It was Savannah radio stations that were the first to play Dan Cowan's music.
On Aug. 5, the Savannah native will launch his first novel and its accompanying soundtrack at the Tybee Post Theater. Today, Cowan performs under the name Dan Random and has three Grammy Award nominations to his credit.
A graduate of Calvary Baptist High School, Cowan moved to Atlanta in 1989 to further his music career. He recorded his first singles in Savannah, and has set his book in Savannah, too.
"I grew up on Burnside Island," Cowan says.
He is a long-time music fan.
"It's been in my blood forever," Cowan says. "I won a contest and released my first record in Savannah. That's why I moved to Atlanta to boost my recording career."
An author, musician, singer, composer and producer, Cowan has recorded nine studio albums. In the last 10 years, he has written and copyrighted close to 100 musical compositions, and written his debut science fiction novel, "Somewhere Called Now."
The performance at the Tybee Post Theater will weave excerpts from Cowan's science fiction novel with original music from the soundtrack performed by the Dan Random Band.
The stage name Dan Random refers to Cowan's ability to compress several styles of music into a common thread that is distinctive. Sample readings from his book and music from the soundtrack can be found at SomewhereCalledNow.com.
"Somewhere Called Now" is the story of four Savannah college students who place an online ad claiming they're an accomplished espionage group. In reality, the group's leader is just trying to raise money for the fall quarter so he can stay in school.
Through a bizarre chain of events, the students find a way to go back in time with modern technology and take over the world. The team stumbles onto a time machine, accidentally transporting themselves back into history, where they have adventures with dinosaurs, Roman soldiers and some bizarre lessons in human nature.
"My ninth CD has just been released and this is my first book," Cowan says. "It's designed to be the first in a series.
"The sci-fi book starts out in Savannah," he says. "The story is about four people trying to raise money for college tuition who put an ad on the internet."
The ad is discovered by a terrorist group.
"The terrorist group hires them to be decoys and go into North Korea and take photos of the time displacement device," Cowan says. "They accidentally trip the device and they're making jumps in increments and meeting some interesting characters."
The soundtrack, written to enhance the reading experience, ties the story together. Songs are placed throughout the ebook version and can be selected and played.
The paperback format has an accompanying CD or MP3 for download. The music is upbeat and unpredictable as the story itself.
As a devoted science fiction fan, Cowan had long wanted to write a book.
"It's been on my agenda for a while," he says. "After the eighth CD, I wanted to take a different step.
"I noticed people reading and listening to music at the same time," Cowan says. "I got the idea to write music that coincides with what's happening."
Music enhances the story in "Somewhere Called Now," he says.
"The book is getting really good reviews so far," Cowan says. "By combining music with the book, it gives it another layer.
"It also gives clues to the next book and the next one. There are clues in the songs, which enhances the experiences."
Currently, Cowan is touring.
"I'm touring the Southeast and Northeast and the Midwest," he says. "We're working our way west. While we're doing that, I'm also working on the book's sequel and the music for that."
Cowan's stage name came from a nickname.
"Some characters I was working with in Savannah called me that and it ended up sticking," he says. "They even kept mispronouncing my name.
"The publishing company thought it would be best to release the book under my own name," Cowan says. "It's been highly positive and the response has been great."
The music and excerpts from the books can be found at danrandom.com or SomewhereCalledNow.com. The sets are available anywhere books are sold.
On Tybee, Cowan and his band will perform some of their original music.
"I'll read excerpts from the story itself," he says. "I'll give the background of the story and perform the songs.
"It's a unique combination with the book and the CD going hand-in-hand," Cowan says. "I'll be doing a bit of reading in the book where a song is related to the story. It's a pretty entertaining show."
IF YOU GO
What: Dan Cowan presents "Somewhere Called Now"
When: 8 p.m. Aug. 5
Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave., Tybee Island
Cost: $10 adults, $7 children 12 and under
Info: 912-472-4790, tybeeposttheater.org