I recently had the great pleasure of interviewing indie country artist, Steven Clawson.
Steven is a regular on the Nashville music scene, and you may have seen him playing around town if you’re from the area. He has released 3 albums independently: Southern Soul, Restless, and Miles To Go; and is looking forward to the next.
He also just released a charity single “This Time Each Year”, a song near and dear to his heart, with all proceeds benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank in Nashville. You can download the song here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/this-time-each-year-single/id738592439.
You may remember Steven as the runner-up on CMT’s Next Superstar. I decided that I want him to try out for The Voice and be on Team Blake. I think he liked my idea.
After getting to know Steven a bit, he may be one of my new favorite people. Aside from his talent, he’s genuinely kind, appreciative, and very dedicated to his music career.
He told me that this quote best sums up his songwriting: “I hold the pen, God writes the songs.” If you’re unfamiliar with Steven and his music, he’s someone I really recommend you get to know.
Here is our interview….
KIC: For our readers who may be meeting you for the first time, tell us about yourself and how you became a singer-songwriter.
SC: I grew up singing in church in South Georgia. When I moved to Nashville at 18, I hadn’t yet written a song, but I started hanging out and jamming with songwriters, and I started to realize that I could write songs, too. They weren’t very good songs at first, but little by little they got better. By the time I graduated from Belmont University in May of 2004, I had a pretty good catalog of tunes. I released my first album, Southern Soul, shortly thereafter and have been making music full-time ever since.
KIC: Your charity single “This Time Each Year” was just released! Tell us about the song and the charity you are working with.
SC: I actually just wrote a blog about the story behind the song, which you can read at http://stevenclawsonmilestogo.blogspot.com/. I’m donating proceeds of the song to Second Harvest Food Bank.
KIC: Are you working on your next album/EP? If yes, how is the process going, what can we expect from your next record, and do you have an idea of when it should be available?
SC: I released an album called Miles To Go last November, which you can find on Itunes. Since then, I’ve been out to Los Angeles a couple of times recording some new material and revamping some old songs. We’ve got a few different projects in the works, but no set release date. Hopefully we’ll have some new material out in the early part of 2014.
KIC: You were runner-up on the music competition, CMT’s Next Superstar. How was your experience on the show? What was the best thing you took away from it?
SC: I had a wonderful time on CMT’s Next Superstar. I met some lifelong friends, and got to experience things I’ll probably never get to experience again. My favorite part of the show happened at Ft. Campbell. We were there inside a hanger filled with the families of men and women who were returning home from Afghanistan. Watching the families reunite is something I will never forget. It was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever experienced and made me so proud of my country and the men and women who fight for our freedom.
KIC: I know you’ve also tried out for other television music competitions, have you tried out for The Voice? Any plans to do so? We’d love to see you on Team Blake!
SC: I was actually approached to audition for The Voice not long after appearing on CMT’s Next Superstar. At that point I was pretty burned out on reality TV and turned them down. If I ever was to be on the voice, I would totally wanna be on Team Blake!
KIC: You played The Buckle Stage at CMA Fest this past June! What was that experience like?
SC: CMA Fest is always fun. When you put that many country fans in one place, things are bound to get a little rowdy. Country fans are the most dedicated fans in the world and they are so passionate. Anytime you play during CMA Fest is a good time!
KIC: What is the songwriting process like for you?
SC: I’m a very private songwriter. I like to write a lot by myself. I don’t like forcing songs out. My process usually consists of me just playing and searching. I consider myself more of a discoverer than inventor. That being said, there are many songs I have written by appointment, meeting someone at said place at so and so time and sitting in a room till we’ve written a song. It just depends. I love the quote “I hold the pen, God writes the songs.” That really sums it up for me.
KIC: Who are some of your musical influences and current favorite artists? What is your dream collaboration?
SC: My all-time favorite is Elvis Presley, always has, always will be. Garth Brooks made me want to move to Nashville. When I play down on Broadway, I probably play more Garth songs than any other artist. I’m also a really big James Taylor fan. He taught me how to play guitar, he just doesn’t know it ;) I could go on and on with artists who have influenced me from gospel to country to rock n roll to soul and back again. One of my favorite artists out there right now is Kip Moore. I love what he and his team are doing. There’s also a guy named Chris Stapleton who has one of the best voices out there. The guy is from another planet. I would love to collaborate with Allison Krauss and Vince Gill. Two of the best out there. Sidenote: I saw the Eagles in Nashville a few weeks ago, and sat next to Vince Gill. We got to talk a little bit, and not only is he one of the most talented guys out there, he’s also one of the nicest.
KIC: You have several great covers on your YouTube channel (Link). I think my personal favorite of yours is “Walking in Memphis.” What’s your favorite song to cover?
SC: Walking in Memphis is one of my favorites, too. I’ve always loved that song. I actually got to perform on the Ryman stage while filming an episode of CMT’s Next Superstar. Georgia On My Mind is another one of my favorites. Once again, I could go on and on. It often depends on what mood I’m in and what kind of crowd I’m playing to. At the end of the day, I’m always drawn to a great melody.
KIC: Do you have shows lined up or plans to tour soon?
SC: I’m playing a couple of times a week in downtown Nashville and doing shows on the weekend. We’re lining up some cool things for next year that are going to be a lot of fun. You can keep up with where/when I’m playing at stevenclawsonmusic.com.
KIC: What has been a favorite highlight in your career thus far?
SC: I got to perform on the CMT Awards a few years ago. That was definitely a cool thing. Honestly, I’m still shocked that I get to do this for a living and that people like my music and are moved by the songs I write. Anytime someone comes up to me and tells me that one of my songs helped them in some way is a highlight.
KIC: Any other projects you have lined up that you would like to share with us?
SC: I’m currently working with some big names putting together my next project. I can’t say a lot yet cause I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’m very excited for what the next year holds in store. I do have a small side project coming out next year that I can talk about. I’ll be releasing a children’s book called Lovesong Lullaby in time for Mother’s Day next year, that will also come with some new music.
KIC: Anything else you would like to add?
SC: I want to thank Keepin’ it Country and everyone else out there who supports what we do. Without fans, we wouldn’t be able to make music for a living. Your support is what helps keep the flame burning!
Lightning Fire Round
All-time favorite country song: Wichita Lineman
Album you’re currently listening to: Fleetwood Mac, Rumours
Current favorite song on the radio: “What Are You Listening To”, Chris Stapleton
Favorite non-musical hobby: Golf, even though I’m horrible
Current favorite TV show: Homeland
Favorite holiday: Christmas
Favorite thing or tradition about the holiday season: Family, food, and music
Thank-you so much to Steven for taking the time to do this interview! We appreciate it so much and can’t wait to work with you again.
For more info on Steven and his music: