615 Spotlight: David Fanning Drops Justin Timberlake-Penned First Single

David Fanning

David Fanning

There's a very good reason if David Fanning's debut single, "Drink You Away," sounds familiar: The song was written and originally recorded by superstar Justin Timberlake for his "The 20/20 Experience - 2 of 2" album.

"It's the craziest thing to think that the biggest pop star in the world right now even knows my name," says the Red Bow artist. "That's very cool. It's also amazing to know that someone who is as big as that is as humble to let someone who is new like me record it. I think you learn so much about Justin from him letting me do this. Anyone could have done the song from Eric Church to Luke Bryan. So for him to give his blessing on it was really cool."

Though the single was just officially released to radio last week, the track has already made quite a bit of impact. "It kind of leaped out there through SiriusXM, and spoke for itself in sales. It seemed that the ratio of how many times it was getting played as opposed to how it was selling was a no-brainer. There's a passion for this song that when people hear it, they buy it. Hopefully, they keep doing that. It seems to have a life of its' own, and we haven't really started it yet. Hopefully, a few months from now, we'll see what it can do."

Fanning told The 615 that cutting the track was an unusually quick process. "On 'Drink You Away,' we actually went against the grain. I had it done so quickly, we didn't really have time to overproduce it. We had a timeline of a couple of days. Usually, we go in there and pick everything apart and hone in on certain things, but this kind of came out naturally. It was a different approach to recording than what I was used to."

Fanning -- part of New Voice, the hit-making team that has produced for Thompson Square among others -- says there are some differences between approaching a session as a recording artist as opposed to a producer. 

"In one way, there's a lot more pressure, and in other ways, I feel a little more calm because with the label, I get to help make the decisions. When you produce something, you just make the music, and it's up to everybody else to do it all. With this, I feel I get to help make the decisions – not all the time, but it feels like I have a little more control."

The Ardmore, Alabama native says that despite his success as a producer, he's always wanted to be on the stage.  "I've always wanted to be an artist. That's been my goal for as long as I can remember. I've got a video of me on stage in front of a couple of thousand people singing 'Jesus Loves Me'  at two and a half years old. I've grown up singing and performing, and having an opportunity to produce came along at a good time."

Making the transition from one side of the glass to the other was rather natural, says Fanning. "The cool thing with New Voice is there's four of us, so there's a balance. I've let them take the reins with my project, which is how we've always worked. Since there's four of us, you can battle it out and see where it goes. So, there's a kind of tug of war when we produce something, so it's the same thing with my project."