Dreaming of Nashville

Rachel Gibbons

A 19-year-old from Volga, S.D., dreams of heading off to Nashville to become a country musician. This country star hopeful is Dane Larsen.

Larsen was invited to play his guitar and sing in his friend’s room for fun a few months ago. Amazed at Larsen’s singing ability, Austin Appel recorded Dane singing his own song “Then and Now” accompanied by guitar. Appel posted the video up on YouTube on March 26. In four to five days the video received about 1500 hits.

“I wasn’t expecting there to be that many at all,” Larsen said. There are now around 2, 277 views on the video.

“My friends and I decided to upload the video because we wanted Dane’s name to get out there and YouTube was the first thing that came to our mind,” Appel said. “We know that Dane has an extremely good chance of making it big, and we are really excited for is future success in Nashville. We are all really proud of him.”

Larsen attended South Dakota State University last semester, but dropped out in hopes to earn money to be able to go to Nashville. While at State, he was a vocal music education major. He took a variety of music classes, voice lessons and piano lessons. He now works at the bean plant in Volga.

Anticipating leaving for Nashville around October, he plans to go to Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tenn. and continue pursuing a music degree. He plans to start school during the spring semester and wants to move early to get settled into Nashville. Larsen hopes to be able to sing at country music clubs to gain exposure.

“I’m ready to leave, but at the same time family and friends will be the one thing holding

me back. My motivation will be my dream of playing on stage in front of people,” Larsen said. Larsen has already had some opportunities to broaden his fame. During the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Larsen was invited to sing the national anthem on Friday, April 15th, in the Frost Arena. He was also able to perform a small concert afterward. Larsen took up playing the guitar a couple of months ago, he is self-taught. Larsen can also play the piano due to taking piano lessons for seven years and has always enjoyed singing.

“I kind of annoyed people at work because I like to sing there,” he said. He wrote “Then and Now” while in high school and finished it his senior year. He plans to write more songs and is working on one currently called “Think Drive.” He also plans to put more videos singing covers on YouTube.

“I didn’t become a country fan until a few years ago. My friend introduced me and I started to listen to it more and loved it,” he said. “My highest dream is to improve my voice and be up to the standards of musicians like Jason Aldean and singers like that.”