Daneka Nation launches his cover career from "Sacred Ground"

Rhett Daneka

Daneka Nation’s musical pedigree starts in Houston in about 2004 when he met a girl who liked to go to karaoke bars.

“After a few weeks of that, I was like, ‘Well, I might as well learn this song and go up.’ I went up there and it’s just amazing what it’s like,” he said.

“Of course, I was horrible.”

But the music bug had bitten, as he says, and it bit hard enough to keep him at it until in 2020 he decided to try for a career singing covers. He has released nine songs so far and accumulated more than 3 million streams.

His latest is “Sacred Ground,” a Kix Brooks song from 1989. Daneka’s version is country rock treatment from it’s original acoustic country. McBride and the Ride’s cover in 1992 reached No. 2 on the country charts. For Daneka Nation, the song has gathered more than 300,000 streams in its first few weeks.

“I think it’s a real special song,” he said, “and it was a freak of nature how it came up.”

He was driving about three months ago, when he heard the 1992 version on the country station he was listening to.

“And I was just like, ‘I got to do this.’ This is the best song and I hadn’t heard it in forever. I don’t know what project we were on then, but we dropped everything and knocked the song out. We sped it up, and we kind of rocked it out, but it’s still a unique song. It can be a rock song if you crank it up, or it can be a country song if you turn it down.”

The story line of the song is a two who marry fresh out of high school, have kids, build a life, but then the wife is tempted and the husband is warning the other man about treading on “sacred ground.”

Daneka Nation works with a musician named Ariel in Argentina, who, he says, plays every instrument. The process is: Daneka tells him what he wants, Ariel “comes up with something, and then we go back and forth three or four or five times, and then we get it right.”

“Whenever he gets done, he sends it to my sound engineer and then we’ll bring in the backup singers and lay out the vocals here in Houston.”

For “Sacred Ground,” Daneka told Ariel, “I want Tommy Lee drums from Motley Crue and George Lynch guitars from Dokken. And he pretty much knocked it out the first time.”

Daneka Nation’s baritone voice is a little rough at the edges and has a Texas flavor. It’s a voice designed for country or rock.

He has sung both, plus a little hip-hop, and it all began with that girl and the karaoke bars 20 years ago.

“I was horrible for a couple of years,” he said. “At a karaoke bar in a Mexican food restaurant, I met an 84-year-old guy that was 90-percent blind. He was a barbershop quartet singer who had been singing since he was 6. We got together and I would drive us to karaoke bars all over Houston. It worked good. He couldn’t drive and I couldn’t sing.”

Johnny, he said, became his mentor and taught him how to sing.

“We’d be driving and I would sing something, and he would say, ‘No, you can’t sing that song,’ or, ‘Yeah, you can sing that.’”

By the time the old man died in 2015, Daneka Nation and Johnny were famous in every karaoke bar in Houston. H first performed the two rap songs he has on Spotify in the bars with Johnny.

“Those songs would absolutely blow up the karaoke bars in Houston,” he said.

“Gin and Juice” is explicit, and he still has that one on Spotify, but it won’t be in his repertoire when he gets his band together and starts performing live.

That is his dream, getting a band together and performing. Ariel, he says, “will be my bass player.”

He is working up the songs he will need for a live show, but his priority right now is promoting “Sacred Ground” and putting out his next single, which will be “Road Less Traveled” by Lauren Alaina. For that one, he has taken out the banjos, replaced them with guitars and turned it rock.

Daneka Nation released a few songs in the 2008 to 2010 period but promoting them was not feasible in the days before streaming platforms were fully developed. For a decade, he gave up on the idea of recording music and putting it out.

“But, somewhere around 2020, I guess it was, I just decided I was gonna make a run at this.”

Now, at age 56, he wants a band and he wants to sing. He is actively working toward that end.

“We need 22 to 24 songs to go live, and I just can’t wait to get to that part,” he said.

Connect to Daneka Nation on all platforms for new music, videos, and social posts, and watch him go.

Published in Smash Magazine, March 1, 2024

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Daneka Nation
Houston, Texas

Email: rhett@danekanation.com
Daneka Nation