Tag Archives: interview

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Steven Clawson

Steven Clawson

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….

Interview: Introducing Dustin Vye

Dustin-Vye-Introduing-Interview

Here at Keepin’ It Country, we pride ourselves on introducing our fans to new country talent. We were recently introduced to Dustin Vye, a super talented musician who went from competitive gymnastics to country music. We talked to Dustin about everything from his inspirations and dream collaborations to performing country music in NYC and his forthcoming EP.

KIC: For those readers who may be ‘meeting’ you for the first time in this blog, can you give us a little bit of a back story as to how you began performing?

DV: Performing in general has always been a significant part of my life. It really began at the age of 8 with competitive gymnastics and evolved over the years from gymnastics, to musical theater work, working with Cirque du Soleil, busking, and singing in church (I still do!). While I enjoy acrobatic work, the connection you make with an audience when performing live music is incomparable.

KIC: What is the writing process like for your music? Where do you get your inspiration from?

DV: Well, I wish I could say that I’m able to dedicate, say two hours a day to writing. It just doesn’t work that way for me. I write whenever the beginning of a song pops into my head, wherever I am. I recently wrote a song on a scrap piece of paper while riding the A train. I prefer to have a pen and paper in hand, but will also dictate lyrics and melodies into the voice recorder on my phone and later take it back to my guitar to get the music and lyrics on paper. My inspiration is the world around me, my relationships and experiences, and observations of others–both the good and bad.

EXCLUSIVE: Catching up with The Voice’s Brandon Chase

emily-randolph-brandon-chase-the-voice-battle

It’s no secret that Brandon Chase of NBC’s The Voice is a favorite here at Keepin’ It Country. We had the chance to catch up with Brandon last week after his Voice Battle round aired. As usual, he was incredibly humble and gave us some insight into his journey on the show thus far.

Although only a few seconds of Brandon’s battle round actually aired on television, we were thrilled with Brandon’s big win. He told us that it was beyond difficult to keep that secret. “Keeping the secret of the Blinds was hard and the Battles was equally, if not more difficult.. I so wanted to say ‘Yeah I made it’ but I contained myself.”

For his battle, Brandon went up against 15-year-old, Emily Randolph and performed “Tiny Dancer.” Both the song choice and his competitor made him nervous, as he admitted he wasn’t too familiar with the Elton John track. “I wasn’t super familiar with the song and didn’t know that Tim McGraw had a version,” Brandon tells us. “But after hearing that version, the choice made a lot more sense to me. It ended up being an incredible song for my voice. It really compliments my tone and shows off my range more than a song I might’ve picked would have.”

Exclusive Interview: Introducing Two Story Road

Two Story Road
If you attended Sunday night’s incredible StageIt show with JillandKate, you were already introduced to new country duo, Two Story Road. This husband and wife team won over a ton of fans with their incredible harmonies and infectious enthusiasm, but will continue scoring new fans with each performance and song release. We had the chance to chat with Brandon and Jamie (Jamelle) Fraley before the show about everything from their musical history and solo successes to their favorite date spot and biggest musical inspirations.
KIC: For those readers who may be ‘meeting’ you for the first time in this blog, can you give us a little bit of a back story as to how you began performing?
 
TSR: We both have been singing and performing our whole lives. Most of our singing growing up was done in church. We were both very active in our high school choirs, singing at various competitions. We moved to Nashville (Brandon from OH and Jamelle from VA) to attend Belmont University and both graduated as vocal majors with a degree in Music.  
 
KIC: How did you each end up with your solo gigs? Was it straight from Belmont to big stage?
 
Brandon: I was lucky enough to get a co-publishing deal with Sony Music Publishing right out of college and started collaborating as a programmer with Tommy Sims, a Grammy award winning writer & producer in town, on various records that he was working on. Eventually my name circulated around Nashville and I found myself getting a call to audition for Gretchen Wilson. The same thing happened a few years later in regards to touring with Danny Gokey. Nashville is definitely a town where the more you can grow your “network”, the better off you’ll be. 
 
Jamie: Since Brandon graduated a few years before I did, he had a bit of a head start, but I was able to meet everyone he was working with. Right before I graduated from Belmont, Brandon was working with Jaci Velasquez on her “Unspoken” album. Over the course of that album, Jaci and I became friends and 2 months after I graduated, I found myself singing background vocals on her tour. I stayed with her for a little over 4 years. While on tour with Jaci, I also sang with two other notable Christian groups, Avalon, and Point Of Grace. Through all of that, I met and became friends with bass player Mark Childers who later became the band leader for Carrie Underwood. Mark was nice enough to give me the chance to audition to be Carrie’s background singer when the position became available and the rest is history! 

Exclusive Interview: Introducing Mariah Grace

mariah-grace-interview

We had the chance to chat with rising country star, Mariah Grace. She couldn’t have been sweeter and opened up to us about everything from songwriting to releasing her first EP to her faith and her musical inspirations. Despite an impressive resume that includes magazine features, high-profile performances and acclaim, she remains grounded, humble and thankful for everything that’s come her way so far.  Without further ado, meet Mariah Grace.

KIC: For those readers who may be ‘meeting’ you for the first time in this blog, can you give us a little bit of a back story as to how you began performing? 

MG: I have been singing my whole life. My family has always said I was singing before I could talk. When I was only a few months old I was humming and singing twinkle twinkle little star with my Mimi who was an amazing singer, and My Momma said she knew then that God had blessed me with my gift to sing. I first stepped out onto a stage to perform at age 2, and have been performing ever since. My whole life I have been in front of the camera, in front of a crowd, and singing everywhere and anywhere I could and for everyone and anyone. The stage is my home.

KIC: You list Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton as your biggest inspirations – What do you take from them and are there any current artists you idolize?

MG: I have looked up to Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton my whole life. They have both taught me to go after what I love, and to never give up. I idolize anyone who goes after their dreams. As for an artist right now that I idolize, That would hands down be Carrie Underwood. I am so blessed for all of the country music artists before me who make it possible for girls like me to be living out our dreams. I have certainly been blessed with the best of them. My fellow artist friends and mentors have helped me so very much.

Exclusive Interview: Emily Brooke

EmilyBrooke

Emily Brooke (@emilybrookestar) is a normal teenager who attends school, hangs out with her friends, and does everything you would expect an adorable teenage girl to do … and more (except for homecoming! Emily skipped her homecoming this year, as someone handed her Miranda Lambert tickets the same day and “Miranda won”)! She may be young, but her talent and wisdom for the music industry far exceed her years. With several prestigious live performances under her belt, a YouTube channel that will knock your socks off, and a contestant role on a singing competition television show, there is no doubt that Emily Brooke is someone you will be hearing about for years. Mark our words!

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Logan Mize

Logan Mize

We are thrilled to welcome back our friend, Logan Mize!

We spoke to Logan last year and also were lucky enough to have him be a part of our “Keepin’ It Country Presents….” StageIt Series.

Now, the singer-songwriter is releasing his brand new single, “Used Up.” The song has radio hit written all over it, and it also has a pretty interesting back story (which you can read all about below). “Used Up” is debuting worldwide today and is available on iTunes now: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/used-up-single. Make sure you check it out!

I had the great pleasure of catching up with Logan this past weekend and hearing all about his new ventures. We all know that Logan is a very talented artist, but he also is a great guy, nice as can be, and really funny!

I just want to thank Logan again for the wonderful interview! Check it out below:

Exclusive Interview: Introducing Maggie Sajak

Maggie sajak wild boy

Rising country star Maggie Sajak recently took time out of her busy schedule to chat with us, and we’re thrilled to introduce you to her. We chatted about everything from her hot new single “Wild Boy” to her love of Carrie Underwood to her impressive school-music balance.

Maggie recently released a video for her new single, “Wild Boy,” which is a song that she loved immediately upon hearing. (Us too!) While most girls deal with a wild boy or two, the song has a unique twist on the typical tale. “I love the song because it’s powerful for a lot of people. A lot of girls end up having a boy like that in their life at some point, for better or worse. Sometimes they stick with us, sometimes they don’t,” Maggie says. “What’s cool to me is that the song doesn’t just focus on the guy, but it’s more about a girl making the decision about the guy and whether or not to put her heart on the line.”

On first listen to “Wild Boy,” Maggie immediately connected with the lyrics and knew it was a perfect fit. “When I received it, I definitely got the chills the first time I heard it and it really touched me, so I was thinking that it would touch a lot of other people. That’s the most important thing to me, always, the lyrics and the impact it has.”

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Jared Blake

jared blake interview

Long before The Swon Brothers and Danielle Bradbery brought country music to NBC’s The Voice, country-rocker Jared Blake was representing country music for “Team Blake” on Season 1. During his time on the show, he worked closely with Blake Shelton, was mentored by Reba and won fans over with his own unique spin on songs like “Use Somebody” and “Not Ready to Make Nice.”

Since appearing on The Voice, Jared has been featured in magazines, touring, and releasing music, with his new single “Countryfied” recently hitting radio. We had a chance to chat with Jared and catch up on what he’s been up to and what the future hold.

KIC: For those readers who may be ‘meeting’ you for the first time in this blog, can you give us a little bit of a back story as to how you began performing?

JB: I started in church. Sang my 1st country song in the 8th grade for the school talent show. “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” by Alan Jackson. The girls screamed and I was hooked.

KIC: You appeared on the first season of The Voice and were a member of “Team Blake.” What was the best thing about that experience and what did you learn from the show?

JB: Reba told me I was exactly what she looked for in a artist and not to change a thing “You’re perfect” she said. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Exclusive Interview: Introducing Brandon Chase

Brandon+Chase

If you’ve visited the Rising Stars of Country section on iTunes, there’s a chance you’ve seen Brandon Chase. His new EP, Country Enough, is featured there alongside the likes of country’s hottest new names, Charlie Worsham, Joel Crouse, Parmalee and more. However, if you haven’t heard his music yet, it’s time we introduce you to this  mega-talented Texan singer- songwriter.

KIC: For those readers who may be ‘meeting’ you for the first time in this blog, can you give us a little bit of a back story as to how you began performing?

BC: I started out my musical journey by singing in my church’s youth band when I was about 13/14. They had an audition to join the band, and for some reason, I just knew I had to try out. I went into it having absolutely no music experience other than beating on some drums. After making the band, I started teaching myself piano, which eventually led to guitar as well. I started writing worship songs for our youth band and found that I had a passion it. So I decided to major in songwriting in college which eventually evolved my writing into secular country songs. Now I’m performing all over town and loving every minute of it!

KIC: We read that you graduated high school at 15 and completed a master certificate for songwriting through Berklee at 18. What’s next?

BC: I actually graduated from Berklee at 17 believe it or not! But hopefully the next step in my life/career will be to tour the US and get the opportunity to meet all the amazing fans that I have had the pleasure to connect with through Facebook and Twitter.