Gardendale, Alabama native. How has Alabama’s rich, historic music scene shaped the music you create?
Growing up in Alabama, you’re submerged in country music nonstop. You hear anything from older Country to 90s Country to all the new stuff. There have been some great Country artists that have emerged from Alabama such as Hank Williams, Alabama, and more recently Riley Green. I would love to follow in their footsteps and keep making Alabama proud.
Grew up with eight siblings, including three who were adopted through foster care, and two hard-working parents. What was your favorite local festival your family went to each year?
My family and I attend the Magnolia Festival, which is a festival that my hometown puts on every year. I was very honored to be asked to perform at the festival for the last couple of years! There’s nothing like getting to play for my hometown surrounded by friends and family who have supported me the most on my journey.
Received an acoustic guitar as a Christmas present at age 14.
At age 15, wrote an upbeat track, “Ocean.” Saved money to record the song and released it independently two years later, earning a national audience. Can you describe how it felt at 17 to have fans across the country listening to your song?
Getting my first song produced and recorded was such a surreal moment! It was a dream come true. Knowing that someone on the other side of the country is listening to my music blows my mind!
Influenced by George Strait, Florida Georgia Line, and Khalid. Mixing the twang of modern country music with the beat-heavy bounce of contemporary pop. Working with producer Jimmy Ritchey (Sam Hunt, Jake Owen). Which songs would make your playlist if you were to add your top ten favorites of all-time?
Neon Moon (Brooks and Dunn)
More Than My Hometown (Morgan Wallen)
Should’ve Been a Cowboy (Toby Keith)
Guy Walks Into a Bar (Tyler Farr)
Dirt (Florida Georgia Line)
I Can’t Trust Myself (Devin Dawson)
Chasin’ You (Morgan Wallen)
Dixieland Delight (Alabama)
Heaven (Jason Alden)
Check Yes or No (George Strait)
2022. “Southland,” a summertime anthem.
“I Found,” a fun breakup single.
“Never Wanna Leave,” a song about hometowns. A tune about a small town, bonfires, Friday nights with friends, romance, and truck rides through the countryside. How would you use the song’s lyrics to introduce Gardendale’s lifestyle to a newly relocated big-city person?
Small-town life is a little different than big-city living. There might not be as much to do, but a good time is just a strike of a match away from having a bonfire, where all your friends can come out to hang. Bring a guitar and some snacks and you’ve got yourself a fun Friday night, no big city lights necessary.
Fall is your favorite time of the year. As we transition to the holiday season, what traditions do you most fondly recall from your childhood?
Our family would travel to Stone Mountain, Georgia every Fall. Our tradition was we would all hike up the mountain, but the kids would always compete to see who could make it up to the top of the mountain first. It was so cool being at the top of the mountain looking back down at how far you had climbed, feeling like you were on top of the world! We would also pack a big picnic to eat at the park. Then at night, we would watch the laser light show on the mountain.
Is there a dish you always associate on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
I always look forward to my mom making sausage balls on Christmas morning. It’s the perfect portable breakfast while you are opening presents.
What is your most magical Christmas memory?
As a kid, every year seemed magical at Christmas time. It was always so exciting waking up on Christmas morning, to see all the presents under the tree. My mom wouldn’t let us open the first present until everyone was up and in the living room, so I would run around trying to wake everyone up so I could start opening my presents.
What’s ahead in ’23?
I’m extremely excited about this next year! I’ve got new music coming out, and I’ll be getting to perform on bigger stages in bigger places! What I’m most excited about is getting to move to Nashville, where I’ll have opportunities to make more connections and to write with incredible other artists. Make sure to follow my journey @joshkinneyofficial to stay updated on that!