Johnny Delaware dishes on women's rights and divine intervention, ahead of Aug. 30 concert in Rehoboth Beach.

The First State has a musical son based in Charleston, South Carolina. He champions equal rights for women, dream chasing, and fluffy beards. 

His name is Johnny Delaware; and he’s the frontman for rock band The Artisanals. Johnny Delaware wants to cut loose with some Small Wonder peeps when his band plays a free gig at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats on Friday.

“People call me Mr. Delaware all the time,” the singer-songwriter said. “It’s funny.”

Mr. Delaware (who grew up in South Dakota) and company have dropped their new single named “Violet Light.”

The band has shared the stage with big names like Shovel and Rope and Firefly alum Band of Horses. The Artisanals released their debut self-titled album in 2018.

Mr. Delaware touched on changing his last name, a moment of divine intervention that helped to get his band off the ground, and the importance of women’s rights.

How did you decide on the name?

My old friend who I went to go have drinks and dinner with one random night -- he was my college professor; we loved music, smoking joints and talking about life -- he told me, “Johnny, if you want to be a true star and be good enough, you’ve gotta change your name because your last name isn’t good enough.” He said, “You should be Johnny Delaware.” I was like “alright, let’s go for it.”

How’ve people responded?

It’s been catastrophically different. People look at me in a different light just by hearing the name. Their eyes kind of open up. It’s kinda like putting a little salt on the French fry.

Can you explain how a tree helped to shape your career?

I was working in Austin, Texas at a restaurant at the time. I loved the people I worked with. But honestly, I was super depressed, because I wasn’t playing music. I was in a really bad head space. I told myself after meeting my friend who told me about this producer in Charleston, “I’ve gotta go there and record a record.” Yet I never met this producer in my life. But I figured I’ve gotta do it, I gotta give this a shot.

But I had no money and I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but it was going to happen. One random night a big thunderstorm came through and a big tree fell on my car, my Toyota RAV4. It was already beat to sh**. It had dents in it and the windshield was all cracked. It was really only worth like $1,500.

But I ended up getting $10,000, because the tree made it look like it did all the damage. So I ended up going to South Carolina to relive my dreams, because of that car and divine intervention.

There’s an old photo on your Instagram account of a little girl protesting, holding a “Smash the patriarchy” sign. What’s the story behind that?

It’s important to let women know The Artisanals respect and value them so much, because we came from women. Women are the reflection of the universe, the givers of life. They’re much closer to whatever God is, which is probably infinite love, and they’re closer to it than a man will be.

I get frustrated looking at the oppression and how in the workplace they’re patronized and not treated equally. It’s been too long in this society that women have to even have these thoughts and have to battle this. It’s time that the feminine energy takes over and teaches the masculine a little something about love and what life is about.

What message do you have for men who feel women aren’t their equal?

If you have a daughter, don’t you want your daughter to live in a society that treats her equal to how the men are being treated around her?

That’s been confusing to me. I don’t even have a daughter and I can’t resonate with people who think that men are more than women. I think you really just need to have empathy. You need to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. This life really isn’t about you. You like to think it is, but it’s not.

I think it’s societal conditioning. The men that think that women don’t deserve that haven’t gone and actually ventured inside themselves to figure it out. They’re lazy. They don’t want to go in and feel that. They don’t want to search it.