When he began performing in front of an audience, country singer-songwriter Daryl Myers was working at Dick Russell’s and honing his skills in the bars surrounding his workplace. After enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps, Myers decided to take the next step. He constructed a makeshift studio in his barracks in Okinawa, Japan, and began recording some of his songs.
The encouragement he received from his fellow Marines and others led him to record a collection of traditional country tracks he called “Solid Gold.” Now Myers is promoting his latest single, “Breaking Point,” which is his love letter to those plagued by depression and PTSD. Lagniappe’s Stephen Centanni contacted Myers and got his insight into this brand new song as well as his upcoming musical tribute to the Marine Corps.
Stephen Centanni: Before that first experience creating music in your barracks, what kind of experience did you have with songwriting?
Daryl Myers: I was in Mobile, and I had this one little two-man show that I actually met at a karaoke bar. So, we put a band together and did a few shows. One of the main things back then was that I was really just partying. That’s one of the reasons that I went into the Marine Corps. I wanted to get away from the bad crowd that I was running around with at the time.
I started writing then and got the singing bug and started getting into one of the bars. I went into a bar in Tillman’s Corner called Norman’s. I think that it’s Lebistro now. On Sunday night, they had these talent shows. I used to work at Dick Russell’s across the street. I used to walk around singing country songs in the kitchen. Somebody I worked with was over there [at Norman’s] said, “Why don’t you get up there and sing with them.” When I got up there, I had my eyes closed and forgot the words to the song. I got a rush from it and got the bug to perform and get serious with songwriting.
Centanni: What did your fellow Marines think when you started setting up your studio in your barracks?
Myers: They were like, “What are you doing? This is kinda weird!” Then they heard me sing, and I started making copies of my music for a few different people. It was burned discs and nothing really fancy. Then they were like, “Let me hear some more.” I really had a lot of support and was surprised at the response at performing at the Officer’s Club and different events. It was great.
Centanni: You performed for veterans and enlisted folks across Japan and in the U.S. What’s it like performing for a crowd of your fellow Marines?
Myers: We all share the same experiences, not just enlisted Marines but also veterans. Probably the biggest show that I did was at 29 Palms for the Fourth the July. There were thousands of people coming and going. Yeah, I’m there, but they’re not just there to support me. I was just happy to be there with them. We were all sharing the experience. I wanted to be able to share a passion of mine with others. Of course, they like me because I’m a fellow Marine, but the fans shared my music with their family and friends. These nonveterans are wanting to share not just the music but also me. They like country music, and they like the stuff that I’m doing now. It’s camaraderie.
Centanni: You released your album “Solid Gold,” and it’s been a while since you’ve released a song. Now you’ve got this new single, “Breaking Point.” What made you want to write this song?
Myers: First, I’ve been getting back into producing and making music. I’ve had a few false starts over the years. I’m not one to make excuses. One of the false starts that I had was that I would start recording something and I wouldn’t be happy with it. It was so frustrating. I would be trying to get this certain sound and it just wouldn’t work. I would put it away and just never go back to it. Working on the road 75 percent of the year, I would come home and try to do it and have to go back out again. I couldn’t get my momentum going. With other stuff that I’ve had going on, I’ve been able to stay in town more. It just seemed like a good time to work on it.
With “Breaking Point,” I wanted to write that for my family and also some of the veterans who are struggling through depression and PTSD. It meant a lot to me, and I wanted to try the best I could to bring it to light. Everybody has those points in their lives, whether it be days or weeks or months or years, where they have a really hard time. I think anybody can relate to it, at a certain point, but thinking about my family and the veterans, I wanted to convey the issue and show others. I hope they will say, “Hey, he’s got it right on. This is how I felt.”
Centanni: If there’s one message that you hope people will get from this song, what would it be?
Myers: I want them to know that they’re not alone. There are others going through the same things that you are. One thing that I’ve heard people say is, “I rather listen to my story than attend your funeral.” That’s why I try to provide people with websites or a phone number to call. They can call me, but if I don’t have the answers, then we can find someone who does.
Centanni: This is a preview of another release coming in November. Could you tell me a little about that?
Myers: My fellow Marines have been so supportive of me over the years. I wanted to try to do a project to honor the Marine Corps and my fellow Marines. “Devil Dogs” is dedicated to the Marines. For people who aren’t Marines, it might provide a little history or background as to who we are and the camaraderie that we share with each other. I’m still working on it, but I’ve set a goal and release date for November 10, which is the Marine Corps’ birthday. I want to present it to my fellow Marines as a thank you, as well as to other people.
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