When you are only seven years old and already know what you want to do in life because you just saw Alan Jackson in concert and he literally rocked your world, well a path to Nashville and country music is pretty much the only route
you can take. At least that’s the way it was for David Kroll -- Alan Jackson and a plastic guitar.
"My first concert ever was Alan Jackson in my hometown of Burlington, Iowa when I was about seven years old,” Kroll said. “I still remember watching him and wanting to be up there on that stage so bad. I walked around the house the following week with my plastic guitar singing 'Don't Rock The JUICE Box. That's what my little ears heard anyway."
Juice box or jukebox—it didn’t really matter for Kroll had been bitten by the bug. He quickly convinced his parents to get him both piano and guitar lessons. His love of country music continued and he added George Strait and Tim McGraw to his ever-growing list of country music artists who inspired him. The next step for the then 15 year old was to put his training to the test. He formed a band and for the next six years spent his weekends playing at local bars and countless fairs in Iowa and western Illinois, developing a sturdy and impressive fan base along the way. He also found his sea legs when it came to adding energy to his live shows that gelled well with the country music he so loved.
“I went to high school and mowed lawns during the week and on the weekends I was singing and playing in bars with other musicians who were in their 40’s. I learned a LOT from those guys!”
Kroll never removed his eye from what he saw as his prize: living in Nashville and furthering his craft as not only a performer, but songwriter as well. His diligence and numerous trips back and forth between Burlington and Nashville opened a number of doors for him in Music City and soon he had the opportunity to open shows for some of country music’s biggest acts, including Chris Young, Eric Church, Montgomery Gentry, Darryl Worley and more.
A chance meeting with Grammy nominated songwriter and performer Billy Yates led to Kroll’s first publishing deal, and paved the way for a permanent move to Nashville. He hasn’t wasted the opportunity. While live performances are still his favorite part of music – think back to that little boy who decided then and there he too was going to be a country music star – he is definitely putting in his time to become a better writer.
“Being able to write a song drawn from my life or my imagination, and then perform it for music fans is just the ultimate experience for me,” Kroll said.
Kroll found an unlikely fan in an unexpected place when he was recently asked to audition for the television show The X-Factor. At his X-Factor audition, Kroll was told by a production assistant that he could not perform his original song, adding he would have to choose a song from his list of backups. These included Collin Raye's “Love, Me;” John Michael Montgomery's “I Love The Way You Love Me” and Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me.” As he was standing on the stage with no time to panic, David took a few deep breaths and walked out on the stage to stand before the show’s judges, L.A. Reid, Demi Lovato, Britney Spears and the man who inspires fear with a mere glance, Simon Cowell. Cowell asked Kroll why, if he was a songwriter, he chose to perform covers for his audition. Kroll answered honestly: “I wanted to do my song Simon, but they told me I couldn’t.” In front of this formidable panel of judges and an auditorium full of people, Cowell commanded that Kroll should sing one of his own songs. Unflustered, the singer delivered one of his most popular songs in concert, “Little Soldiers.” And he had to do it a cappella. That performance landed him a standing ovation, and more amazingly, a smile from Cowell and yeses from all four judges.
Following the performance, Cowelll said, “David, we have shows like this to find someone just like you.”
While Kroll then took the next step to being a contestant on the fall 2012 series, he did not make the final cut. But that’s ok with him. He is still living his dream.
“I always dreamed of living in Nashville and being a part of the music business. I still have to pinch myself sometimes when I’m sitting in my office on Music Row writing a song or recording one of my songs in the studio. Sometimes I still feel like that seven-year-old kid wanting to jump on stage with Alan Jackson. Heck, I still want to jump on stage with him!”