Daniel Card is a singer/songwriter originally from Ardmore, Okla. Currently in Oklahoma City, Card released his first album, Now or Never, in September 2022. Believing lyrics are at least as important as the music, Daniel’s songs are taken from life experiences and meant to connect with the listeners in a relatable way.
How did you get started? (Education, etc..)
I don’t have any formal education or training in music. I picked up the guitar when I was about 13 and never put it down. I knew I had a decent singing voice but was too nervous to sing in front of anyone until my mid-30s. I graduated from the University of Oklahoma (OU) with a bachelor’s and received my law degree from Oklahoma City University (OCU) in 2010. I’ve been a practicing attorney since then, playing music for fun on the side, and currently work as a litigator for the State of Oklahoma. Music is a second career I only recently began pursuing in the last few years.
Did you always want a career in the music industry?
Perhaps, but it seemed like a pipe dream too far out of reach. I was focused on my law career, which seemed more readily attainable. Eventually I saw enough live performances (both big and small) and gained the confidence to believe, “I really think I can do that.” I had written several songs and it gradually became a bucket list item to record them. But I kept putting it off and would provide myself every excuse in the book (money, time, etc.), but it boiled down to fear of rejection, failure, embarrassment, etc. In late 2020, I was reading an article on “Saving Country Music” about Kyle Nix’s (Turnpike Troubadours) upcoming album. The article mentioned it was being produced by Wes Sharon at 115 Recording in Norman. Wes had done two Troubadours albums by that point and had been nominated for a Grammy for his work with John Fullbright. I’m a big fan of both the Troubadours and Fullbright, so on a whim I emailed Wes, sent him some rough songs I’d written, and asked if he’d meet with me. He responded quickly and complimented my songs. We met shortly thereafter, I saw the studio, and he encouraged me that my songs were worth recording. After a few years of saying “I’m going to do this,” I finally pulled the trigger, hence the name of the album, Now or Never. Fortunately for me, 115 Recording is next door to the Troubadours’ headquarters. Wes was able to enlist Ryan Engleman and Gabe Pearson on guitar and drums, respectively, plus other amazing musicians in Isaac Stalling (guitar), Daniel Walker (keys/B4), and my childhood friend and local musician Derek Harris (backing vocals). Wes played the bass himself.
Most Recent Successes / Placements / Accomplishments / Projects? Career highlight?
My career is young. My first show (other than playing three or four songs) was in June 2021 at the first PigFest. I got in as a “friend of a friend” type deal, but they liked my music enough to invite me back in 2022. Now I play several shows a month at venues around the OKC metro and seem to have built a small fanbase I hope to keep growing. My biggest accomplishment is releasing Now or Never, a 15-track album I was proud to have written and am proud of the final product.
What is your favorite Oklahoma music venue, music store or recording studio?
Wes Sharon with 115 Recording was monumental in helping me take good, but raw, music and turn it into great sounding songs. It would never have occurred to me, for instance, to have a B4 organ player on my album, but Dan Walker really put the songs on another level. And I have to give credit to the Chicken Shack (now in Arcadia) because it was the first venue to give me a shot at playing live. Most venues did not return my calls or emails, and now I’m slowing getting into other venues. But I still play at the Chicken Shack often, as well as the Lumber Shack in Harrah, and enjoy those venues.
Networking and connecting with others who share your dream or vision is a vital aspect to the music industry. Can you share which Oklahoma organizations (if any) have contributed to your success and are there Oklahoma organization you would recommend other connect with? To help further their craft or promotion?
Networking is not and never has been my strong suit, but I’m working on it. I’m a relatively introverted person and I generally do not feel comfortable “selling myself.” My first goal was to get the album done and go from there. I figured I can’t sell myself or my product without a product. But finally getting the “what do I have to lose” courage to reach out to Wes Sharon was a big step, and his knowledge and expertise in the industry was a big help. I also felt like he was an objective source. He liked the music, and his encouragement was a big help for me saying “maybe I do have something worth listening to.”
How can we follow you? Best place to purchase and listen to your music (if applicable)?
Ideally everyone would buy the album on danielcard.bandcamp.com or iTunes! But that is purely out of my selfish financial reasons because streaming pays artists so poorly. But Now or Never is available on every streaming app one can think of e.g. Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, etc. I also have a Facebook page, Daniel Card Music. I’m usually up to date on upcoming shows there.
Advice for someone interested in working in the music industry.
Just do it. It isn’t too late, even if it may feel like it. Generally, most people (especially around here) are nice and responsive. Send an email or call someone already in the industry even if you don’t know them at all or have some fear that you’re not worth their time. You are, and if they’re not helpful, move on to someone else. You have nothing to lose by going for it and a lifetime of “what ifs” if you don’t.
What are some of the benefits of having a music career in Oklahoma?
The pool of talented musicians in Oklahoma is extremely deep. It also isn’t Los Angeles where you’re one of a million trying to get a spot to play live at any given venue.
Favorite quote (if applicable)
Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. – Earl Nightingale.
Each featured individual or business is given the provided questions to answer in their own voice. Other than formatting and grammar, the answers are personal to each featured voice, and are not provided by the Oklahoma Film + Music Office.