Hi, I'm Derik.
Born and raised in Olympia, Washington, Derik first began performing at age 7 when he sang "Where Is Love?" from the musical OLIVER! for an audience of 500. Derik continued his theatrical interests and by the age of 18, performed in over 60 productions. He stepped into theatrical lead roles including Captain VonTrapp in THE SOUND OF MUSIC, Bottom in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, and the Artful Dodger in OLIVER!. His performance as Joe Hapgood in HAPGOOD earned him a place in the Lincoln Center Archives in New York City. His role as Danny Zuko in GREASE earned him a nomination for Best Actor in Washington State by The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, WA. In addition to acting and singing, Derik began playing saxophone at age 10, guitar at age 12, and piano at 14. Writing and composing music became a passion at an early age. He engineered and produced his first and second full length original albums in high school, several more in college, and released his sixth full-length album in November 2011, "Songs About Winter."
Derik spent his first year of college studying Performing Arts Technology at The University of Michigan, but discovered that his dreams and goals as a pop singer/songwriter exceeded what Ann Arbor, Michigan had to offer. He made the difficult decision to transfer, and made a fresh start in Los Angeles, where he graduated in December 2010 from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Industry, and was named the honorary Graduate of the Year in the USC Popular Music degree program, which he helped to pilot.
With a degree from the University of Southern California (Bachelor of Science degree in Music Industry,) Derik has to-date written, produced, and recorded six full-length albums to his name, two of which were completed before graduating from high school. During his time at USC, Derik worked extensively with the Thornton School of Music faculty and was an integral part of shaping the curriculum that later became the new Popular Music program, the first program of its kind in the country where a degree in popular music at a major university is possible. In 2008, Derik was awarded the Brian Wilson Music Scholarship for songwriting.
Derik has over 3 million views on his channel on YouTube.
IN LOS ANGELES...
Derik is popularly known as the lead guitarist on FOX's hit TV show, "Glee."
Prior to being on the show, Derik formed Derik Nelson Band while at USC, and simultaneously continued pursuing his solo career, working with writer/musician/producer Tim Kobza as a producer and recording engineer. Derik has performed at venues across LA, most notably The Troubadour, Key Club, Room 5, and the Huntington Beach Jazz Festival. He has shared the stage with Rozzi Crane, Courtney Fortune, Pinot, Riana Nelson, Ernie Halter, Kina Grannis, Jayme Dee, Marcy Playground, Tommy King, Kenton Chen, and most recently Mary J. Blige, Dionne Warwick, American Idol finalist Jessica Sanchez, Lupe Fiasco with Guy Sebastian, the cast of Glee, and many more. He has received recognition from such audience members as Steven Sample (USC President), Lamont Dozier, Brian Wilson, and Patrice Rushen.
In addition to writing, performing, and managing both a solo career and a band, Derik also works as a producer and recording engineer for other artists and musicians, including Rozzi Crane (the first artist to be signed to Adam Levine of MAROON 5's new record label, 222 Records), Christine Donaldson, Aaron Childs, and Raquel Rodriguez.
In the spring of 2011, Derik received national attention in articles in The Washington Post and the Salt Lake Tribune for his song "Take Chances." The USC President's Office commissioned Derik to write "Take Chances" as the graduation anthem for the Class of 2011. "Better Days," an original song written by Derik, was selected as a finalist in a songwriting contest for the Invisible Children Foundation, and Derik received 1st Place in the 2015 Indie International Songwriting Contest for his original song "The Way It's Gonna Go."
Derik seeks ways to give back to organizations he supports: he is an active supporter and sponsor for Relay For Life, and has performed at and supported Free The Slaves foundation events. The Trevor Project's "Trevor LIVE" event is an annual event Derik performs at in Los Angeles. Derik is popularly known as the lead guitarist on FOX's hit TV show, "Glee." His singing voice has been heard on FOX's "Raising Hope" and "New Girl," CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother,” NBC’s “Go On” and “The Voice,” and his original music has been featured on the WB hit TV series "Felicity," as well as the feature film “Commencement.”
Derik is a proud member of SAG/AFTRA.
In 2013, Derik started his own company. Joining forces with his brother Dalten (tech & design) and sister Riana (booking & tour management), he embarked on a mission to independently tour the West Coast to raise money for arts & music in schools. His "Take Chances Tour" reached 30,000 people and positively impacted over 50 school communities.
Derik and his siblings provide a stellar educational outreach component in conjunction with touring, in the form of high school workshops, lectures, and inspirational seminars.
THANK YOU FROM DERIK:
"The only thing missing from my brief life story is a BIG thank you to my family, and especially my siblings Riana and Dalten. I feel so lucky to have them as my biggest fans... and thank you to everyone who has helped me, on stage and off. I'm honored to share my music with you."
Derik welcomes messages from fans, friends and family. Please send him a message on the contact page.