10 to Watch: Darrell Harwood

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 2, 2017

Local entertainer and China Grove native Darrell Harwood had quite a year in 2016, and in 2017 he’s one of the Salisbury Post’s 10 to Watch.

Harwood, a China Grove native, is best known for his musical talents. An electrician by trade, he sings country music in a band that’s performed across the region and won accolades too. First, Harwood, 46, won a Carolina Music Award for best male singer of the year. However, he says the biggest honor he received was his hometown — China Grove — proclaiming “Darrell Harwood Day” in 2016. He keeps the award and a resolution from the town on a table in his living room.

Harwood may have been born with musical talent, but he didn’t plan to be a musician. He says his first public performance was at a 2010 fundraiser for his brother-in-law, who had cancer. Afterward, Harwood said his friends suggested they start up a band. They started with about 60 shows per year. Now, they play about 130 shows a year.

The band, Harwood says, is the brainchild of Eric Upton, his friend and band member. It’s grown from a weekend hobby to a weekend job and sometimes more, Harwood said.

“I really would never have thought I would have gotten up in front of people and sang,” he said. “That’s never something that really crossed my mind.”

He’s humble about his success so far, doling out credit to his friends that are also members of his band and family members.

In 2017, Harwood says he hopes to become a signed artist. He’s received some offers, but the one he ultimately accepts has to be the right one, Harwood said.

“The biggest challenge will be finding the right deal,” he said.

He hopes to see the economy improve further in 2017. It would lead to an increase in jobs, but also an improved music industry, he said.

Harwood says he’ll be watching President-elect Donald Trump in 2017 because he’s the country’s new president.

He said it’s an honor to be among the 10 people the Salisbury Post will be watching in 2017.

— Josh Bergeron

Darrell Harwood and band member Eric Upton.  photo by Wayne HInshaw, for the Salisbury Post

Darrell Harwood and band member Eric Upton. photo by Wayne HInshaw, for the Salisbury Post

Name: Darrell Harwood
Age: 46
Address: China Grove
Job: Entertainer and electrician
Where born: China Grove
Favorite book: I don’t really have a favorite book
Who would play you in a movie: Jim Carey
What would you want for your last meal: Spaghetti. That’s my favorite. It would especially have to be homemade spaghetti.
Biggest challenge for year ahead: Becoming a singed artist would be the biggest challenge, but it would have to be the right deal.
Biggest hope for 2017: I would love to see the economy get straightened out for good. I’d like to see more jobs available so more people can go it work. If all that happens, it will help music too.
Who you’ll be watching in 2017: Donald Trump, because he’s going to be the next president and he was the biggest media story in 2016. I would love to watch him make America great again.
Reaction to being named as one to watch: I’m honored. I really think it’s a pretty cool honor for my community to recognize me like that.