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Exclusive Interview with Rising Pop Artist, Derek Sallmann

Derek Sallmann was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and began writing and performing at an early age, playing around on his father’s guitar and experimenting with songwriting. He’s performed over 300 shows and already has a multitude of accolades under his belt including being named the Shepherd Express 2017 “Best of Milwaukee” winner for “Best Acoustic Musician” and a Wisconsin Area Music Industry nomination for “Best New Artist” in 2016. He spent much of 2018 writing and recording songs with 
with producer Bill Lefler (Ingrid Michaelson, Cary Brothers, Joshua Radin) and co-writers Kyler England and Garrison Starr on the EP, “Love, Future You”.

The first single, “Love, Future You” is a love letter from your future self, reminding you that everything is going to be okay. It’s reminiscent of Snow Patrol and Shawn Mendes with an infectious chorus and harmonic vocals. This first single and EP is the perfect introduction to a rising pop artist that will remain unforgettable to his listeners. I got the chance to catch up with this rising pop sensation to talk all things music;

Love, Future You (Cover Art).jpg
Love, Future You (Cover Art)

How did your musical journey begin? Was their anyone in particular that inspired you to be a musician?

My musical journey started when I was a kid and I would listen to my dad’s band practices in our basement. He was definitely my biggest inspiration and taught me how to play guitar when I was 13 and I immediately fell in love with it. Soon after I started writing and recorded my first album in 2016.

You grew up in Wisconsin, how did the music scene their influence your music today?

I definitely think my first album I released in 2016 called “All Seasons” was more “Wisconsin-influenced” than the new EP. That album was more acoustic-based folk/pop that lends it to be a little bit more “Wisconsin” than the new EP. Although on the new EP, the song “T-Shirt Weather” was inspired by the Wisconsin weather and my love of spring, and that one features acoustic guitar. I would say that’s a very Wisconsin song.

When working on a new song, where do you generally derive your stories from?

I would say 99% of the time it’s from personal experience. I occasionally write or co-write a song from another perspective, but they say “write what you know” and I know myself and my perspective better than anyone else’s so that’s where I tend to draw my inspiration from.

Let’s talk about your new single “Breakdown, Breakthrough”, What’s the story behind this song?

“Breakdown, Breakthrough” was the second song I wrote with my friend Garrison Starr. We ended up talking about how being a musician is a lot of ups and downs and how important it is to persevere when life gets difficult. She mentioned something like “You know what they say, you break down, you break through.” We both latched on to that idea and encapsulated it into this simple but honest song about pushing forward when you want to give up.

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You also have an EP “Love, Future You” releasing December 14th, what can your fans expect from it?

They can expect 5 fully-produced pop songs that are bound to make you think and get stuck in your head. They can also pre-save and pre-order the EP here:

Who did you work with on the EP?

4 out of 5 songs were produced by Bill Lefler (Ingrid Michaelson, Joshua Radin, Dashboard Confessional). The other song, “Feels Like Home” was produced by “The Highfields”, an indie duo based out of California. I wrote “Sunup to Sundown” and “Love, Future You” (Single) with Kyler England, “Breakdown, Breakthrough” with Garrison Starr, and the other 3 songs I wrote myself.

You explore a lot of self love on the EP, is that something you have a strong avocation for?

I think so. I tend to be a very introspective person and I went through this really brutal breakup at the start of the year and it left me with a lot of things to deal with, and a lot of time to think about everything. I had just graduated from college the previous year and I was used to seeing my friends everyday and that transition from being out of school and that breakup led me to look inside myself and write a lot of the songs on the EP. I think it’s really easy to be hard on yourself. There’s so much pressure to compete with everyone else all the time and it’s definitely important to remember that everyone is on their own path and you can give yourself a break every once in a while.

Any plans for a tour?

At this point I’m planning on playing a lot in Wisconsin, but I’d definitely like to expand to other states, and also do more work with a full band. As of right now, 99% of my shows are solo acoustic shows in Wisconsin.

What’s the ultimate goal you hope to achieve as a musician?

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I’d love to win a Grammy someday. I think for most musicians that’s one of the biggest dreams. Rich Jacques, who’s another LA producer, is friends with Bill and he won a Grammy and I got to see it and pick it up. It was a really cool experience. Although, I think if I’m able to continue to express myself and influence others in a positive way, I’ll be happy.

What’s planned next for Derek Sallmann?

After the EP release I’m gearing up for a lot of shows in 2019 and I’m constantly writing and working on new music. Hopefully another album will be in the works too, and I can continue what I’ve been doing, but on a much larger scale.



Twitter: @DerekSallmann

IG: @dereksallmann

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