Check out our interview with Eric Dodd!
Eric Dodd grew up in Lake Oconee, Ga. chasing two things: golf balls and guitar. He had a natural gift for both. He earned a golf scholarship to Georgia College and State University, where he majored in business. When he wasn’t playing in golf tournaments, he was playing in frat houses with his band. He eventually transferred to the University of Georgia to pursue a music business degree and immerse himself in the fertile Athens music scene. He first gained national attention as a CMT Discovery Artist, but he honed his craft playing more than 200 dates a year throughout the southeast where his likable personality, feel-good lyrics, musicianship, and energetic stage presence earned him a faithful following. A romantic with a wild side, Dodd weaves seamlessly between rock, country, and Americana with a delivery that is believable and authentic.
“Pursue what you love, what you are passionate about. Don’t let somebody else dictate your life’s path.” – Jack Nicklaus
Happy Gilmore, Caddie Shack, Tin Cup…… the list goes on and on of famous golf movies. For Eric Dodd, growing up as the Director of Golf’s son on Lake Oconee, Georgia, offered up a real-life The Legend of Bagger Vance, and taught him the importance of discipline at an early age. “Golf taught me patience and persistence. During the summers, my mom would drop me off at the course, and I would play from sun up til sundown. If the course wasn’t too busy, Dad would have his assistant golf pros take me out to play. I learned a lot during those rounds; probably a little more than Mom would have liked. Late nights with friends after days filled with golf started early. It was all a part of the lake life and was a great way to grow up,” says the singer/songwriter
Unlike the rest of his peers, Eric had his sites on something beyond the golden horizon of Lake Oconee. “When I was 13 or so, I was fortunate to have my older brother, Bryan, take me to concerts (Bob Dylan and Counting Crows, to name a few) and for sharing his love of music with me. Nirvana would become my favorite band, and my first guitar was a black and white Fender Strat like the one Kurt Cobain played on the ‘In Utero Tour.’” At age 14, Eric wrote his first song and switched over to acoustic guitar as he honed his craft. “I was influenced by a variety of singer-songwriters and also being a 90’s kid, hip-hop was a big deal to me. My influences range from 2 Pac, Eminem, Van Morrison, Johnny Cash, Robert Earl Keen, Stone Temple Pilots – so my musical taste has never been confined to one genre. I guess if I had to put it in a category it would just be good music,” jokes Eric.
Eric went on to earn a golf scholarship to Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia, but between gigging and 6 a.m. workouts, the athlete/songwriter had to make a decision about the direction of his future. Music won! “I transferred to the University of Georgia where I entered their Music Business program. Athens is a town with a strong musical heritage. I learned how to manage my music career, booking my own shows, recording my songs and building/developing my band and sound.” During his senior year at Georgia, Eric’s band opened for the Zac Brown Band at the legendary Georgia Theatre. “Drive-By Truckers (Jason Isbell was in the band at that time) were also big hometown heroes so our set included alternative country/Americana covers, but we continued to play originals and the crowds seemed to really take to my tunes. At that point, I figured I may have a future in this business,” smiles Dodd.
Eric moved to Nashville in 2014 and dedicated the last two years to writing. He performed at his first CMA Festival in 2015. When he went to record his new EP, FUN / FIRE / RAIN, he discovered he had more than 300 songs to choose from his catalogue. “This EP is reflective of everything I’ve been through as a teen and young adult and is kind of my introduction to the world as an artist. I hope the lyrics, my story, will speak to a lot of people. A little partying, a little love makin, and a little heart achin’,” laughs Eric. “’Fun” and ‘Outskirts’ are party songs. ‘Burned,’ and ‘Relapse’ are true stories of heartbreak and ‘Rain Rain’ and ‘Damn Love’ are both lighthearted, and will even make you nod a little.”
Nora Collins is a dreamer with a practical streak. When she moved to Nashville from Milwaukee, she lived in a sparsely decorated apartment for over a year.
“I knew I was going to give my career everything I had, with every bit of my attention and time focused on writing, recording, meeting people, and growing as an artist,” she said. “Decorating was a distraction and honestly, if I had to move home, I didn’t want to pack.”
It’s time to unpack. Collins will be staying for a while w
ith a new EP around the corner produced by standout creative force Marshall Altman, who has worked with Natasha Bedingfield, Amy Grant, Eric Paslay, and Frankie Ballard.
“Nora Collins – all I can say is get ready! Real artist, real voice, real attitude with something to say. Loved every minute of working with her and can’t wait for the world to hear what I’ve been hearing.” – Marshall Altman
The MV2 Entertainment artist/songwriter is quickly making a name for herself by penning and performing new-world topics with an old-soul voice that seems effortless, yet emotional and crystalline.
Respected music critic, author, and historian Robert K. Oermann had this to say: “Love her country drawl, as well as the fact that she applies it to such a contemporary song and production. An unmistakable winner…Sign me up for the fan club.”
A quiet converter, Collins’ charm draws you in, and her light-as-air vocal style holds you in place.
“This brilliant, brilliant woman,” wrote Lora Kaelber of OnMilwaukee. “It’s been so long since I’ve walked in to watch an opener expecting one thing and being served up the sweet, delicious, utter opposite of that. Collins, thank you for your incredible artistry. Mark my words, this girl is going places…She was seasoned in the way only someone who’s totally comfortable with her sound can be…This woman’s pipes are a beautiful blend of power, grit and silk.”
Her beyond-her-years stage presence was honed averaging more than 200 appearances a year for the past six years opening for a broad spectrum of performers including Lee Brice, Brandy Clark, Kelsea Ballerini, Jon Pardi, Maren Morris, Ashley Monroe, Josh Tuner, Michael Ray, High Valley, Mo Pitney, Country Music Hall of Famer Ronnie Milsap, and many more.
During a recent performance in which Collins was the opener, Brandy Clark said to the audience, “This is the second time I think I’ve shared the stage with her, and she really is something else – quite the singer. I think you’ll see her name on many, many marquees through her life, a few billboards too maybe, a few awards as well. She’s really, really great.”
Collins’ talent is matched with a tireless work ethic that has her routinely writing with some of the most innovative songwriters in Nashville, including No. 1 tunesmiths Terry McBride and Clay Mills. She composes with a startling level of honesty, whether it’s her girl-power anthem “Who Knows Who,” with its catchy I-can-play-that-game-too attitude; recognizing when love isn’t in the cards with “Guess I Woulda Known by Now”; or the pain of not liking what you see in the mirror, but not losing sight of hope in “Plain Jane.” But she also knows when to have fun with the flirty “Pink Lemonade.”
As a writer, Collins has captured hearts as a recurring participant with the Song Suffragettes, performed in the round at the world-famous Bluebird Café, and even participated in a SESAC social takeover at a Key West writers’ retreat.
The last year had many other highlights. She was a correspondent on the red carpet for “The 51st Annual CMA Awards.” She co-wrote and recorded the on-air theme song for the TV series “Wild Outdoors.” She was chosen to judge auditions for “American Idol” in her hometown of Milwaukee. Country Living spotlighted her “stunning vocals” in several online features, including a “Country Living Coffeehouse” acoustic performance. She won her fourth consecutive Best of Milwaukee Award for Female Vocalist and made her second consecutive performance during Milwaukee’s Best Country radio powerhouse, WMIL-FM 106.1 Class of 2017 sold-out concert event, sharing the stage with Maren Morris, Brett Young, and Tucker Beathard.
In addition to winning the 2016 Best of Milwaukee Award for Female Vocalist, Collins was recognized as Best Female Vocalist and Best Acoustic Musician in 2013-2015. She has received eight Wisconsin Area Music Industry Award nominations, including three wins as the 2014 WAMI Singer/Songwriter of the Year and two consecutive wins as WAMI Rising Star (2012, 2013), in addition to being selected for CMT’s Artist Discovery campaign.
Collins released her first MV2 Entertainment EP in 2016 and followed that up in November 2017 with a holiday EP, It Must Be Christmas. For the release, she challenged her social followers and friends to support charities and causes they believed in over the holidays by donating their time because she said, “Giving comes from the heart, not your wallet.”
Collins did her part by visiting hospitals, shopping for the needy, delivering cookies to first responders, collecting supplies for an animal shelter, donating coats, stuffing backpacks for adopting families, and playing for tips that were donated to the Alzheimer’s Association. She was named WISN-TV’s Person of the Week for her charitable endeavors.
With heart, talent, and the drive to make her dreams a reality, Collins won’t be packing up anytime soon, unless it’s time to hit the road for more touring dates.