Top 10 Finalist!

I was just notified that I was selected as a Top Ten Finalist for WATE TV’s Knoxville Idol Contest. Winner gets a Silver Ticket for American Idol Producer Auditions in Nashville and $750.00 travel money. Wish me luck!

IMA – Independent Music Awards Interview

Just sharing the interview from my IMA Award Nomination

Artist/Band Name:  Chris Stephen

Home Base: Knoxville, TN USA

Genres: Country / Country Rock

Categories Entered: Country

Title of Work Submitted: More Than I Deserve

Label: Old Joe Music & Entertainment Inc

Producer: Smith Curry

Artists Featured: Chris Stephen

Instruments Featured: Steel Guitar

Q: What’s the story behind your band name?:

A: Just a mix of my first and middle names

Q: Describe your sound:

A: A mix of Chris Young, Zach Brown, Josh Turner & Trace Atkins with a little influence of Johnny Cash thrown in for good measure.

Q: Who’s sitting in your audience?:

A: Wow, that’s a tough one. I’d like to think and, from sales and response, everyone from teenage girls to grand mothers. Of course guys like my music too, its real. But, you’re not going to find much along the line of the pop or hip-hop Country style in it.

Q: What’s your favorite press quote about your music?:

A: From a professional or industry perspective, I’d have to say when Dwight Whitley (Keith Whitley’s brother) told my manager: “That boy can SING! I like that deep voice, he reminds me of Trace Adkins. He’s got big future ahead of him.” From a fan perspective it’d be when Ashley Cure, a fan & follower on Twitter said “More Than I Deserve is amazing!!! Thank you, I love it! Perfect country song!!!!” When a fan says that, you know the song moved them in some fashion. Isn’t that what music is all about?

Q: The song or songs that changed your life and why:

A: Probably Almost Home by Craig Morgan, and Movement IX of Pictures For an Exhibition “La Grande Porte de Kiev” by Modest Mussorgsky. Because they both taught me how well music can, if done right, convey such raw powerful emotion.

Q: Describe the first time you walked onstage:

A: The first time I went up in stage was actually in front of the least welcoming crowd I’ve ever played for. I got up there and started doing my thing and not a single one of them cared. So I just sat up there and played for me because I was about the only person in there enjoying my music. Instead of letting it get to me, I just realized that no matter who you are and what you do, there’s always gonna be people out there that don’t like you or your music. But you can’t let those people affect you, and you can’t cater to them because you’ll never please everybody. You just have to find the people that like what you do and whether there’s only one of them in the crowd or thousands of them, you just play your show just for them and don’t worry about the people who don’t like it. That’s their problem, not yours.

Q: Why did you submit to this year’s Independent Music Awards?:

A: More Than I Deserve was nominated for Modern Country Song of The Year in this year’s Josie Music Awards and I was nominated for Modern Country Male Artist of The Year, and Modern Country Male Vocalist of The Year. It’s a big deal and a big honor to me to get those nominations so early in my career. So, we were looking for other award venues to possibly win nominations to and IMA is like HUGE, so we definitely wanted in for the IMAs.

Q: If you win and/or get nominated, how will you use your IMA honor to further your career?:

A: It’s always a boost to an Artist to win any nomination. But, a big one like the IMAs will help me gain a lot more attention. We’re building more and more each year and branching out. I’m still in college. Our plan is to have me at a point when I graduate from U.T. my career and fan-base will be big enough to make a living from my music. Whether that means still being an Indie Artist or signing a deal with a big label, who knows? But,I’ll be happy making music in either case.

Q: Who is your musical hero & what would you like to learn from them?:

A; My biggest musical hero would have to be Josh Turner. I have always admired the way that he stays true to himself. He has never given in and sang about things that don’t line up with his values even when he sees how much money and fame people are getting from singing about those same things.

Q: Where can fans follow you/purchase your music?:

A; Probably the easiest is to go to my website at ChrisStephenCountry.com. All the links to my social media are there and be sure to sign up on my mailing list. But, they can follow me on Twitter  @ChrisStephen_ On Facebook at Facebook.com/ChrisStephenMusic, Instagram at ChrisStephen_Music, they can also follow my ReverbNation page. My music is also available for purchase on the website, as well as on iTunes, Amazon, Googleplay and CD Baby. I’m also on a bunch of internet radio sites, Iheart Radio, Pandora Plus, Spotify and SoundCloud

Artist & Vocalist of The Year !

Wow! I am so honored to receive notification last night that I have been officially nominated as “Modern Country – Male Artist of The Year” and “Modern Country – Male Vocalist of The Year” by The Josie Music Awards!!

I truly can’t put into words how much this means to me. I appreciate all my fans’ support and thank the selection committee at The Josie Music Awards for this nomination!

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