Give us some background on Kevin Stokley...
I have actually always lived around the Greater Cincinnati area and growing up, wanted to be a radio personality. Then the performance bug hit me and it was all over from there. I remember the first time on stage, realizing this ability you have to affect the listener and tell a story in the process. About three years ago, I started writing songs with no intention of ever sharing them with anyone. But it was always a dream to release an actual CD and see where it went, and that's how my EP Spread A Little Love Around came about.
What was the inspiration behind the song, “Radio Up”?
Out of all the songs, this is the one that I get asked about most. This particular song happens to be true down to each phrase and syllable. It's funny, 'cause when you're working on a song, sometimes it's hard to tell if others will relate to the storyline. I had no idea there were that many people out there with as much bad luck with relationships as me (laughs). I'm so thankful for that song though, because it encouraged me to really dig deep and write without fear of exposing myself or getting too personal. But the funny thing is that the person of interest in the song and I are friends these days. I just haven't gotten around to writing that song yet!
What can one expect at a Kevin Stokley show?
I like to take the audience on a mini-vacation or grab their hand and travel back in time with them. Before you're a songwriter, you're a listener. So it's important to never forget about forging that connection with folks. I try to make the song front and center. In addition to that, it's all about meeting the crowd. That's my favorite part of the night. I wanna know who they are, what brought them, and which tune they connected with the most... what's their story? It's the stories that make the song - not the man.
What has been your most memorable experience as a musician thus far?
I gotta say that hearing the song "Scars" on the radio was the most exciting moment. It was just surreal to sit and listen to a song that was so important for me personally to release. As a songwriter, sometimes you write for others and sometimes you write for yourself. And remembering that time in my life and realizing how far things have come, it's definitely rewarding.
What is next for Kevin Stokley?
It's funny when people think that you need to head to Chicago, Nashville, or L.A. to be successful in this business. The truth is, this city has so many different genres of music to choose from, including some great singer-songwriters. So as a performer and writer, I wanna continue to grow and network. In addition to writing and performing the music, I also mix all of my own stuff. It's incredibly rewarding to take an idea that pops into your head and eventually turn it into a finished product. With that in mind, producing and recording other artists is something I'd like to start digging into.
Catch him at Downtowne Listening Room on Saturday November 15th with Christine Havrilla!