Dave Hartney Talks Songwriting, Country Music Stereotypes And His “Everything Girl”

By: Kat Harlton

For those unaware, Dave Hartney has been on the rise in the Canadian Country music scene the past few years. He’s played some of BC’s largest music festivals, and has shared a stage with some of the biggest names in country music. His first single Party Lights gained national airplay across country radio, and was added to many summer playlists. Now, Hartney’s back with his new single Everything Girl, a track inspired by the women in our lives that manage to do everything and make it look so easy.

As a woman, I was excited to talk with him about the inspiration behind the track, the consideration that went into it and whether or not the movements of the past couple of years have influenced him. Hartney shares that his goal was to create something with a little more substance, “I wanted to write a song that was a little bit deeper and that was respectful on that level. I like stuff that is a little more mature than maybe ‘she’s in a skirt and we’re in a truck’. I think guys have been getting the message, and I’m not afraid to say something that might ruffle some feathers, if it’s the truth and I believe it.”

Something else Hartney believes in is his songwriting skills, and he had to fight to keep the song’s most popular line, ‘You’re my favorite mixtape, Guns N’ Roses meets Kacey Musgraves‘, “The Kacey Musgraves line is my idea, that’s the one I wanted. A prominent member of my team, did not like it. It ended up being the line of the song that everyone remembers and that everyone likes, and I figured it was going to be that way. He didn’t want me to say Kacey Musgraves because he felt like maybe radio wasn’t feeling her at the time. I mean one, she rhymed, it fit in perfectly and it wasn’t like I had a ton of options. Two, I’m a big fan of hers and just as coincidence or luck would have it, in the last few weeks she’s really been having a moment in the spotlight. I’m proud that I stuck to my line. At the end of the day if you’re pandering to try to get your song out there, even if it works, then fans are not going to care about it for more than a minute. Chances are you’ll lose anything that made you memorable.”

As we continue to talk songwriting, and start to wrap up, I ask if he finds it hard to try and re-invent the ‘guy meets girl’ love story stereotype. “Everyone cares about their relationships. People are always thinking about if they’re in a great relationship, or their preoccupied about getting into one, or dating. I heard once the way to write a hit song is to come up with a new way to say ‘I love you’ that hasn’t been done. Everyone always jokes about writing songs about trucks too, but there are actually some really good ones. I once got pitched a really great song called New Truck Feel and basically the idea of the song is, that the truck is a beat-up, rusted up old truck until the girl comes along, and then it’s like a brand new truck. He’s got the ‘new truck’ feel. I think it really comes down to how much you want to emphasize love or the relationship in the song.”

Knowing that many rising artists often feel pressure and struggle to create a song both authentic and radio friendly, I ask about how he maintains the balance, “I’m going out asking radio to play the song, and so knowing that, there are certain time constraints and choruses that I feel might make something more memorable, but I try not to worry much pass that. You need to put out something that you want, and that you believe in. You can’t just put out stuff that is going to be safe, or that you think other people will like. I feel like making songs more safe for radio isn’t going to help my chances.”

For more on Dave Hartney please visit: https://www.davehartney.com

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