On the heels of opening for country music staples Randy Houser and Jerrod Niemann in 2013, Zach DuBois is starting to make heads turn in the country music industry. DuBois may come off simply as a fun-loving and carefree country rocker, but beneath his infectious smile lies an angst-filled story teller with the stark self-awareness of a great folk writer. Whether playing an acoustic set, armed with just his guitar and voice, or rocking with his full band, DuBois shares his lessons of life, love, and the pursuit of happiness with anyone who will listen.
His debut album, "Destination Unknown," is a collection of songs (all written by DuBois) touching on themes of love, heartbreak, college, partying, and life on the road; truly representative of where DuBois currently is, both musically and personally. The album was completely fan-funded through a campaign on PledgeMusic. The campaign wrapped up in the summer of 2012, and not long after, DuBois hit the studio to begin recording the album.
The title track, "Destination Unknown," is a commentary on the uncertainty that results from choosing the life of a touring singer/songwriter. As a pre-med and psychology major at the University of Notre Dame, there were many different avenues which DuBois could have pursued, but at the end of the day, he decided to pursue his true passion: music. As he explains, “I could have been a teacher, or went to grad school or med school, but I decided to pour all my energies into being a full-time, touring singer/songwriter. My goal is to sustain a long career doing this, but if I’m unable to do so, it won’t matter: I will still be a songwriter, even if it’s not my full-time job. Whether I like it or not, I am a songwriter, that’s just who I am. It’s kind of a blessing and a curse; I have to write. If I didn’t write I would be miserable.”
DuBois discovered his musical passion as the result of a back injury before football season of his senior year in high school. Never one to feel sorry for himself, the sidelined quarterback decided to turn the potentially negative situation into a positive. So, stuck at home, unable to participate in two-a-day practices, DuBois picked up his dad’s old guitar and taught himself how to play. He’s been playing guitar and writing songs ever since.
Born and raised in the heart of the Midwest by a family of teachers, DuBois finds much of his songwriting inspiration from his small town, middle-class roots. He grew up on the opposite end of a cornfield from his grandparents, and he credits his tight-knit family and the strong faith instilled in him as essential cornerstones to the foundation of his music and his life.
DuBois encompasses the very essence of an independent artist; he takes on the role of manager, booking agent, and publicist, in addition to writing and performing. "The key to long-term success," says DuBois, "is being able to walk the line between art and business." Since graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 2011, he has been on the road full-time as a touring singer/songwriter, cutting his teeth in bars and clubs around the country playing his music for, as he puts it, “anyone who will listen.” He explains, “As an up-and-coming artist, every night is different. One night I could be playing to a crowd of several thousand, and the next night I could be playing to a crowd of several dozen. You learn to enjoy and savor the good nights, and how to survive the not-so-good nights...At the end of the day, though, you realize, ‘Hey, I’m making a living traveling around and playing my music for people. This ain’t such a bad gig.’”
“Zach is a young musician who could possibly mark the return of the singer/songwriter to country music, by boldly stepping well outside of it’s current boundaries and back into it’s angst-filled story telling past. A past with an “outlaw” rock and roll edge dangerously combined with the stark self awareness of a great folk writer. A past, and also a future, teeming with the consciousness and struggle of the intelligent working American. Zach is well on his way to developing a quintessential country voice, a little “Haggard”, a little “Jennings” crossed with the soul wrenching power and emotion of “Springsteen”...His live show, like all the greats, is the only way to truly experience this new voice in American music.” - Shannon Stewart of Stewart Independent Production, LLC