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Meet The Host

Dave McElroy

Dave McElroy

If you want to know who Dave McElroy is at the core, consider the four tenants on which he lives by: Faith, family, respect for hard work and love for music. "That influences my decisions, which influences my life, which influences what I write about. It’s all a huge part of the music," McElroy shares of his strong faith and how music effect every bone in his body. "For me, music has always been like breathing. It's in my ears all the time.”

Growing up in his native Wisconsin and later in Minnesota, music was a dominant part of McElroy’s life. The singer recalls a defining moment at a family gathering when his great uncle put on a Louis Armstrong record. “That's the first time that I felt music really affect me,” he recounts. "I was mesmerized by the sound of his voice. I went over and I sat with him and we listened to it together, and my mom could I see I was fascinated.” From there, music became integral to his identity. Throughout high school, McElroy was as much a four sport star athlete as he was performer, juggling his band and choir duties with playing on the football team, and making history as the only student to play the lead in the school musical his junior and senior year. He brought this passion with him to college where he was part of a local band that developed a cult following. But music was placed on the back burner after graduation, McElroy turning his focus to his wife and job in the corporate world, yet it didn’t take long for the natural singer-songwriter to realize the corporate path wasn’t for him. "What I'm good at is building from scratch and selling companies,” he observes. "If there's a problem, I want to fix it and make everyone work efficiently and better.”

Trading a suit and tie for a hard hat and a hammer, McElroy launched two successful lawn and landscaping companies, one of which became the third largest of its kind in the Twin Cities. Oftentimes, McElroy’s employees would catch him singing on the job (“I didn't even realize I was doing it,” he admits), until one day, he felt an undeniable pull toward music. ”I kept feeling these urges to sing and create, to write and sing, that had been long since gone,” he professes. Needing a firm sign from the Lord and universe that music was his destiny, that confirmation came in the form of a fishing trip in Alaska when the captain of the boat heard him sing and inquired if he’d considered pursuing music professionally. “'I get the message, now you got to tell me what you want me to do with it,’” McElroy affirmed of his belief. “And then crazy things started happening.”

Two weeks after returning home, McElroy was writing songs nonstop and had recorded a pair of demos when he got a serendipitous phone call from a friend who happened to have connections to a concert promoter, who was so impressed after hearing McElroy’s demos that he requested he be in Nashville 48 hours later to meet with accomplished producer Ronnie Jackson (Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, Scotty McCreery, Jo Dee Messina, Rhianna, Blake Shelton and more). Their interaction was nothing short of divine, McElroy and Jackson bonding over their spiritual connection, so much so that Jackson offered to bring the burgeoning singer-songwriter back to Music City to record multiple songs at his studio. During their fateful second session, the two wrote McElroys debut single, “Tangled Up.” “It's about missing the one you love," the singer describes, referencing touring artists and military spouses. "All of these people that have to be separated from the people they love for one reason or another, it’s about that great moment when you see each other again for the first time and your heart is just exploding.”

Fate intervened again when a DJ in Long Island, N.Y. heard “Tangled Up” and played it on his station. It just so happened that another radio employee who works at a syndicated station heard the song while driving across town and immediately called her boss, prompting him to send the track to their syndicated stations across the country. "It's been crazy like that ever since, door after door opened up,” McElroy notes of the song’s success that lead to more gigs, each song doing better than the last. McElroy is now shifting his focus to “Vibin,’” a summer-friendly tune that’s a welcome sense of relief after a year ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic that kept people apart. “‘It feels like it gives all of us permission to live life again,’” McElroy recites of a DJ’s grateful reaction to the upbeat number. “It's a great, super chill summer vibe about hanging out with the one you love and you don't have to do a darn thing. You’re just laying next to each other and that's all that you need, that's all that your heart needs, your soul needs, and the world could not possibly be any better.”

While “Tangled Up” marks his breakthrough and “Vibin’” is his ode to the carefree spirit, “Hands” is the song McElroy bears like a badge of honor. During a tough day at a landscaping job, McElroy and his crew were tearing down a concrete slab when he noticed something unique about his hands. "I bend over to take a breath, and a drop of sweat landed on a scar on my hand,” he says, recalling the time he cut his hand as a teenager while working on the radiator of his first car. Just above it is another scar he received during a pivotal high school football game when McElroy stopped the opposing team’s quarterback from getting a touchdown. "I look at all the other things, my hand calloused and rough, and all the different scars that [have] serious meaning in my life, very momentous moments in my life as a young man working on his first car and game-winning tackle. The story of my life is literally written on my hands,” he narrates. McElroy feels a special connection to the song, as it was his late father’s favorite. "He loved that it was about the way I live my life and that's the way he raised me to work hard. My mom and dad both gave me an incredibly strong work ethic, but my dad taught me to stop and smell the roses too,” he admires. “There's some hidden meaning in the song. It’s emotionally an important song for me.”

It’s this sense of sentimentality and humility that is at the core of McElroy’s being, whether exhibited by the phrase “living life one laugh at a time” that’s printed on the back of his merchandise, to encouraging his children to reach out to their peers sitting alone at school. “Take every opportunity you can to lift people up,” he instills in his children, a motto he doesn’t merely preach, but practices each day. "I love to make people laugh. I think that's the biggest thing. Raising people up either through laughter or other means is what makes me tick. What makes me happy is when you can make someone else happy.”