Nashville based Country Singer-Songwriter Tony Evans Jr. Visits Listen In With KNN”
On this week’s livestream edition of “Listen In With KNN,” award-winning sports talk podcast and radio show, executive producer and host Kelsey Nicole Nelson sat down with Country singer-songwriter Tony Evans Jr. He has made six studio albums during his career as a musician.
This marked the first time that “Listen In With KNN” welcomed a country music artist to the show. To begin, after a quick wellness check, Evans was asked what made him first get into country music. He responded by saying “I’m from the South, so there’s country music everywhere, obviously. A lot of it was my family. My family was huge on country music. They kind of put it on me”. Evans then went on to tell a story about playing his guitar in his kitchen when he was a teenager, and everyone telling him that he not only should be a country singer, but that he is a country singer. He was doubtful at first, but his aunt predicted his future in the business. So that definitely played a big factor.
Next, Nelson asked if he felt intimidated when he was first playing in front of family members back then. Evans responded by saying “I was so nervous back then. Performing was so scary back then for me, but it taught me a lot.” He then went on to elaborate how difficult he thought it was going to be to break into Country music. That’s why I said no. I did want to do it, because in Atlanta, it’s Hip-Hop and R&B, and that’s what I grew up in. So, I was a kid. I was trying to fit in, and all that. So, I didn’t want to do it because I wanted to be cool, but as I got older I realized that it’s not really about that. It’s just about doing what’s true to me. So it just came naturally”.
Evans then went on to talk about when he taught himself how to play the guitar. “It sucked at the beginning, but I was very very dedicated. When you’re a kid, you don’t have responsibilities, so all of my free time, I was just on the strings, figuring it out, and eventually I got pretty good at it,” said Evans.
The next question came from one the shows loyal listeners sports reporter Jammel Cutler. He asked “When can we expect a collaboration with Kane Brown and Jimmy Allen?” Evans responded with “I have no clue. Both of those guys are real cool. I’ve met them, and everything, and they’re real cool guys. I don’t know, man. We’ll see!” Evans then went on to say that he was working on new music. “Oh yeah, for sure! Even newer music. I’ve got some new music coming out real soon, but I’m looking down the road, you know. We’re working”.
Nelson then asked him about his debut EP “Starless”, coming out independently on March 10. Evans was excited to preview what fans will get once it’s released. “Man, you’re going to get some vibes. You’re going to get love songs. You’re going to get heartbreak. You’re going to get that gray area in between. I feel like it’s a really good first step for you guys to hear what I’m really about, you know? Where things are really going for me. Starless is going to give you a sneak peak of that,” said Evans.
The next question that Nelson had for him was about his comfort level in terms of being vulnerable with his fans in his music. He responded by saying “It’s funny, because I’m not. So, when I write songs, I never write songs from personal experience.” He went on to elaborate on the emotions involved. Evans went on to continue, “I just think about the emotion, like okay, I’m sitting on this couch with this guitar playing this chord, what am I feeling from it, lonely? Loneliness, how does that feel? What’s another way to say that. And then, the song comes out, and it becomes a thing, and as a song grows on me, and I start to learn the song better. When it’s finished, I realize why I wrote it later. I start relating to it as it ages, but it’s never really like I’m gonna sing about this girl, or I’m gonna sing about this thing that happened. That’s not really my writing process, as of now at least.”
When asked about where he gets his inspiration for his songs, Evans said “Well, I haven’t really experienced true love yet, so a lot of it is what I think it is, and what I think it may be. And, then like a song that I already have out called ‘We’ve Never Danced,’ you can kind of hear that, and then I’ll say a lot of it also is the things I’ve heard, you know.”
Evans elaborated giving examples to some of the songs he draws inspiration from. “The songs I’ve heard, like all those old standard songs. Like L is for the way you look at me. O is for the only one I see. Those types of things inspire me a whole lot, and I think it’s just ingrained in me so I don’t really have to think about it a lot,” saif Evans.
He draws on his experience with music. “This is what love is supposed to be, but then it’s like okay, for me it’s like we all know what love is supposed to be, but is that actually what it is? That’s the gray area that I was talking about earlier. I’m trying to get into that a little bit too,” said Evans.
The next question that Nelson had for him was about his single “Need Somebody”, which was released earlier this month on February 3. When asked about the reaction that it got, Evans responded, “It’s something that you hope for. It’s not something that you can count on. It’s just like, you have to work, and somehow a star falls out of the sky, and you get a situation like I had, but it makes you feel good”.
Evans is also very appreciative about his fanbase. When asked about it, he said “It’s so very diverse. That’s what I value most about my fans. It’s people who never listened to Country before. I have a ton of beautiful Black women who support me, which I always hoped for. I didn’t know how I was going to make that happen. You know, looking at the genre that I’m singing, but somehow I’m pulling it off, so hopefully I can keep that going. I love my fans, man!”.
He then went on to speak on how it feels to be in the same conversation as other Black country artists. “I don’t really think about it much, honestly, because I don’t think of myself as a Black country artist. I’m a country artist who is Black, you know? But, with that being said, I do have an obligation to stay true to who I am. Like I said, I grew up in Atlanta, so that’s a part of me, and you know I’m going to keep that. I grew up on the East side, skating the golden glide. I think that brings a door into the genre, because to me, Country music isn’t about the lifestyle. Even though I’m a Country guy, I fish and I’m outdoors all the time.” said Evans.
In referencing his upbringing, Evans mentioned he has a ton of musical influences. Artists he admired were those like George Strait, Glen Campbell, Teddy Pendergrass, Nat King Cole, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Reverting back to his musical inspiration Evans said, “I’m not going to sing about something that’s not inspirational to me musically. So, you won’t hear me singing about trucks and things like that, even though I love them. I sing more about things we can all relate to. I sing about love and relationships, and things you feel on the inside. And, that doesn’t have a genre. It will be a lot easier for people to relate to it, no matter where they grew up.”
The next question that Nelson had was about how he pays tribute to his Atlanta roots. Evans said “I mean, it’s everything! It’s just who I am. It’s a part of me. It’s the way I talk, and it’s the way I think. It’s just a big part of me that I’m bringing with me to this genre”. As he discussed his goals in the industry Evans said he wants to go as far as possible. “I want to go as high as possible with this, because it’s what I love, and just a little FYI about me, I’m a hyper competitive person. So, when I do something, I want to be the best at it. So, that’s my goal with country music. I want to do it all over the world. I want to go to every different country. I want to go to Mars and do a show! That’s what I see myself doing,” said Evans.
Next, Evans talked about what’s been the best part of the experience for him so far. He said “I’m starting to see myself in the newspapers and the articles and stuff. That’s pretty cool! It was great when my grandparents saw it”. He talked about the importance of his grandparents in his life and how special they are to him. With the support of his family, and fans Evans has a bright future to look forward to. “You have to have a foolish, unrealistic confidence in yourself, and you’ve got to be a little bit crazy. I always say artists are a little bit crazy because why would we even think we could live a life like that? Why do we think that we could be the one to make it?,” said Evans. “And, for me, the only way I justify it is how much time I put into it? So I work hard. I pay my dues to get where I am, and that’s the only thing that justifies me believing in myself is what I do to get there.”
It definitely sounds like Tony Evans Jr. will have a big career in the Country music industry, and all of us here at “Listen In With KNN” wish him nothing but the best! You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram. To listen to this interview in its’ entirety, view the show below: