‘AGT’ contestant Drake Milligan on being known as ‘the brand new Elvis of nation’ and his Texas roots


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Drake Milligan, an aspiring nation artist from Fort Worth, Texas stepped out onto the “America’s Got Talent” stage, in entrance of 4 distinguished judges, a crowd of 1000’s and thousands and thousands watching at residence to point out the world that he was prepared to interrupt into nation music. With his band beside him, he wished to “come out swinging” together with his personal unique track, “Sounds Like Something I’d Do,” and the response he obtained was not one thing that the rising nation artist might have ever predicted. 

Both songs Milligan has carried out on “AGT,” “Sounds Like Something I’d Do” and “Kiss Goodbye All Night,” soared to the highest of the nation charts. He obtained a standing ovation from all 4 judges, Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Sofía Vergara and acquired the remainder of the group on their ft. He made it by way of the auditions to the reside reveals after which was one among two acts who made it into the present’s finale primarily based on fan votes. 

“The response has been such a whirlwind,” Milligan advised Fox News Digital, who has been known as “the new Elvis of country.” 

“I’m just trying to enjoy every moment of it, because it’s all you kind of dream of as a songwriter and entertainer,” he added. 

Even although “AGT” has actually been put Milligan into the limelight, and has been the vessel by way of which he can share his energetic performances which have engaged thousands and thousands, the journey actually started years in the past. For Milligan, it began when he was a child rising up in Texas who was merely fascinated by Elvis Presley. 

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Drake Milligan performed Elvis Presley on the CMT present “Sun Records.”
( Lilly Lawrence/Getty Images)

Milligan had been placing in years of labor previous to his first “AGT” audition to organize for that second. 

He grew up simply exterior of Fort Worth, Texas, in what he described as a rustic family, the place his dad runs a scrapyard, and his mother works as a veterinarian. He grew up listening to basic nation artists like Merle Haggard, George Jones, George Strait and Alan Jackson, however music actually began to have an affect on him after he noticed an Elvis impersonator whereas he was out to eat together with his household. 

After that, he studied the whole lot about Elvis by way of watching films, performances and listening to songs, which finally led to Milligan touchdown the position of Elvis on the CMT show “Sun Records.” 

Through Milligan’s expertise enjoying Elvis, he was launched to Chuck Mead, who was a member of nation band BR5-49, and was in a position to study extra about performing and recording nation music from him. For Milligan, enjoying Elvis in “Sun Records” was actually the purpose the place he knew being a rustic artist was one thing that he wished to pursue. It additionally allowed him to develop his appreciation for the historical past of nation music. 

“Now being a songwriter, I want to learn who wrote all my favorite songs and what went behind the songs, who played on my favorite songs and appreciating the history of country music and music that I love,” Milligan mentioned. 

“AGT” wasn’t the primary competitors present that Milligan entered. He auditioned for “American Idol” in late 2017 however made the tough resolution to again out of the competitors to take time to determine who he was as an artist first and put the work in earlier than he had a platform just like the one these kind of reveals can present. 

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Drake Milligan auditioned for "American Idol" in 2017, but dropped out of the competition to give himself the opportunity to really find himself as an artist.

Drake Milligan auditioned for “American Idol” in 2017, however dropped out of the competitors to present himself the chance to actually discover himself as an artist.
(Alfonso Bresciani/Disney General Entertainment Content by way of Getty Images)

“I had done no work, on being an artist, on finding out who I was, on building a sound. I had done no work on that,” Milligan mentioned. “It was a decision to back out and move to Nashville and put the work in, put the hours in. I hadn’t put the hours in yet. It was writing every day, it was being in a studio, it was working on my voice. To go on a platform like that, I wanted to just totally know who I am and be able to stick to my guns and be prepared to showcase who I am to the world.” 

Upon his transfer to Nashville, one of many first connections he made was a strong one. He shortly related with Tony Brown, who would go on to provide Milligan’s EP and his debut album. Brown has produced a number of artist’s information together with Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Brooks & Dunn and even labored with Elvis. 

Another massive a part of Milligan’s act are the individuals who carry out alongside him. He discovered his band after his transfer to Nashville. His band initiatives the identical vitality Milligan does and collectively, they can create a charming efficiency that is stuffed with vitality and a singular sound. 

“These guys are great. They’re great people, first of all,” Milligan mentioned about his band. “They’re really selfless guys and great people to be around and they’re fantastic musicians.”

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Drake Milligan made it all the way to the "AGT" finale with his band. 

Drake Milligan made all of it the best way to the “AGT” finale together with his band. 
(Trae Patton/NBC by way of Getty Images)

Milligan additionally talked in regards to the impression his band has had on his “AGT” journey. 

“Having them on ‘AGT’ has been absolutely huge. It has been a huge part, I think of our success on AGT… because of the energy that they bring and the kind of excitement they bring to it and their playability and everything is, I think a huge part of the response that we’ve gotten from “America’s Got Talent.” 

Even though a few years ago, Milligan felt he wasn’t quite ready for a platform, all the work he has poured into his country music career came to light during his “AGT” performance. Milligan discussed the difficulty of getting your name out there when trying to make it as an artist and felt this show was a great opportunity to “get in entrance of thousands and thousands of individuals.” 

“I discussed in my audition to Simon that again within the day, Elvis and The Beatles had ‘The Ed Sullivan Show.’ That was their massive break, it was a manner for them, for all of America to get to see them directly and I believe ‘AGT’ is alongside the identical traces of that, of ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ to the place it’s a present that may change your life ceaselessly as a result of there’s so many individuals that watch it,” Milligan said. 

According to Milligan, when he performs, he doesn’t just sing the song, but also moves around the stage, dances on his own and with members of his band, adding another unique element to his style. 

Being “entrenched in Elvis’ music and his performing” for so many years allowed for pieces of Elvis’ style to “rub off” and “turn into a component” of Milligan. 

Drake Milligan played his original songs "Sounds Like Something I'd Do" and "Kiss Goodbye All Night" during the first two rounds of "AGT." 

Drake Milligan performed his unique songs “Sounds Like Something I’d Do” and “Kiss Goodbye All Night” throughout the first two rounds of “AGT.” 
(Trae Patton/NBC by way of Getty Images)

“Elvis had so many great moves, but it was incorporating that in my own way,” Milligan mentioned. “You can play music, you sing it on a record…but when you’re on a show like ‘AGT,’ you want to show your music to people, you don’t want to just sing it to them. If there’s a little drum fill or there’s a little guitar part, listening to it is great but really being a part of it and watching it…I try to just be a vessel for the music and try to show people the music.”

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After his performances on “AGT” Milligan’s world was turned the wrong way up, and he described the time after his auditions as “a whirlwind.” He launched his 5 track EP in July 2021 and has been on the street performing as a lot as he can, however what has occurred since acting on “AGT” has been not like something he has skilled to date in his profession. 

“The crowd there at ‘AGT’ has been wonderful and so responsive and then on top of that, the people at home watching and sending my music to the top of the charts,” Milligan mentioned. “People are showing up to shows and they’re packing it out. They’re singing along to all the songs.” 

Another significant response to Milligan’s music is that he’s not solely drawing in nation music followers, but additionally has discovered that lots of new individuals who would not essentially think about themselves nation followers are listening to his music, watching him carry out and have gotten followers of the style.

“A lot of the responses I’ve gotten from ‘America’s Got Talent’ is ‘I’m not a country music fan, but I love your performances and your voice and I’m a country music fan now’ which I think is amazing,” Milligan mentioned. “As somebody who just so passionately loves country music, to be able to bring people in the genre has been a really special thing.”

Drake Milligan is releasing his debut album, "Dallas/Fort Worth" on September 15. 

Drake Milligan is releasing his debut album, “Dallas/Fort Worth” on September 15. 
(Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)

On the street forward for Milligan is his last “AGT” efficiency throughout the present’s finale subsequent month and the discharge of his debut album. As far as his last “AGT” efficiency goes, Milligan plans on “raising the bar” even larger than he did within the reside rounds. 

“I just want to bring it to the next level, whatever that is, and maybe show them a new side of me, maybe show them a new song, and just keep on raising the bar,” Milligan mentioned. 

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Milligan additionally has a debut album on the best way, “Dallas/Fort Worth,” popping out September 15. The title pays homage to Milligan’s roots in Texas which he mentioned is a “huge part of my identity and who I am,” but additionally describes the contrasting music that’s on the album, with one half being very “polished and radio friendly” whereas the opposite is extra “honky tonk” and “eclectic.” 

Beyond the discharge of his album in September, Milligan desires to maintain showcasing extra music to the world and play his songs for as many individuals as doable. 

“I just want to keep staying true to myself and making music that I think people want to hear and people need to hear and telling stories,” Milligan defined. “Country music has been such a big part of my life, it helps me get through tough times or it’s just a great way to have fun on a Saturday night. It’s such a big part of my life and I just want to hopefully be a part of people’s lives too and keep making music that people can use in their life.”

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