Derren Raser
Gig Seeker Pro

Derren Raser

St. Louis, Missouri, United States | SELF

St. Louis, Missouri, United States | SELF
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Union Tribune Article"

Union Tribune
September 29, 2005

"There's nothing like the rush that happens on stage."

That's what guitarist-singer-songwriter Derren Raser said when I first met him, in 2003. He had just graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University and his band was playing regular Monday-night gigs at the since-closed Bayou Bar & Grill downtown.

Two years later, that rush hasn't worn off for Raser, now 24. His eclectic band ("some compare us to James Taylor meets Elliott Smith meets blink-182") has played gigs at the Casbah in Middletown, and, beyond that, in Los Angeles and in the Bay Area. The Derren Raser Band has also recorded a self-release album due out this month, "King of I'll Tell You Next Week," co-produced (with Raser) by another PLNU alum, San Diego-area musician Greg Laswell. So, in catching up with the musically busy Raser recently, I wondered: Do you still have a day job?

"I do," he said. "Unfortunately." He's working for a local publishing company "so I can pay my rent and pay off what we spent on our CD."

Yes, the life of the fledgling musician is oh so glamorous, isn't it?

Raser, who majored in philosophy/theology with a minor in music at PLNU and played the trumpet there, knows the road to the big time is a serpentine one, and he's not easily discouraged. "I love to play music," he said. "I'm working hard to make that something I can do for a living."

Along the way, he's already had his share of thrills. While playing an AIDS benefit show in Los Angeles, he got to meet one of his idols, James Taylor. He also met rootsy Seattle singer-songwriter (and Columbia recording artist) Brandi Carlisle, and struck up a professional relationship that will result in his band opening for her at a to-be-announced show in San Diego next month. Raser's band (which also includes Mark Samples on sax, accordion, keyboards and percussion; Daniel Rhine on bass; and Cole Peterson on drums and the cajon, an Afro-Peruvian percussion instrument) has received airplay on FM 94.9 here, and DJ (and fellow musician) Anya Marina is a fan.

Raser, she says, "has a beautiful, clean quality to his voice."

He also has a long memory when it comes to the encouragement he got from not only fellow students, but from his professors in the music department at Point Loma Nazarene. "They were very supportive of me and the music I was playing ... and were interested in seeing me develop not only academically, but in terms of character as well." - Union Tribune

" review"

Andrew Salyer

There is no doubt whatsoever that King of I'll Tell You Next Week is awash in talent. What we're presented with are 13 tracks of intelligently crafted, jazz-tinged pop songs that are undoubtedly impressive when performed live. Even more satisfying is the fact that these songs seem to grow on the listener over time, a feat that most artists today simply lack the subtlety to accomplish.

"Album Review"

Derren Raser Band
Review of "King of I'll Tell You Next Week"
by Craig Yerkes

The King of I'll Tell You Next Week, the debut CD from the Derren Raser Band, was very difficult for me to review. Listening to it was a bit like watching those teenage snowboarders in the Winter Olympics - you see their incredible talents and abilities, but you also get a sense that they are all over the place. But what a ride!

One of my initial thoughts when the first few songs rolled by was, "Holy Jason Mraz, Batman!" due to some of the vocal phrasing and the lyrical style, which reminded me very much of Mraz. Four tracks into the CD I was beginning to think that this disc would stick with the currently ubiquitous "clever, sensitive, young white guy with an acoustic guitar" formula. Not that the first four tracks didn't have some appeal. "Crazy Crazy" is a particularly strong offering. Soon, I got to track five, "Strongest Suit." HUH?? All of a sudden, I am hearing a jazzy, breezy ditty that really shows the substantial crooning abilities of Mr. Raser. After getting my ears perked up, "Streets of London" really got my attention with a beautifully melancholy piano ballad that has the same kind of power to transport the imagination that you'd expect from Ben Folds or Coldplay. Now, we get to the track that just about knocked me out of my chair: "History." This tune made me wonder whether my computer had malfunctioned and somehow come up with a masterful remix blending Simon and Garfunkel with the Shins. This truly stunning track takes an incredible mix of complex melodic and compositional twists and blends them perfectly with a beautifully subtle production style. Going back to the snowboarder analogy, "History" is like the final gold medal run by the athlete who finally puts all the elements together in perfect harmony. The CD actually finishes stronger than it started with a nice mix of ballads, which really showcase Raser's amazing vocals. "Honest Truth" and the title track stand out as instantly appealing and show, again, this artist's versatility by moving from an almost classic torch ballad to a clever, deceptively simple folk song.

In the final analysis, this disc left me wildly entertained, intrigued, and wondering which direction this young talent will decide to focus his impressive talents. The good news is that Derren Raser and his cohorts are able to make great music in any direction they choose and who's to say they ever have to settle in to a more uniform approach? Perhaps the ride is more fun without restraints, after all. - SD Troubadour

"Home In This Direction Album Review"

Written by Frank Kocher

San Diego's Derren Raser has been developing his folk-pop chops for several years, releasing an album with the Derren Raser Band in 2005. Now, the singer/songwriter is back with a solo debut, Home in This Direction.

Raser is a soft-rock ballad specialist whose website describes him as "an old soul in a new age." The new disc definitely affirms this, as his smooth, perfectly expressive pop vocals resonate not only acknowledged influences Paul Simon and James Taylor, but also other ‘70s popsters like Todd Rundgren, Steven Bishop, and David Gates, the voice and pen of radio monsters Bread. While his voice may sound like these guys, his songwriting stands very well on its own, combining lyrical imagery with familiar-sounding hooks.

The sound on the 13 tracks here, with a sharp production job by Chris Hobson, frames Raser and his acoustic guitar with a studio full of session players providing a lush musical cloud to build up, lift, and fill out the songs.
The title tune opens the album with a soft, folk-style song that gets the listener acquainted with Raser's comfortable voice as it goes effortlessly high. "Deliver Me" rocks harder than most tracks here, yet he sounds right at home on the acoustic rocker with a powerful vocal. Another soft, folky ballad follows with pedal steel behind Raser's personal lyrical story, "When Enters Love." Next up, the obvious single, "Warn the World," cranks up the beat and uses a perfect arrangement and infectious melody to show Raser at his best. This track measures up to the kind of songs that separated Rundgren from the pack in the ‘70s, like "Hello, It's Me." It is that good, maybe better.

"Missing the Point" shows that Raser is willing to try something a little different, weaving an unusual time signature, jazzy sounding verse together with soaring chorus in regular time that gives it even greater impact. An obvious tribute to Simon, "Friends and Lovers" is next, and this sounds so similar to Paul's "Something So Right" and "Still Crazy After All These Years" that it is distracting. "Slow Down" is another highlight, as Raser captures a Beatles-in-Revolver-mode vibe, using smooth harmonies and another killer hook. Accordion and keyboards move "Goodbye" forward, a change of pace that helps burn in yet another catchy pop lick. "Fill Me Up" is a good acoustic folk song with a memorable melody and lyrical message, and may be the only arrangement misstep here, as what sounds like a string quartet overdresses the sound and makes it sound in parts like Paul McCartney's "Yesterday." "Out of Luck" has a Radiohead-Coldplay flavor, with a hard guitar chorus and rock keyboards. It works really well as Raser has the pipes to sing just about anything and nail it.

Home in This Direction is a delight. This disc should not only expand Derren Raser's audience but should also get him even more attention as a songwriter on the rise. - The Troubadour

"944 Magazine Article"


By Jake Sibley
November 30, 2005

Derren Raser is not an articulate conversationalist. He speaks in sudden spurts, his words careening out in a rough jumble one moment, slowing to a near stall the next. He interrupts himself often, gets hung up on “you know” or “um,” and then spins off into an entirely different sentence or thought, leaving fragments and half-phrases in his wake. He seems to constantly struggle for the words that will express what he wants to say.

It may come as some surprise, then, that the other three members of the Derren Raser Band unapologetically claim he is the most articulate singer-songwriter they have ever had the pleasure of working with. Mark Samples, the band’s jazz-trained saxophonist, confesses to being “blown away by his clarity of expression.” Daniel Rhine and Cole Petersen, the band’s bassist and percussionist respectively — also experienced jazz musicians — are quick to agree.

Their unfailing belief in Raser’s abilities has kept them following him for more than three years, during which time the band’s unique blend of folk and acoustic rock has emerged as a pleasant new sound in the San Diego music scene. It’s a sound that is at once classic and fresh, hard to classify but easy to listen to. Although the most common comparisons made are to John Mayer and Dave Matthews, these fail to grasp the depth of the band’s roots. Well-schooled music fans will likely recognize a resemblance to the work of James Taylor and Paul Simon, two of Raser’s musical heros.

Taylor, in particular, is an inspiration for Raser. “I’m a big fan. He loves, I think, to write music that is therapeutic for him but also for other people. A lot of his music is looking at life in an honest way, and I really appreciate that.”

Raser has a habit of punctuating his speech with the words “I think,” as if he’s never really completely sure. As it turns out, this quirk is just a symptom of a devotion to sincere expression that runs so deep in Raser, it is inseparable from his personality. Indeed, his sometimes confused and jumbled speech may simply be a consequence of the same; he’s so pre-occupied with expressing what he truly thinks and feels that he winds up second-guessing himself, cutting himself off and stumbling awkwardly, while his mind gropes for the purest possible expression of each thought.

All this changes when he sits down with a guitar. Something about composing music unlocks Raser’s mind and enables him to produce honest, emotive expression that is nearly flawless in its purity.

"It’s amazing to me how done it is when it comes out,” says Samples. “It’s not like a first draft. He’ll say, ‘I wrote a new song; can I play it for you?’ And what you hear is a complete piece of expressive art.” As a result, the band members almost never suggest changes to the songs.
Raser understands that music is the catalyst that frees him to communicate without inhibition. “The way my emotions come out is through musical ideas,” he says. “When I get emotional, my brain hears music. And I sit with my guitar and I write it out. It almost always comes out all at once.”

Petersen, the percussionist, says that “of all the people that I’ve ever played with, Derren is the most comfortable and confident with his emotional expression. Some songwriters write to draw an emotional response from the audience. Derren writes more as an emotional expression regardless of his audience.”

According to Samples, Raser “has found a way through song to express feelings in a way that I’ve never heard anyone else do. He’s articulating it for himself, but it resonates with every other person who’s ever been in that situation. And because the human condition is such that we have similar experiences, it resonates with almost everyone.”

In stark contrast to his shy and unassuming nature, Raser relishes in performing for a live audience. “There is something about the performance that I feel more at home there than I do almost anywhere else. There aren’t many situations where I feel as comfortable or as confident.”

This perfect storm of confidence and honesty often gets Raser in a tight spot. “Derren has a really interesting rapport with the audience,” says Samples, “because he just says whatever comes to his mind. Sometimes it’s borderline inappropriate.”

“A lot of [musicians] will try to be funny in an attempt to connect with the crowd, but you can see through it,” says Petersen. “Derren’s totally different because he’s so honest. Sometimes you can almost be embarrassed for a person when they go on and ramble, but with Derren, it’s so pure that people relate to it.”

Raser’s unbridled sincerity on the microphone once led him to infamously debut a new song about a bad breakup to an audience that included the girl whom the song was written about. “It was a pretty honest and harsh song,” he explains, and then, in a burst of spoken clarity, he describes himself prec - 944 Magazine


It’s rare for an artist to come along whose music entices from the very beginning. But from the moment Derren Raser’s harmonious acoustic guitar strumming and charmingly friendly lyrics hit your eardrums, you’ll be sucked in. With a blend of indie rock and folk pop, Raser pleases the ear with catchy tunes like “Letter Never Sent” and “Crazy Crazy.” Although he isn’t signed with a formal label, Raser’s album, King of I’ll Tell You Next Week, is an instant addiction. - Santa Barbara Independent

"Quote about Derren Raser"

“Derren is just an expert song writer, period. His guitar is an extension of himself and his voice is perfectly flawed and honest. The music is new and familiar all at once. His use of melody and lyrics is inspiring and it seems that every new song he shows me is better than the last” (Greg Laswell – Producer, and Vanguard recording artist).
- Greg Laswell -- Producer and Vanguard Recording Artist

"Marquee Magazine Review"

“This indie release is really good. . . definitely worth checking out!” - Marquee Magazine

"Marquee Magazine Review"

“This indie release is really good. . . definitely worth checking out!” - Marquee Magazine

"Northeast In-Tune Magazine Review"

"In today’s music world, it’s refreshing to hear an artist commit to writing good, quality songs with heart-felt lyrics and moving music. I feel artists like Derren Raser should be given their due. The pop world would do very well to have him." - Northeast In-Tune Magazine

" review"

Raser can write! “Honest Truth” is a stark Leonard Cohen-type confessional, brightened only by Raser’s sweet voice, while “Tender like Arsenic’ has some of Elvis Costello’s sardonic humor thrown in. Raser can sing, also. On “Strongest Suit” he sounds soulful, matching up well to his band’s jazzy riffs, while on “Outgrew” his voice is a perfect narrator for the wistful ode to growing up. The best song is “History” which has the melancholy lyrics and gentle atmospheres of classic Elliott Smith. - (writer - Steve Booth)

"Northeast In-Tune Magazine Review"

"In today’s music world, it’s refreshing to hear an artist commit to writing good, quality songs with heart-felt lyrics and moving music. I feel artists like Derren Raser should be given their due. The pop world would do very well to have him." - Northeast In-Tune Magazine


"Home In This Direction" -- Derren Raser, 2009. (Tracks 1, 3, & 4 have received commercial, college, and internet airplay).

6 Song Live EP -- "Derren Raser, Live in Solana Beach" -- 2008.

3 Song EP 2007 (all three have received commercial radio airplay).

Derren Raser Band "King of I'll Tell You Next Week." 2006. (Tracks 1, 2, 6 have recieved commercial radio airplay).

Single "Letter Never Sent" featured on Chill Out Westcoast compilation 2007. Received commercial radio airplay.

Single "Christmas in November" 2004 played on local radio.

Derren Raser Band "LIVE" -- 2001. Various tracks have received college radio airplay.




**Recently opened for John Mayer & Hanson!

"Nearly every song on the richly composed 'Home In This Direction' attests: Raser is ready" Jason Harper -- Pitch Weekly

"'Home In This Direction' is a magnificent album, man. You done good. In fact, you done great." Frank Gultch Jr. -- Rock & Reprise

"'Home In This Direction' is a delight!" Frank Kocher -- The Troubadour

**WINNER of 2009 Hollywood Music Award -- Best Male Vocal

**NOMINATED for 2009 Hollywood Music In Media Award -- Best Folk

**One of Music Connection Magazine's "Hottest Indie Artists of the Year"

**Award winner at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

**FINALIST -- 2009 Unisong International Songwriting Competition.

**Recently Featured on TLC's new show "Must Love Kids," and on the new compilation "Chillout West Cost."

**NEW Album "Home In This Direction," now available!

An old soul in a new age, Derren Raser stands out from the monotonous fray of popular music. Witty, well-spoken and wise beyond his 20-something years, singer-songwriter Raser will move you with his thoughtful lyrics and haunting melodies. His ballads are old-fashioned folk stories and beautiful tributes to love lost and found.

Combining lively folk-rock and classic singer-songwriter traditions with the hard edge of contemporary pop and rock influences, he has honed a cutting edge sound that is immediately both fresh and familiar. His music has been described as "Simon and Garfunkel meets the Shins.” It is music that sounds equally at home on an old dusty hi-fi or in a sleek new iPod.

Born and raised in suburban Kansas, Derren has undertaken the Southern California music scene and emerged with his wholesome Midwestern sensibilities intact. He employs a thoughtful, sincere approach to songwriting and performing - his dynamic live performances have been described as “emotive expression that is nearly flawless in its purity" (Jake Sibley--944 Magazine). His guitar work is centered on pristine and intelligent arrangements, each note placed to complement the stark clarity of his unmistakable voice. This combination of intention and talent is rarely achieved and is not easily forgotten.

A versatile performer, Derren is at home playing intimate dives and big name venues alike. He is a regular on both the San Diego and Los Angeles music scenes, and is constantly working to bring his unique music to new audiences. People nationwide are taking notice. Recent winner of the Hollywood Music Award for Best Male Vocals, Derren and his music have recently been featured on TLC's new show "Must Love Kids," NPR’s “All Songs Considered,” and have appeared in 944 Magazine, Union Tribune, the Troubadour, Olathe Daily News, and numerous online publications. Derren is currently promoting his self-released album, Home In This Direction, which was been nominated for a Hollywood Music In Media Award.

A unique and abundant talent, Derren will continue to share the stage with greats like John Mayer, Hanson, Sean & Sarah Watkins (Nickel Creek), Hem, Ollabelle, Ben Taylor, Sonya Kitchell, Garrison Starr, Arnold McCuller, Greg Laswell, Richie Cannata and more. Derren Raser is gaining momentum, and you won’t want to miss his rise!