Blessed with a strong voice, good looks, and a knack for songwriting, Dean Alexander found his star rising in Nashville when, after years of struggle, his single "Live a Little" began making its way up the country charts in the summer of 2014. Dean Alexander hails from the Midwest; he was born in Parkersburg, West Virginia, and spent most of his childhood in nearby Tuppers Plains, Ohio. When he was ten years old, Alexander picked up a copy of the album This Time by Dwight Yoakam; as Alexander puts it, he "freaked out over it," and he soon developed a strong taste for country music. Alexander also cites Chris Isaak, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis as personal favorites, and admits to having a soft spot for vintage surf music, especially the Ventures. By the time he was 12, Alexander had started playing guitar and was writing his first songs. In 2006, Alexander pulled up stakes and moved to Nashville with just $100 in his pocket, working odd jobs by day and playing honky tonks by night. Alexander's big break came unexpectedly when he was working for a landscaping firm; one day, he was shoveling fertilizer onto a customer's lawn when they pointed out that Dean's cowboy boots and white jeans hardly looked like a experienced gardener's work clothes. Alexander admitted that he was an aspiring musician and learned he was at the home of Barbara Orbison, the wife and business manager of the late Roy Orbison; Barbara soon signed Dean to his first publishing deal. A few years later, after Alexander landed a songwriting deal with Stage Three Music, he crossed paths with producer Scott Hendricks. Hendricks recognized Alexander's talent, and with his help Dean scored a recording contract with Elektra Nashville. One of his first releases for the label was the 2012 single "Dangerous," which was used on the short-lived television series GCB, while another single, "Sunshine on my Rain," appeared in the spring of 2013. Alexander began making good on his hard work when "Live a Little," a country tune with a reggae undertow, debuted on the Billboard country charts in late July 2014. ~ Mark Deming
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