By Kelsey Sunderland | Tampa Bay Times
Plant City native Daniel Sprouse rocked a captive Monday afternoon crowd with some country tunes at last year’s Novemberfest. This year he returns with a full band, a prime time slot and big dreams.
Athletic, intelligent and musically inclined, it’s not a surprise that he seems to be easing toward his dream of making a name for himself in Nashville. Sprouse will display all of those attributes when he takes the Novemberfest stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, at Nativity Catholic School, in Brandon.
A homegrown son of a strawberry-farmer, Sprouse grew up in a musical house led by his father, who, in the late ’80s lived in Los Angeles and pursued a music career among hair metal bands.
After Sprouse’s interest in music sparked him to play violin and jazz guitar in middle school, his parents bought his first guitar when he was 13.
“Every now and then he would ask me to show him something specific,” Sprouse’s father, Mark, said. “But over the years it’s just been that he’s been around me and other musicians so much that he just learned from being around us and absorbing what we were doing.”
During his time at Tampa Bay Tech, Sprouse perfected his pitching as part of the baseball team, but his focus shifted around his 18th birthday, when his father invited Srouse to join him at an open mic night at O’Brien’s Irish Pub, in Plant City.
“When I started playing guitar at first I was just kind of doing it for fun here and there, but then I started going to open mic nights with my dad,” Sprouse said. “I’d play and people just kept telling me, ‘Hey man you need to keep doing this.’ So that’s when I really started pushing and taking it serious.”
Last year, he traveled to Nashville for six weeks to immerse himself in the singer/songwriter culture of the “music city.”
“It took me two weeks to get hired in any of the bars down there but once I got hired I was able to play, and I ended up playing in almost half the bars in downtown Broadway,” Sprouse said. “It was the coolest thing to be able to wake up every day and just go play music even during the week for awesome crowds.”
After returning to Plant City, he was given a last minute invitation to play at Novmberfest as a solo act, which he was happy to participate in. Event coordinators and crowds loved him so much, they invited him back to play. This time he’ll be on at 7:30 on Saturday night, with his full band in tow.
Sprouse is currently majoring in criminology at the University of South Florida and plans to finish his education before making the move to Nashville to focus on his music full time.
With a single under his belt titled “Too Many Miles Away,” Sprouse is slowly gaining the resources to continue working with Curb Record producers.
“That’s where a lot of people get noticed and discovered,” Sprouse said. “So I’ll keep writing songs and keep recording songs whenever I have the money, and hopefully I’ll be around the right people and put myself in a position to get noticed.”
For now he is representing his hometown and making his family proud.
“He’s always been musically talented, and he’s really smart and genuinely a very nice young man,” Sprouse said. “I really think he’s got everything it takes. He’s got the look and he’s got the sound and he’s very personable.
“But of course I’m his dad, so I’d probably say that anyway.”
IF YOU GO
46th annual Novemberfest
WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 18, to Sunday, Nov. 22
WHERE: Nativity Catholic School, 705 E. Brandon Blvd.,
Thursday, Nov. 19
Southern Train Band: 7:15 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 20
Soul Circus Cowboys: 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 21
Daniel Sprouse Band: 7:30 p.m.
John Rhey Band: 9 p.m.
Contact Kelsey Sunderland at firstname.lastname@example.org.