In this interview, we spend a few minutes with Country singer/songwriter Kevin Beadle to discuss music, life and the digital era.
Check out his video for “Shouldn‘” below.
Introduce yourself to our readers and describe the style of music you create.
Like a lot of people, I played in various rock bands in my teens & 20’s but then I got busy with other things.
When I got back to music about a decade later, I delved into songwriting and eventually had a song (“Shine”) do well in the West Coast Songwriters International Song Contest. That led to a live appearance on a local NPR station, Linda Seabright’s “On the Road Again” Americana program. And that led to a deal with Ripple Record, a terrific indie label. They helped me get a bunch of reviews & interviews, college & public radio play, licensing deals with MTV & Discovery Networks, and performances during SXSW.
That was 6 years ago and I tried to appreciate every moment of it. At 45, I figured this would probably be the high water mark for my music career.
But the past year has been even better. “This Might Get Loud” won Grand Prize in the Great American Song Contest and that led to a new licensing deal and the chance to work with a Music Supervisor for Sony Pictures. Just last week, I got an e-mail from Dixie McCorkell of the European Country Music Association letting me know that my latest single, “Shouldn’ ” had reached #26 on the European country charts. Who knew there were country stations in Europe?! But over 500 of them have been playing my song for the past 10 weeks so I’ve gotten a big kick out of that.
As for genre, I’m happy to take whatever song comes to me–I don’t worry about what style it is. A festival promoter once labeled me “Americana pop-rock” but my standard spiel is “roots music with plenty of branches.” Or “classic rock with the back porch drawl of gospel, blues and alt. country.”
I live in Berkeley, California, with my wife, 3 sons & 3 cats. When I’m not making music, I coach Little League and perform eye surgery.
Who or what influences your playing and/or writing styles? Also, what motivates you to keep creating?
Local songwriters like Steve Seskin, Bonnie Hayes, Kevin Harris & Andre Pessis have had a big influence on my songwriting. If you aren’t familiar with their names, I bet you’ve heard their music. I got to know them through the West Coast Songwriters.
Finding motivation to write isn’t much of a problem. It’s a rare day when I don’t jot down some idea or sing something into my iPhone. But finishing a song can be a challenge. I have to keep tinkering with the songwriting & production until everything feels just right to me. That can drag on for months or years.
What was the last song you listened to?
I was in the studio yesterday mixing one of my songs, “All Down for Austin.” So I’ve spent this morning evaluating it with fresh ears in various acoustic settings (car, iPhone earbuds, home stereo, computer speakers, etc.).
But I woke up listening to Ryan Adams’ Love Is Hell CD and kept hitting repeat on “Anybody Wanna Take Me Home.” Such great jangly guitars in that 50 second intro. I worry I’ll bore people if my intros go much longer than 13-15 seconds so there’s probably a lesson in there for me.
Other than the digital era overwhelming us with access to an abundance of music, what are one or two of the biggest challenges you face when trying to attract listeners to your music?
A great thing about the digital era is that you can reach people anywhere in the world. But just because you’ve found audience in Latvia doesn’t mean it’s practical to tour there. Which bums me out because nobody rocks like Riga!
Before the digital era, it used to be, “Do I write a song or put up posters today?” That dilemma hasn’t changed… you only have so much time to create vs. promote your music.
Whether it’s putting up posters or posting on Facebook, doing promo work takes time which I’d rather put to writing or recording. But I’m excited about using YouTube to reach people. In fact, I’ve come to view making a high quality music video as being just as important as writing & recording a new song. But then how do you get word out about the new video? Besides social media, I’ve had success getting exposure through the help of a couple of internet-based promo companies.
Do you gig, tour or perform through any live streaming services? Where can music lovers see you perform?
My band played a test concert for one of the pioneering live-streaming companies during SXSW a few years ago.
We usually play video-streamed shows every year at local venues and I post links on my website & FB a few days beforehand.
We played a benefit concert at the Fenix last year and ended liking our performance of “Like Thanksgiving Day” enough to create a video of the livestream on my YouTube channel. That was mostly because they captured our “SNAKES-IN-A-CAN” pyrotechnics.
Where is the best place to connect with you online? Discover more of your music?
KevinBeadles.com has a bunch of streamable songs, video links, bio/info, and links to purchase my music via iTunes/CDBaby.
YouTube is for those who’d rather go straight to the videos.
Any last thoughts? Shout outs? Words of wisdom?
I guess the surest advice I can offer is “glove in the dirt!” but that’s only really helpful if you’re coaching Little League.