Share & Connect
During my travels, I often run into the most interesting and inspiring people. Sometimes it’s on the street, sometimes on the flight to where ever my life is taking me. This November, I was off to the Green Brier resort, and in for a Toonari interview treat! As I settle into my airplane seat and prepare for takeoff, I start to do what everyone does.
I pray that the five-ton man who hasn’t showered in a week doesn’t find a seat next to mine. As Dan Mileti from Hendersinville TN, smiles and plops down beside me, I am relieved, and in for an amazing Toonarian flight! Dan Mileti and Randy Gibson are from Ohio and Texas, and met while doing the Nashville songwriters circuit.
They formed a band, and have had the opportunity to open for Emmy Lou Harris, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Michael Murphy, and more. Dan knew he wanted to be in entertainment from a very young age. Dan plays the air drums as he begins his musical bio.
“I grew up listening to rock and roll groups. In high school, I was the lead singer in a band! My dad never supported me much; he wasn’t that into music. For Christmas, someone bought him a guitar. He just looked at it and set it aside. I was like, that guitar is mine! From that point on, there was no stopping me.”
Mileti switches to air guitar as he continues. After high school, Mileti went to Ohio State University to study music theory and composition. Meleti had big dreams to move to Nashville but soon realized he would have to do more than learn to play, he would have to be able to write the lyrics as well.
“There are two types of music listeners: the kind that listen to the music and the kind that listen to the lyrics. To me, it’s not the music, it’s the lyrics! Words are what make a great song. I needed to be able to write lyrics everyone could relate to.” Meleti had a lot to learn, but the drive to do it. “Growing up I would aspire to people that were better than me, even if that person was considered a nerd. If they played like a cool cat I wanted to be as good.”
After Meleti moved to Nashville, he found a mentor in Randy Gibson. “It’s really an enigma. We inspire each other. I love our producer Kevin Wicker too. You really need someone who gets you and your music you know? Bobby Hicks was another one. He used to be this amazing man, the white haired guy that drives around in the convertible.
He wrote hit songs for Loretta Lynn. I treated him like a grandfather, so it was really hard when he passed, but we still have music.” When asked what it was that drove him towards the music business, Dan replied, “It’s the thrill of everything! There’s nothing like making people smile, people loving what you’re doing.”
Since the start of his career, Dan has been the house band for the Titans, filmed out of Planet Hollywood. “Walking down the red carpet, my friend Titus pulls me aside and says, I can’t believe you got this gig. I was like, you just stay behind the velvet rope, Titus. We got to meet all the players, and hang out in the greenroom. It was a hoot!”
When asked where he sees himself in ten years, Meleti says he plans to stay in the business and come out with lots of hits. “I wake up every morning with ideas. Everything’s an idea. I’ll be writing songs till I die.” As our plane begins to descend through the clouds, I ask Dan if he has any advice for young musicians. “Don’t be afraid to rewrite.
So many young people are concerned with volume, not quality. A true musician cares, and will take the time to make the songs mean something to others.”
Image Courtesy of http://www.myspace.com/gibsonandmiletiwiththeschmoozers