With only one chance to make a first impression, it is key for an artist to take full advantage of their opportunity.
Steph Nash has made the most of her opportunity with her debut single, “Ain’t Gonna Be My Man.” Produced by Kent Wells, who has produced for Dolly Parton and Neal McCoy, among others, “Ain’t Gonna Be My Man” is a great country rocker that is a nice change of pace from what is currently on country radio.
Hear from Steph about putting the song together, her musical influences, working with Kent Wells, and more!
Pro Country: Who were your biggest musical influences growing up?
Steph Nash: Definitely Brooks & Dunn, I’m a huge fan of them. Big & Rich, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, LeAnn Rimes; I was a big fan of her. My first concert was a Toby Keith show. My favorite song in Kindergarten was “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy,” by Big & Rich (laughs).
PC: Was there a specific moment you knew you wanted to pursue music?
SN: I’ve been writing music for a while now. I took voice lessons from when I was eight years old until I was 17. I really started writing music in high school for church and things like that. I was in choir, but that kind of went downhill because I was into sports. I had my private voice coach, but I didn’t really end up singing during my last two years of high school because it wasn’t worth it to fight with the choir teacher. I kind of lost music a bit when I went to college. I didn’t really write as much, but I would always sing out.
When we moved from California to Tennessee is when I really started writing again, just because of a move and meeting new friends and having new experiences and things like that. I think a lot of events led up to pursuing music.
PC: What was it like for you as you were getting back into music when you moved to Nashville?
SN: It was pretty easy for me. After experiencing things through college and breakups and stuff like that, it let me have four or five years of life, and I got to write about it, and I’m still writing about it.
PC: You released “Never Break” with Kyle Elliott last year. How did that collaboration come together?
SN: I wrote probably 85% of it. Kyle and I met through other songwriters. We wrote a couple times, and I was struggling with that, and I knew he had a lower voice that I thought would fit really well. He finished the song with me, and we got to record it!
PC: What is it like to see something you were a part of achieve more than 70,000 streams on Spotify and be so well-received from fans?
SN: It’s been an awesome experience. I’m so humbled and blessed by that song, and Kyle’s a good guy, and he has a great voice. It’s been a great experience, and now I’m ready to introduce my new stuff, and introduce a little bit of a different side of me!
PC: Are you feeling any type of pressure, internally or externally, as you’re preparing to release music for the first time with “Ain’t Gonna Be My Man”?
SN: I don’t believe so. I think this song is really strong. I really believe in it. There’s been a lot of people who have gotten behind me in the last two or three weeks to really help me push it. A lot of women are releasing slow songs right now in country music, so to release a 90s country, rock ‘n roll influenced song is going to be a bit of a game changer.
PC: Can you talk a little bit about the inspiration behind “Ain’t Gonna Be My Man”?
SN: It was originally going to be a slow song. I had that title for maybe three or four months, and when I started going out on dates, I went out with a guy, and he was being kind of iffy, and strung me along. So I said to myself, “I don’t have time for that, you ain’t gonna be my man.”
The first line is, “I got a long list of problems with you,” and as soon as I got that line, I probably wrote the song in 45 minutes!
PC: What do you hope people take away from “Ain’t Gonna Be My Man” after they hear it?
SN: I hope they’ll be jamming to it for a while! It’s pretty catchy, and I love the way Kent produced it. I’m very proud of this song, and I think it’s something different that country music hasn’t had in a while; it’s been pretty pop and modern, and we’ve kind of lost track of that rock ‘n roll country. I love rock ‘n roll country, that’s my biggest influence when I thought about this song.
PC: You’re working with Kent Wells as your producer. What does it mean to you to have that belief from someone with as much success as Kent has had?
SN: It’s crazy. The first time I sent him my music, he called me within 20 minutes. He’s a busy guy- he’s got contracts with ASCAP and BMI, so for him to take me on is awesome. He’s really been an influence; he’s really taken me under his wing. He comes to my shows, he texts me, calls me, and when the song drops, I know it’s going to do really well!
PC: How has Kent’s involvement helped you as an artist?
SN: The biggest thing he pushed me on was the recording side of it; how to say words differently and hitting notes differently. He really did push me, compared to some other producers that I interviewed with. He knew where I could go with my songwriting, and he knows where I can go with my voice. My range is pretty strong, and I’m really blessed by that, so I want to sing to the best of my ability, and I really do believe this song is going to show that.
PC: What are your plans for 2019 after the release of “Ain’t Gonna Be My Man”?
SN: Kent and I had a meeting last week actually. We’re going to ride “Ain’t Gonna Be My Man” out a little bit, and if it’s doing really well, we’ll probably release another one. I have six recorded with him, and we’re about to do two more. I’m still in between if I want to do a slow song or a fast song next, but we’ll see. My slow song is a ballad; almost like an old Martina McBride song, and it’s probably my favorite slow song that I’ve written.
There’s definitely more music coming! There’s going to be an EP eventually, but I want to do a couple singles first.
PC: Is there anything else you would like to add?
SN: I’m going to be around Nashville singing as much as I can! I’m going to the Baton Rouge Songwriter Festival, I’m going to the Key West Songwriter Festival, just trying to get myself out there. Come see me live! It’s different when you’re doing an acoustic set than just hearing me through my music that’s going to release. I really want to hit that agriculture community, that’s where I’m from; my family and I have a dairy farm. I’m really looking forward to some festivals coming up, and being an influence for the agriculture community. Even though I’m singing, I’m still a voice for them and a voice for us.
*All images courtesy of Steph Nash and Steph Nash Facebook page*