By: Jennifer Vintzileos
Q) What was it about music that ultimately drew you in?
A) I’ve always related very deeply to music and associated different people, places or events in my life with specific songs. So, it was kind of a natural progression for me to get into writing my own. It’s pretty cool now because I’m starting to get that same impact from my own work where there are places around Nashville that will forever be associated in my head with one of my own songs.
Q) In contrast to your other two tracks “Monday Song” and “Shiny Toys,” your song “Chasing Platinum” seems to be more about the choice between being with someone you love versus going after your dreams. What inspired you to write it?
A) Yep, that’s what I was going for with the whole idea of “Chasing Platinum.” It’s certainly a situation that I envision for myself in the future where I’ll build my music career to the point where I have the opportunity to travel and play shows for a living. But life goes on outside of music as well and leaving someone that I care about for an extended period of time will be difficult. I’ve written a number of songs from the perspective of “future me,” but “Chasing Platinum” was the first.
Q) If you had to pick one of your songs (past or current), which one do you feel embodies who you are the most?
A) I’d say “Shiny Toys.” That song is about valuing people, relationships and experiences over material possessions, which is absolutely how I try to live my life. I’ve never been (and never will be) much of a “stuff” guy and don’t get my identity from my things…which is fortunate because otherwise I’d be running pretty low on identity.
Q) In picking a place to settle and work on your music, what was the deciding factor(s) in choosing Nashville?
A) The biggest factor was my producer, Christian Davis, living just south of the city. I love working with him and it’s great to be able to run out to his place on short notice to cut some vocals or work on a track. I’m also really big into hiking and escaping into nature with my hammock and music so middle Tennessee is perfect in that respect with tons of parks in the metro area.
Q) I was reading that you have a rather broad repertoire of cover songs committed to memory. What has always been one of your favorite covers to play for an audience and for yourself?
A) Yep, at one time I had just over 175 cover songs memorized although that number has come down considerably since I’ve turned more of my focus to original music. For an audience, my favorite has always been “Ride Wit Me” by Nelly because it naturally draws participation and I get to show off my rapping chops. But, personally, my favorite is “Let Her Go” by Passenger.
Q) Which artists do you feel inspire your sound the most?
A) I try to pull from a lot of different influences in my writing but the biggest one is undoubtedly Ed Sheeran. He’s such a gifted lyricist and excels at creating music in so many different styles all rolling up to that “pop” umbrella. I’m also a huge fan of the laid-back, Southern California sound like Jason Mraz, Rebelution and the Dirty Heads. So, I certainly draw on that when writing as well.
Q) What is your musical guilty pleasure?
A) Well, I don’t feel guilty about it in the least, but if I did the answer would be boy bands. My first two CDs were NSYNC’s No Strings Attached and The Backstreet Boys Millennium. I still listen to songs from those albums.
Q) What are you currently listening to?
A) All kinds of stuff! My taste in music is all over the board. In the last 3 days I’ve listened to everything from Willie Nelson to Eminem to Matisyahu so I’m always jumping around and discovering new sounds and artists.
Q) If you had to choose, which three albums changed your life and/or the way you thought about music?
A) Ed Sheeran’s album X was probably the most important because I had never seen a “pop” artist which such a diverse sound. Everything on that album is phenomenal and was hugely inspirational for me. The second would be Bob Marley’s Exodus because it was my first exposure to reggae which has grown into my favorite genre. Songs like “One Love,” “Three Little Birds” and “Jamming” were such uplifting tunes and the off-beat guitar in reggae music was a sound I’d never heard before and something I immediately fell in love with. Number three is probably Eminem’s album The Eminem Show. For me, it was less about the vulgar, rebellious nature of the lyrics that so many kids my age got into and more about the rhyme schemes and flow Eminem had when delivering them.
Q) If you had the opportunity to do a collaboration with any artist or band/group, who would it be and why?
A) This is such a tough question and every time I get asked it I think about changing my answer, but always stick with Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda. I’ve got such tremendous respect for Linkin Park’s ability to evolve their sound over the years and I think Shinoda is a huge reason why. I loved his Fort Minor stuff and I’ve always wanted to do a rap collaboration so working with him would be amazing.
Q) You completed your first EP back in the summer of 2015. How do you feel your sound has progressed from that initial EP to the music you are writing today?
A) It’s a night and day difference. Back then I was writing mostly acoustic folk stuff and really hadn’t transitioned into pop material at all. From a quality perspective, I see a huge change too as I’ve grown into my voice much more as a writer. Melodies and lyrics come easier today than they did back then and I expect that to continue with the more work I put in.
Q) With continuing to work on new songs for a promising new album, when can we expect to see you on tour?
A) It’ll all depend on how the product is received and how quickly I’m able to generate a following that would make touring sensible. My focus right now is to focus on creating good music and building myself into an attractive artist for major labels to sign so I can get that music out to as large a group as possible and people will come out to see me play.
Q) Through this musical journey so far, what has been the best advice you have been given?
A) Just be persistent and don’t let yourself get too frustrated. Obviously, this is an incredibly difficult business to succeed in, but I believe in my songs and marketability as an artist so it’s just a matter of continuing to work hard and stay the course. Nothing good comes easily so continuing to grind is the only way to get where I want to go, but I also want to enjoy the process along the way.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) Just that I’m so appreciative! The early stages of this process are difficult and I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to have people tell me they’re enjoying my songs because really that’s why all artists make music…for themselves and others to enjoy. I’m so thankful for everyone that listens to my stuff and I hope they continue to listen and enjoy as new material comes out!
Check out “Chasing Platinum” here: https://soundcloud.com/bstave/chasing-platinum