“They wrote about gritty, street level, real life stuff – the struggles of the average person. And that’s the road I have travelled down in terms of my own song-writing. I wanted to write about the real world,
both the good and the bad.”
After nearly 40 years of charming and entertaining audiences at the heart of the vibrant St. John’s music scene, beloved Newfoundland singer/songwriter Damian Follett is taking his career as a recording artist and creative storyteller to the next level with a bold new focus and a collection of memorable and compelling new songs.
Follett is an icon of the world-renowned George Street scene, acting as the popular and beloved house musician for the legendary Green Sleeves establishment for 20 years, as well as taking his one-man acoustic show on the road to the most remote outposts of his home province, to bars, taverns and festivals from coast to coast in Canada and throughout the United States.
Along the way, he has also written, recorded and released five studio albums as a solo act and two more with his former band Rogue’s Gallery, as well as a ‘greatest hits’ collection. Singles such as No Second Chances, One of These Days and Long As You’re A Good Man have been played on a host of radio stations representing a cross-section of genres throughout North America.
As has become almost a stereotype for The Rock, Follett grew up in a musical home, with both parents as well as his siblings singing and playing instruments as often as possible. His uncles became noteworthy regional entertainers with one only retiring last year in his early 80’s.
But it was when rifling through one older brother’s record collection in the 1970s that a teenaged Follett decided that music was more than a hobby or something to do at a family gathering. Music was going to be a vocation because he wanted to inspire and evoke the kinds of feelings in others that he was receiving from the artists who touched his youthful soul.
“He introduced me to Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Bob Seger – artists like that. And this music was just so far beyond what I had ever heard before. It was like it was from another planet. At that moment, I wanted to be the next Bruce Springsteen, the next Tom Petty or the next Bob Seger,” Follett confessed. “They wrote about gritty, street level, real life stuff – the struggles of the average person. And that’s the road I have travelled down in terms of my own song-writing. I wanted to write about the real world, both the good and the bad.”
Thanks to the loyalty of his following and performing more than 10,000 shows, Follett has learned to trust his song-writing instincts and not over-analyze what’s coming into his head and heart when he sits down to compose.
“There is nothing methodical or systematic about how I write. It’s almost purely inspirational. It comes from a lot of conversations that I have or overhear, or things I see in my daily travels. Sometimes it’s something random that happens when I am sitting down with some of my other musician pals,” he explained.
“So I am also observing the people around me, what’s going on in their lives as well as my own and that’s how I get the true-life stories that we can all relate to. I just let whatever happens to happen and trust my instincts and my experience as a songwriter. Listen, I don’t believe there is such a thing as a ‘formula’ because if there was, we’d all be writing hit songs every day.”
Follett has also honed his crafting of songs through multiple working trips to Nashville to work alongside some of the greatest collection of songwriters and musicians on the planet. More recently, the affinity he has felt for these artists has opened his horizons to embrace what many would see as more modern country music sound.
Follett’s current creations are infused with supremely infectious melodies, eminently singable choruses and masterful production – yet still bound up in his homespun storytelling and emotive, engaging vocal stylings. And there is a refreshingly positive topicality to some of his latest creative concoctions.
“I am still writing about what surrounds me in the world: my own personal relationships, my family and good friends, as well as the state of the world. The new song One Human Race is me trying to put something positive and constructive back into the world to create some sort of good vibe and make a positive difference. I know that it’s a big job trying to save the world on your own, but you’ve got to try,” he said with a laugh.
As it has with artists around the globe the COVID-19 pandemic has meant Follett has pivoted his career somewhat, focusing almost exclusively on writing and recording and using that to send his message to the world.
With his focus on making a substantial impact on the Canadian country music scene, decades of
superlative song-writing experience and an unmatched positive outlook on the world, there is little doubt that this new chapter in the career of a Newfoundland artistic stalwart will be as inspirational as is it successful for many years to come.