Music Spotlight: Johnny Dailey

Aug 05, 2023 at 11:31 am by Bethany Bowman

Johnny Dailey discovered his love for country music as a kid riding around in his cousin’s truck listening to songs in the rural town of Argo, just north of Birmingham.

“I had two sisters, so my cousin became more like a brother. He would always have the latest and greatest country albums to come out like Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Montgomery Gentry, Dierks Bentley, and even some Texas songwriters like Jack Clark and Jerry Jeff Walker.

That is when Dailey first became aware of the music being made in Nashville and songwriting and he naturally gravitated towards it.  And even though no one in his family pursued music as a career, his dad gave him a guitar at age 12 and he learned to play.

When he completed high school, Dailey moved to Charleston, South Carolina, to attend the American College of the Building Arts so he could follow his father and grandfather in the family business of creating ornamental metalwork for buildings. He loved living near the ocean, played gigs on weekends in Folly Beach, and honed his performance chops playing original songs up and down the city’s infamous King Street.

“That’s where I really honed my craft as a songwriter,” he admitted.

After two years of playing the bars/streets of Charleston, the music siren kept luring his heart and he eventually yielded, quit school, and decided to Nashville. But before he put down stakes in Nashville, he moved home for a few months where he met his now wife, Michelle. He dated her for 8 months, and in 2018, they found they were pregnant and got married. Dailey turned this life event which could have stalled or even canceled his music career into his biggest hit to date. "Got Married" was written by Dailey, Dan Couch, and Matty Bubel. It is his most personal release so far and tells the beautiful story of how even though sometimes things don't work out quite how you expected them to, life changes can make your life even more beautiful than you initially thought.

In 2019, Dailey got a publishing deal. The couple was living in Nashville with the newborn son, Cooper, and like everyone in 2020, COVID threw a wrench in the country crooner’s plans.

“It was tough,” he shared. “But it also gave me time to take a step back and see what I was writing and which direction I was heading.”

Dailey’s songs “24” and “Over a Girl” were also inspired by his wife. Initially the song “24” was written about losing his dad, but then when they got into it seemed stronger as a love song.

“Over A Girl” took him back to when he was dating his wife. He recalled, “I was never one to really slow down for anybody, but she somehow came in and kind of changed that for me, so that was good.”

Last year, Johnny released his profoundly personal debut EP, Dillashaw, which peels back the layers of his background in rural Alabama and the lessons he lives by to this day. He has racked up over 2 million streams and over 100K monthly listeners on Spotify alone with just a handful of releases thus far. Earlier this year, he was named an 'Artist To Watch' by Billboard and inked a publishing deal with Endurance Music Group. He has also gone on tour alongside Old Dominion. 

His newest EP, Love Every Minute, has the songs above, plus the rollicking “Beers In It,” the sentimental “Living Don’t Cost a Lot” and the heartfelt “Good Ones Go too Soon,” a tribute to his father.

When Dailey writes songs, they appear to come out effortlessly. He confirms that co-writing in Nashville has made him a better writer as he learned how to craft a song. He has gotten to write with a lot of his heroes. But he is content to write alone in his 10 x 12-foot studio as well. “I love coming out here and writing songs by myself because there is something that you get by doing that, he confirmed. He would also be thrilled for some “bigger artists” to cut his songs.

Dailey concluded, “I'm really excited about what's next. I’m writing a lot and we're going into the studio next month to work on a full-length album.”

Dailey will be touring this fall and is already teasing new music. As long as he writes and sings songs that are true to himself, his relevant music will always be in demand. Johnny Dailey is one to keep on your radar.

You can follow Johnny Dailey on his website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and all streaming platforms.

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Bethany Bowman is a freelance entertainment writer. You can follow her blogInstagram, and Twitter.