MTV News staff report
"I knew ever since I was 5 years old that I wanted to be a rock star," singer/songwriter Howie Day recalled of his chosen profession. "It kind of got pushed into turbo at age 15."
For Day, that push came courtesy of none other than Dave Matthews. Day's rock-star dreams came a little closer to reality six years ago when Matthews walked into the small Bangor, Maine, restaurant where Day's mom talked up her son and scored tickets to the show that would change Howie forever.
"It was definitely an inspiring show for a 15-year-old just starting to play guitar," Day said of his DMB experience. The show was so inspiring, in fact, that Day skipped more than 45 days of high school to tour and nearly forced his teacher to flunk him his senior year.
"I convinced her that I could do a quarter's worth of English homework in a weekend, so my first time ever in New York I was sitting in a hotel room doing vocab tests," Day said.
After high school, Howie stayed on the road for the next three years, performing hundreds of gigs and building a huge collegiate fanbase while funding and recording his debut album, Australia.
"It's fun to mess with people and tell them that I'm from Australia," Day, a product of Maine, said of the album. "I'm not. I'm from New Zealand, of course."
Along his travels, Day and his music landed on the "I Am Sam" soundtrack, and in episodes of "Dawson's Creek," "The Real World," and daytime TV's "Passions."
"When I was in Idaho, I woke up and turned on the TV and heard myself in the background of a soap opera," Day recalled. "It was one of those surreal moments."
A string of those surreal moments led Howie to Epic Records, which will re-release Australia on June 11. But Day isn't about to get comfortable now that he's found a major-label home.
"There's not any true turning point in which I think, 'Ah, this is it. I'm on my way,' " Day said. "I think being an artist, you just evolve on your own, and hopefully you don't ever stop evolving. If you do, then, you know, you might as well quit."
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