The country music world has a new star in the works with Drake Milligan. The young singer-songwriter finished in third place in this year’s season of America’s Got Talent. But he has a lot more than that to celebrate. This week also saw the release of his first full-length studio album, Dallas/Fort Worth.
Milligan is originally from Mansfield, Texas, but the musician moved to Nashville four years ago. In an interview with The Boot, the musician said these 14 songs are the “culmination of a lot of songs I’ve written over my time in Nashville.”
Last year, Milligan released a self-titled debut EP with five songs. The release was adored by critics, but success was slow to form. It wasn’t until the young musician got the chance to audition for America’s Got Talent did things start to take off for him.
“I released the EP last year and we’ve been out on the road. But it’s tough out there, and you need something to break the ice,” Milligan said. “AGT’s been something I’ve been watching since a little kid and I’ve really dreamt about being on that stage. When the opportunity came along to audition, I went, ‘You know what? This is a fantastic opportunity.’ I was able to have my band play and sing with me, and I could perform original songs.”
Milligan compared the chance to perform on AGT to his idols like Elvis Presley performing on The Ed Sullivan Show in the 50s and 60s.
“It was an opportunity for artists to show their stuff to the world back in the day. I see America’s Got Talent the same way. It can change your life overnight,” Milligan said. “Man, this is how we go forward. This is how we break the ice!”
Now that Milligan has broken the ice with American audiences, but because of the show, his label decided to move up the release of his new album to take advantage of his newfound attention.
The Meaning Behind Drake Milligan’s New Album
Dallas/Fort Worth is a concept album co-written entirely by Milligan. It’s meant to show two sides of his background. Dallas, which represents a more polished modern country sound. And Fort Worth, which rings to the genre’s roots in honky-tonk.
“Dallas is such a big city, and it’s always looking toward the future,” Milligan said. “I call it a little more polished on the record. Half of these songs we cut are really kind of like that. I want to be played on radio, I want them a little more polished. There’s maybe a little bit of rock influence in there. It tries to take traditional country and break the mold a bit.”
“And then there’s the other side, Fort Worth, which is stockyards, Billy Bob’s, holding on to its roots and just fine with traditional,” he continued. “That’s a big part of who I am and how I write and approach songwriting. I just really try to hold on to those traditional roots.”
Drake Milligan’s new album is available now.