Singer-songwriter Derick Howard’s first audience was his junior-year English class at Columbus East High School in 1999. His teacher allowed him to bring to life a poem he had written for the course.
But forget the idea that he was trying to impress or get a girl.
“No. I began playing the guitar just because I loved music.”
Over the years, the 31-year-old performer made a name for himself in Columbus nightspots.
These days he’s sometimes tough to catch in town, given that a lot of weekends take him to Indianapolis or Madison or Louisville, Ky. That includes a show at 10 p.m. today at the Mellow Mushroom in the River City’s St. Matthews’ area. In the past few years, the artist known for original and cover tunes has performed in locales as far-flung as Miami.
“I have a strong sense of perseverance,” he said.
And he has a strong musical mix “from folk to funk,” as he puts it at his website, derickhoward.com. He also performs with the trio Howard, Lewis & Lovins, which can be found hllmusic.com. He will appear with them at 10 p.m. March 1 at The Mousetrap, 5565 N. Keystone Ave.
You construct a lot of your tunes live by recording various sounds with a loop and then meshing them with your guitar playing. What’s the reaction?
A lot of people who see me for the first time, and if they’re not paying close attention, think I’m playing and singing to a backing track. Then, after I tell them what I’m doing, they ask, ‘Why would you ever need a band when you can do all of that by yourself?’
But with a band (like the trio), it’s much easier to get people up and dancing.
How have you remained a full-time musician in such tough economic times?
I really have to stay on top of it (marketing and booking). I might have a month worth of shows booked and then I get so busy playing that I nearly forget that I’ve got to take time to book the next month’s shows.
Who are you listening to these days?
A New Age, reggae-style band called Soja, and a reggae dub band (as in dubbed-in, remixed sounds), Slightly Stupid.
What do you want to be doing in 10 years?
That’s the big question I’m asking myself right now. I’ve met pretty much all of the goals I set for myself 10 years ago. But I’d like to begin regularly playing some of the national festivals (that draw thousands of people).
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