Stephen Kelly Hunt is 31 and originally from Kentucky, but these days you can find him most nights on Broadway in Nashville at Legends Corner, Second Fiddle, The Stage or Crossroads. From the very first night I heard him play, I could tell immediately that he was something special. I have never seen a musician quite like him on Broadway. Stephen has such an amazing musical ability and eclectic taste in the music that he plays. From his guitar riffs to his genuine desire to connect with his fans, he is truly impressive. Not only does Stephen capture the heart of every girl in the room, but also it is very obvious that he is a natural musician at heart. From the moment Stephen steps onto the stage, you can tell that he’s hard working and clearly dedicated to his craft and his fans. Over the past few weeks, I have really invested in seeing what all he has to offer the music world, and this guy definitely does not disappoint. This week, I had the opportunity to get to know a little bit more about him. As I suspected, he truly impressed me even more in this interview with his humble, down-to-earth nature.
What’s the most challenging part (to you) about being a musician?
The emotional/physical/mental taxing that happens to me on stage. If I do my job very well, I give away everything I’ve got to give away during a performance. If the gig is terrible, I give 150% of my mind and body into making it the gig I want it to be. I drive home from every single gig feel very low and depleted, even after incredible gigs. I often read about post-gig depression.
Who inspires you musically? What’s the one album you can’t live without?
Of course that’s a huge list, but I’m most inspired by Jon Bon Jovi (and band), for their passionate performances on albums, and Jon’s unbelievable song writing. Many of my favorite songs are Bon Jovi songs. Don Henley also really inspires me. I couldn’t live without The Wallflowers “Bringing Down The Horse” album.
What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?
I’m confident that my most embarrassing moments, I was too drunk to be aware/remember (I’m 4 years sober, I had a severe drinking problem). My most embarrassing moment was when a venue paid my band an absurd amount of money to play, and the drummer and and bass player were too drunk to function before the gig even started. The other guitar player, to cope with the situation, ended up hammered. I was 4 months sober at that time. It was a nightmare.
What do you consider your biggest accomplishment (so far) in music/what has been the coolest experience you’ve had in your career so far?
There was a Monday night show that happened at The Stage in Nashville, it was the Twang-Free night. It was a TOTAL industry hang, the best musicians in town, and celebrities, would line up every Monday night to see these guys play. It had a PROFOUND impact on me. Between 2005 and 2012, I drove 4 hours to see the show about 200 times. In July of 2012, despite not living in Nashville, or really being a part of the scene, I was asked to play as the “fifth man” one night. People still find that hard to believe.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give other artists that are out there trying to make it?
Have a tangible, spoken definition of your expectations of a music career. What exactly do you want? If you have listed, exactly, your goals, you’ll have a clear picture of what you must sacrifice to obtain those goals, and when the sacrifices are mounting (repo men, an air mattress on the floor because you can’t afford proper housing, driving a very humble vehicle, no dating or social life)- you’ll understand exactly why you are making those sacrifices, and whether or not you think your goals are worth all you endure/give up.
What venue do you like to perform at the most?
The Stage on Broadway, no question. Best live music bar in America.
Knowing everything that you know now, what would you do differently in your career?
We are the total sum of all of our actions, and at age 31, I like who I am, I feel successful, and I can see a future. I’ve made a TON of mistakes, I carry very ugly scars, but I’m the real deal. Maybe drinking sidetracked me, or maybe it was that period that humbled me. Maybe I didn’t understand debt when I was young, but now I have a good understanding at where wasting money gets you. So I never think about regrets, I only think about recovering from mistakes in a way that makes me stronger, more able, and more conditioned.
Do you have any big shows or projects coming up? If so, what are they? What projects are you currently working on?
If I play at The Stage on Broadway on a weekend, that’s a big deal for me. You better believe I’ll plaster that on my social media. I would like my lower Broadway career to have an “autopilot” status, so that I can spend my weekdays developing music row relationships. A deal with a major label is what’s on my mind.
What’s one thing you want your fans/future fans to know about you?
For 10 years, I have given every bit of myself to this. The most seemingly insignificant decisions a person could make, I’ve made every one of them with a music career on my mind, and done so for 10 years.
What’s your favorite way to connect with fans?
A follow-for-follow on social media, so I can see their lives and what inspires/motivates them.
This interview is proof that Stephen Kelly Hunt wants his fans to genuinely know who he is and where he came from. I’m excited to see where his talents take him. You can check out his website or connect with him via social media.
(Photo credits: Shine On Music City)