2020 has been strange for everyone, and for artists, many are left with unexpected downtime to fill. Luckily, Steven Metz is doing just that, and so far, he’s hit the ground running.
With two singles already released this year and a third coming in a month, Metz is building his stock musically, all the while, recently joining Big Loud Records’ Larry Fleet’s touring band. As he waits for live music to return, the future is looking bright for the North Carolina native.
We chatted with Metz about his diverse influences, each of the three singles he has released, how a big name producer helped him hone in on his artistic identity, his plans for the rest of the year and more!
Pro Country: With the music you’ve released so far, you’ve blended contemporary and classic sounds. Can you talk about the influences you have drawn on that help shape your sound?
Steven Metz: My parents are originally from the Memphis area, so I grew up with an appreciation for Delta blues and southern rock. My mom was also a huge 90s country fan and loved Garth Brooks, Shania Twain and Pam Tillis. I was born in Florida, but mostly raised in North Carolina, where I was introduced to Appalachian, bluegrass and country gospel music. On the contemporary side, I really idolize guys like Eric Church and Luke Combs. I love how raw, real and relatable their music feels. My producer Sal and I tried to blend a little bit of all of that together with these summer releases.
PC: Your bio mentions that you began playing piano at just eight years old and that you began singing in church soon after that. What was it about music that connected with you so early in your life? At what point did you realize you wanted to pursue music as a career?
SM: I think I never quite “realized” it per se, because it never seemed like it wasn’t an option for me. I don’t think I ever really considered anything else to be honest. The thing that gets me up in the morning is the fact that there’s always new territory to explore musically. It never gets old and boring. I love how country music in particular is respectful of its roots, but there’s still always something new you can do.
PC: What emotions were you feeling as you were preparing to release music for the first time with your single “Church on Sunday”?
SM: We were excited about it for sure, but mostly we were just determined to get it out there. Back at the time, I didn’t have a whole lot of cash on hand for a recording budget, but I knew that I had this song that I loved and wanted people to hear, and that it was a necessary next step. Three years later, I still love the song!
PC: “Church on Sunday” has gone on to earn over 15,000 streams. Is there a certain level of validation that comes with having that success on your debut single?
SM: Honestly, I’m just really grateful to my listeners for continuing to listen to it after three years. I feel like most of the time your song has a big bump, and then quickly tails off. But “Church On Sunday” has had a lot of staying power, and a huge percentage of those streams have come from the last year, so I’m really thankful to everyone for that.
PC: Your sophomore single, “Carolina Blues,” talks about maturity and making a change. Can you talk about the inspiration behind that song?
SM: Specifically speaking, it’s a story about remembering a high school sweetheart, and reminiscing about the new experiences and memories you made with them. But in a broader sense, it’s an intimate look at the way life changes and gets increasingly complex, and a sense of nostalgia for the simplicity of growing up. That’s the main element I think everyone can relate to. We’ve all had to make big life changes at some point, whether it be moving away from home, starting a family, getting baptized or chasing a crazy dream like I am right now. I think the tendency is always to look back and remember what life was like before. That bittersweet feeling is the one that I’d want everyone to take away from the song.
PC: In a previous interview, you mentioned that you wrote your newest single “Luck of My Own” after a bad breakup and at a time where you felt your career had stagnated a bit. Was writing and releasing the song a cathartic experience for you as you tried to break out of those feelings?
SM: Absolutely. I tend to be kind of a slow writer, but this was one that almost wrote itself. Writing “Luck of My Own” was a much needed release of some pent-up energy. And since then, I’ve been trying to take my own advice and slow down, enjoy life and take a little control of things.
PC: You’re working with producer Sal Oliveri, who was worked with Chris Stapleton, Garth Brooks, Carrie Underwood, and many more well-established artists. What have you been able to take away from working with Sal that has helped you in the studio?
SM: Sal made me feel more like “me” than I think I ever could have done on my own. He’s a pro with such a great ear that he was able to take all of my info about what I wanted to sound like, what I was feeling and what I wanted to say, and put it together into something meaningful. I was really grateful for his time and lucky to work with him.
PC: 2020 has altered many plans of artists so far. Of the things you can control, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
SM: Well so there’s ultimately only so much we can control. What I’d like to focus on while we’re all mostly stuck indoors is reaching people in their homes. We’re gonna be trying to up our social media presence and do more Facebook/Instagram lives. Additionally, we’ll be taking this time to write, and hopefully plan an acoustic EP if possible.
More importantly, this summer I’ve started playing keys for Larry Fleet, an artist signed to Big Loud Records (Jake Owen, Hardy, Morgan Wallen & more). So my main focus will be gearing up for his tour as soon as the gates open!
PC: Is there anything you’d like to add?
SM: Our last single for this summer “Charlotte Has You” drops on August 28th on all major digital music platforms!
*All images courtesy of Steven Metz Facebook page*
**Steven’s music is featured on The Best of Pro Country Playlist!**