Woods Breaks Into the Music Business


Courtesy photo

Dalais Woods, class of ’20, takes time out from his music for a quick photo.

Dalais Woods’ music has gained attention and airplay. (Courtesy photo)

Recently, Dalais Woods ’20 was driving down a North Carolina road when he got a call from a friend. The friend told Woods to turn on the radio. He scanned the dial until he heard a familiar song: Rejoice ft. Tray Gibbs. He knew every word—even sang along.

The reason Woods knew every word wasn’t because it was a radio favorite of his. The reason is because Woods wrote and recorded the song. The budding musician was hearing himself for the first time on the air waves.

“I started to get emotional,” he said. “I called everyone and told them to tune in.”

Since that time, Woods has been putting more and more time and energy into his music. And it seems to be paying off. The song is gaining airplay on Christian radio stations, he has a management and promotional group pushing his single, and he is logging more performing dates.

“I usually would do 15 live shows a year,” Woods says. “My management team and I are working on a tour schedule.”

Still, he tries to stay grounded about the industry. “Distributing a song doesn’t mean that you’re instantly going to become a big hit,” he says. “It comes with making connections and paid promotions and so much more. There’s going to be a thousand ‘Noes’ before you hear that one ‘Yes.’”

For Woods, however, the “Noes” are undaunting.

“It’s a tough business to get into,” he says. “The main thing (in order) to become very successful in the music business is to make the most connections and to be passionate about your music and to really stay focused on the course of your music.”

One aspect that has allowed Woods to focus on his music, he says, is the education he received at Ferrum. The Graphic Arts graduate credits his coursework with aiding his musical endeavors.

“Ferrum really opened up some doors to prepare me for my career. During my graphic design classes, I loved to design album covers, edit photos and make logos. With that knowledge I can now design my own album covers, edit my own photos, and create a logo for myself.”

Woods also uses those skills in more traditional settings. “Right after I graduated from Ferrum in 2020, I had four clients that I helped with designing their own personal logo for their business and editing photos/videos that were sent to me,” he recalls. “I did this for a year while doing music gigs.”

Jake Smith, Assistant Professor of Art, remembers Woods well from his graphic arts classes. “He never left the building,” Smith says. “If he wasn’t in the lab, he was upstairs (in Vaughan Chapel) playing music. He has an incredible work ethic and is genuinely a fine young man.”

Tom Steele, Director of Academic Outreach and Athletics Initiatives, also worked closely with Woods during his time on campus and echoes those sentiments. “Dalais is an amazing young man,” Steele says. “During his time at Ferrum, he was the keyboard player for the praise team band. He was also the pianist for the ‘Ferrum College Blues Group’, which consisted of faculty, staff, and student members. This guy is a monster on the keys.”

Steele recalls Woods diving heavily into the music—both writing and recording—during his final years at the college. “He has written many gospel/praise songs and is now heavily into his recording,” Steele says. “Dalais was a Dean’s List student who was an outstanding campus citizen. He was also one of the nicest, most humble young men whom I have had the pleasure of knowing.”

Steele also offers high praise for Woods’ current single. “Rejoice is a high-energy song that has a feeling of ’90s pop music with a happy message, tight harmonies, and a sweet groove. I love this song.”

The tune can be found on Apple Music, Spotify, Youtube Music, Amazon, I Heart Radio, and Dezzer. And in March, Woods will release his next single, “Follow”. He is excited about the project and the prospects it could bring.

“This is going to be my biggest working project ever!” Woods says. “(And) if there’s anything I can do to help Ferrum out please let me know. As an alum, I am here to support Ferrum in any way possible. And last but not least, all praises to God for allowing me to continue to serve and share his word!”

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