Giving his pop music an acoustic spin, firekid dropped by MusicRow offices last week to play songs from his self-titled Atlantic Records debut album.
The project signals a reinvention for the singer-songwriter, whose given name is Dillon Hodges. A Florence, Alabama, native who has been living in Nashville for about two and a half years, Hodges was raised with an emphasis on roots music. At 17, he won the 2007 National Flat Pick Guitar Championship, achieving a lifelong goal.
“I played bluegrass growing up and I was always the youngest of my friends. All of my friends were like 50 years old,” he said. “I was like 11 to 15, so they always called me ‘kid,’ and ‘Firekid’ was my nickname. I’d been making Americana music for a while and when I started making pop music, I didn’t want to go by my name anymore. I wanted a moniker, so that was it.”
During his MusicRow visit, firekid performed three songs he wrote: “Movin’ On,” “Die for Alabama,” and “Lay By Me.” He is managed by Vector Management.
Although he was accompanied only by his guitar, Hodges did mention that sometimes he incorporates a vintage Gameboy into his performances.
“I make music on my Gameboy as well. It sounds crazy but I realized I could do it,” he said. “We were doing these boardroom performances a lot when we were on the road for a radio tour. The music that we make is pop music. It’s got synth and beats.
“I came from the Americana world and I didn’t want to roll up into offices and play an acoustic guitar because then I’d sound like an Americana artist. It wouldn’t sound like what we sound like,” he added. “I realized I could program my 1980s Gameboy to play our songs, so I’d go into these offices with a Gameboy and little speaker. We had thumb drives made with the album on them that are Gameboy cartridges.”
His Feb. 18 concert at Nashville’s Mercy Lounge, where he opened for Kaleo, was sold out.
The touring life continues for firekid, who’s playing Wednesday night (Feb. 24) in New York City. That’s followed by shows in Massachusetts, Vermont, and Michigan, as well as Toronto. His tour with Kaleo concludes on March 2 in Chicago.
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