Hagen just returned from Nashville, Tenn., having cut his first demonstration copy of "It Could Be Me." The patriotic medley has simple lyrics, with a sing-along medley, and captures the mood of America today, with service men and women overseas.
"I am beginning to get excited about the possibilities of my song making it," Hagen said. "I heard it played on Fox 104.9, by disc jockey Christy Matthews, and I felt like crying. It is one thing to play it over and over to myself, my family and close friends, but it is another thing completely to hear it go out over the air waves."
Hagen will perform at the Leachville Theater on May 24, and again at the veteran's celebration in Jonesboro being planned for later this month.
"I take all the bookings I can get in my pursuit of a recording contract in the future. Hopefully, if enough people hear my song, someone will steer me in the right Hagen has entertained at the Fifth Third Park, before White Cap ball games, in Grand Rapids, Mich., and at the Berlin Race Way for stock car enthusiasts, in Marn, Mich.
He and his wife Crystal are no strangers to Michigan, as they were both born and raised there. He is the son of Kay and Larry Hagen, Sr. Mrs. Hagen is the daughter of Judy Holbrook and David Russell. The Hagens have two daughters Tiffany, 7, and Marisa, 5.
Mr. Hagen is a self taught guitarist and is comfortable singing at grandstands, church, and recording studios, as well. He writes his songs in a ledger type notebook and then sets them to music. He has completed four songs that are ready to record.
"I worked as an industrial mechanic at Georgia Pacific in Grand Rapids," he said. "My wife ran a day care. When the plant closed in February 2000, we didn't know exactly what we were going to do. We came to visit Crystal's grandfather, Tolley "Mack" McDaniel, in Lake City and were really impressed with the area. We went back to Michigan and sold our house and decided to make Lake City our home.
"We found a church home at the Lake City Church of God, where we could share our testimony and the love for music," he said. "Riverside is the only school the girls have ever known, and they love it.
"I got a job at Hayworth Inc. in Jonesboro and was soon put on the day shift, working 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. I like my job and our family is happy here. We not only have relatives here, but made new friends as well.
"You just never know growing up what a positive impression your family makes on you. I witnessed my uncle Joe writing songs, then listened to him and my father singing them. I thought everyone did that. As I grew older, I realized that everyone did not do that, and that it was a gift. Music is very important to my people. We sing praise songs as well as popular songs, as we just love music."
Hagen had sent taped copies of his song to as many disc jockeys as he could get the name and address of. Last month he got a call from a relative in Michigan telling him to meet him in Nashville to make a demo CD. He and his family traveled to Nashville to the office of Dick McVev, owner of Moonlight Studio. Hagen interviewed and played for McVev in the morning and was asked to come back in the afternoon to record the demo. With the help of several studio musicians, his modest song was soon sounding like one done by a seasoned veteran.
Hagen is chasing his musical rainbow, with both feet planted firmly on Buffalo Island soil. He plans to keep writing and singing until his big break comes.
"I write and sing out of respect for our troops overseas," Hagen said. "I was touched by the plight of United States servicemen during the Desert Storm conflict and was moved right then to start writing. I never knew the time would come again to sing these same songs in support of our new troops in Iran. It seems patriotic songs just never go out of style. They always seem current, whenever we have troops overseas, and loved ones far away."
Lake City residents may recall seeing the large snow wall this year, standing just off the Highway 18 curve. "Support our troops" was spelled out in large blue letters across the wall. That wall was built by Hagen and his family one cold February morning, as they thought of the men and women serving their county overseas. They are quick to use any medium they could find to show support, be it snow, guitar, vocals or speech. Their loyalty runs deep, and their commitment unfaltering. They still believe that dreams do come true and persistence pays off.