‘Gladiator’ on doorsteps of country music

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 7/21/21

JACKSONVILLE - Former Clay High baseball standout Dakota Higdon has journeyed a short path through life and has landed on the doorstep of a possible Nashville country singing career.

“I finished …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for subscribing.

Single day pass

You also have the option of purchasing 24 hours of access, for $1.00. Click here to purchase a single day pass.

‘Gladiator’ on doorsteps of country music

Posted

JACKSONVILLE - Former Clay High baseball standout Dakota Higdon has journeyed a short path through life and has landed on the doorstep of a possible Nashville country singing career.

“I finished college, was working some underground utilities stuff and woke up one morning thinking music is what I loved to do and this is what I want to do,” said Higdon, informerly known by many baseball fans of the Blue Devils as “The Gladiator” for a Clay Today photo in his junior year (see insert). “I drove six hours to Nashville (from Virginia) and played in front of some pretty popular people and now they are putting me where I am.”

Higdon, a 2012 graduate of Clay High, had stints of college baseball at Lake Sumter Community College, then University of North Florida, both able to see his scary batting prowess up close before moving north to work underground cables.

“I had a pretty good batting average at both schools, but knew that wasn’t going to be my path,” said Higdon, who was caught playing in Jacksonville at a Last Blade Standing competition; similiar to Forged in Fire on TV with bladesmiths presenting hand-made knives to a judge panel. “My dad, Kevin, had given me a guitar when I was younger and I fiddled a bit in college.”

After his visit to Nashville, Higdon returned to Florida; Macclenny with his guitar in hand and started to play local establishments hoping to get his name and music into the mainstream.

“The trip to Nashville was on a whim, but it woke me up to my passion,” said Higdon, who was with girlfriend Laceybeth Miles, also a Clay High graduate. “We got a lot of work to do; a lot of time to put. I know this name is not going to go away.”

To date, Higdon has created his own music with writings and melodies, but is waiting to release his music.

“We’re hoping to start headlining some places and get the name on a billboard,” said Higdon. “We’re doing the work and it’s all going to come out at one time. Be on the lookout for a song called ‘Road Work’ and ‘Legends and Liars’. If you hear ‘Legends and Liars’ that will be the one to break the ice.”

Ironically, Higdon’s “Gladiator” nickname is still around, according to Higdon.

“You dubbed me that name against Fleming Island and I still get called that to this day,” said Higdon. “I was at the Fleming Island vs. Creekside playoff game this year and someone yelled out “Gladiator”. It’s all good.”

Higdon gave coach Rob Thompson, retired Clay High baseball coach, and Josh Persinger for guiding his baseball career, but dad Kevin has been the pivot point for the singing career.

“Mom and dad and some cousins have guided me, but my dad was the initiative to pick up the guitar and go for it,” said Higdon. “Mom (Melandy) is mom and she has supported me since my singing horrible as a young kid. You got to start somewhere.”

In the country realms, Higdon noted Trent Thomason as one of his music mentors.

“I’ve been around some big people and got a lot of support from people around me, even Clay Today Sports Editor Randy Lefko, world’s greatest sports photographer,” said Higdon. “Pretty soon, we’ll be out there.”

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here