“I’m 25, an Aquarius, and I like long walks on the beach.” Zach Stone jokingly tells us by way of introduction, setting the tone for a fun interview.
Growing up in Arlington, Texas Stone discovered music at an early age. There was a popular Opry venue right down the street from him called “Johnnie Highs Country Music Review” and it’s where such stars as LeAnn Rimes, Steve Holy, and Miranda Lambert got their start. At just twelve years old he auditioned and made it onto the show. “That was the first moment I realized I could do this. That people do this for a career. The Tim McGraw’s of the world are real and tangible.”
Zach’s childhood was filled with baseball and music, his two passions. Summers were divided between the field and the choir room. Upon entering college he wasn’t willing to give up on either dream yet so chose a school that offered both. Stone moved to Nashville, the place he wanted to be for music and applied to Belmont where he could pursue music and baseball. “I was chasing both dreams. Sophomore year Zach realized that it wasn’t possible to chase two things so vastly different. Giving up on baseball to pursue music full time, he decided that was what he really wanted to do and where he wanted to put his heart. And we’re glad he did.
The very next year Stone won Belmont’s “Best of the Best” Country Showcase, and that was a defining moment for his career. “Most artists play bars and coffee houses, they grind and grind and don’t get that opportunity. To step out onto that stage to see everything we’ve been working so hard on come to fruition, and see thousands of people screaming it was like wow this is it. This is what I want to do the rest of my life.”
“My favorite part is walking out onstage, that rush you get as soon as that spotlight hits you and you’ve got all those people in the crowd just ready to go with you.” What Zach loves most about music and being an artist is the way that music can change lives. “Songs are defining of moments in our lives, they define eras for us sometimes. Just hearing a song can immediately bring back a place, a feeling. ” He likes being able to evoke those emotions and memories, to have a platform to speak.
Now Stone says he doesn’t get nervous being onstage, but as a kid he admits to having bad stage fright. As a young child, he took dance lessons because mom wanted him to be more coordinated. Each year he’d quit before the recital so he wouldn’t have to get up onstage. Hard to believe if you’ve seen him onstage performing, as he shines up there now.
CMA Fest is this artists favorite time of the year. He enjoys getting to do something so cool, so big, so huge, and being home. It’s extra special to him because friends and family that have been there from the beginning come out and can see how much he’s grown.
The newest single “Four Letter Word” has received a lot of positive feedback and Zach couldn’t be happier. If you haven’t yet go check the song or the video out!
Stone released a six song EP titled “Ashes”, which was his introduction to the Nashville world. He enjoyed writing with some top writers that have worked with Eric Church, Brooks and Dunn. It was an honor working with them and Zach learned valuable lessons from the writers and the entire process of recording.
When asked about new music we’re told “You’re always working on the next project. As a songwriter and creative person I’m always writing new songs. Your constantly trying to better yourself.” In fact, Zach has a song he’s real excited about as a potential follow up single and is super stoked for fans to hear.
We recently had Stone perform as part of one of our songwriter showcases at Just Love, where he was impressed by a few teen artists. “People that are that talented that young and can capitalize on it are going to be very successful because they are dedicated and can go get it.”
Stone’s biggest musical influence is Tim McGraw. The song “Live Like You Were Dying” made him fall in love with country music. His parents were huge fans of classic rock, so growing up that’s what he listened to. As he got older Zach decided he needed to find his own identity in music. His dad grew up on a farm in Iowa, Mom on a dirt track in South Dakota. Both know a hard days work, family values, and were living the country lifestyle. So it’s natural he’d discover a music that emobodied that. Stone remembers flipping on the radio and hearing Cody Allen, the local dj. He was playing Tim McGraw and other country artists with songs that amazed him at the depth, the emotion, and the lyricism. “Listening to TIm Mcgraw and those artists that was me. That hit home.”
Zach Stone describes his music as “High octane country”, country that hits a little harder. He wants his music to be one you can’t help to move your feet to and that the words get you emotionally as well. What sets him apart from other artists? Stone believes it’s his work ethic and determination. He has spent a lot of time honing his skills on guitar and his vocals, trying to be in the position that he needs to be to perform. A challenge for anyone, but having been born with Brachydactyly, a condition that left his hand underdeveloped, made things harder. Zach hasn’t let it stop him from doing anything he wants to do. As a kid he had so many people that inspired him. His parents were part of a support group that founded Hand Camp. He remembers being one of the first campers, and how much it influenced his life. “Those guys really gave me confidence in who I was. We were all there to support each other and push each other through the struggles. I want to give back to the same community so I go back as a counselor every year. That’s where I belong. Those are my people.”
Not wanting to be like everyone else, Stone is always trying to think a step ahead of others and do things a little differently. “I want to make music that people stop and turn the radio up because they have to hear it.” He believes in telling a story that matters because someone will relate to it and have it be their song. And he wants to make sure he does their song justice.
In what can be a tough industry Zach has some advice he firmly believes and follows. “Have confidence in yourself. Know who you are and what you want to be. The day you decide you don’t really care what others want you to be and be who you want to be you’re good.”