Night. It’s got a timeless quality to it. A contemporary song that could have easily been written in the ’50s. I’ve got a song on my new album called “Destination Unknown.” That one is starting to become my favorite, though.
Who do you consider your greatest influences?
This could be a very long list. It really changes from day to day. When I think about it, it always goes back to The Beatles. The songs. The sound. There’s one Willie Nelson record, though, that I always lean on when I’m writing. Crazy: The Demo Sessions. It’s just a master class in simple, effective songwriting.
Outside of music, what do you like to do that you feel contributes to the creativity that you tap into for your music?
This might sound odd, but I drive a lot. To nowhere in particular. Usually early in the morning. No music on. Just driving the back roads around Nashville. I come up with a lot of songs that way. Pull them out of the silence. Just singing fragments of things into my phone as I drive. The unfiltered thoughts and melodies in my head. No guitar to dictate any chords. Just total freedom. I do it all the time.