Up close with Dillon Hodges

Dillon Hodges is a local musician who just lanched his $10,000 Kickstarter campaign for his new album. The album is expected to be released in October or November and will contain his new hit single “Bullet for a Broken Heart” as well as his cover of the Gorillaz’ “Feel Good Inc.”

Dillon Hodges had his first kiss in ninth grade. The girl was a friend he taught to play the mandolin. She didn’t learn very much.

The relationship didn’t last long—she claimed he wasn’t the best kisser. But by the looks of Dillon’s sultry new music video, “Bullet for a Broken Heart,” he doesn’t appear to have that problem anymore.

He hasn’t always been the smooth performer he is now, though.

“I’m really glad YouTube didn’t exist back then,” Hodges said, speaking of the era in which he only wrote songs for girlfriends. “That stuff is staying far away from the Internet.”

Dillon’s singing and songwriting career started when he joined the school choir in ninth grade. When he wasn’t melting 15-year-old girls’ hearts with his rendition of “Why Georgia?” and other John Mayer tunes, he was writing his own love songs.

“It was pretty shallow, honestly,” he said of his early work. “I just wanted people to notice me; I wasn’t good at anything else.”

However untrue the latter part might be, it’s hard to say that Dillon was made to do anything else besides play guitar.

He won his first competition at age 11 only months after picking up a guitar for the first time. From there, he went on to win competitions such as the Junior National Championship in Smithville, Tenn., and ROMP, the Teenage National Championship in Owensburg, Ky.

At age 16, Dillon took home first place at the Winfield National Guitar Championship over guitarists who had been playing for decades.

“I got lucky,” he said.

It must be that same “luck” that made his recent Kickstarter campaign for his new album a huge success.

Dillon and his team set a goal of $10,000 in 30 days—they exceeded this sum by over $1,000 on the Internet alone.

“We wanted to make it tough and immediate,” Hodges said of their fundraising goal. “It encouraged people to donate right then.”

With Kickstarter and other outside donations, Dillon raised close to $15,000 for the record he will begin recording here in Florence this June.

Though the single “Bullet for a Broken Heart” and Dillon’s cover of the Gorillaz’ “Feel Good Inc.” were available on Kickstarter as a prize for donation, the full-length album will be out in October or November of this year.

The new album is assuredly nothing like what he used to write.

“I was writing from personal experience then, which I definitely don’t do anymore,” he said of his songwriting. “I’m not Taylor Swift.

“It’s more like storytelling.”

This is apparent—or hopefully so—in his single, “Bullet for a Broken Heart,” in which he sings from the viewpoint of a murderous man running from the law.

Dillon Hodges has never killed anyone.

“I’m not really a bad-to-the-bone kind of guy; I just like to pretend I am,” he said. “I like to tell stories in my songs. I’m going to keep watching people and writing about them.”