You are about to release your highly anticipated EP, Stay On Fire, on Friday, Congrats! Your single, "Named This Town You,” had been a great tease for the EP. What makes this release special for you?
Thank You! The "specialness" of this release starts with the planning. We took our time, thought it through, and made sure every single part of every song was exactly what we wanted. Too many times in the studio you're watching the clock, compromising what you really want just to save a little time and money. Stephen and I decided that we weren't going to let that happen on this record. We went all in on this thing and I believe it shows.
Tell us about working with Stephen Barker Liles.
Working with Stephen is a blast. We write together, fish together, and hang together a good bit, but there's nothing like walking into the studio to work on an album. It’s a different vibe all together. The great thing is that we can both turn that work mode on and off when we need to. Stephen and I are like family so we have no problem telling each other when we have a dumb idea! Haha! Honestly, in the end you have to be able to do that if you're going to make a great record.
What stands out to you about the music we're about to hear?
I think the biggest thing that stands out to me on this particular set of songs is that they each tell one piece of a larger story. I wanted people to want more after each song. It’s kind of like watching a new show on Netflix. They give you that cliffhanger so you want to watch “just one more” episode to find out what happens. I am hoping to have that effect on the listener with this music.
Is there one song in particular you’re most excited about people hearing?
It’s hard to pick just one. If I had to I would pick, "Stay On Fire." My friend Rebekah Liles is a feature on the duet and she absolutely killed it! I've known her for years but I first heard her sing when I was playing the "Shine For Susie," event at The Ryman Auditorium last December. I was blown away when she got up and sang with Florida Georgia Line and I feel very fortunate to have her on the title track with me.
What has been your greatest challenge in music business?
I have always been my biggest critic and I think my biggest challenge in the music business is selling myself. I don't mean the "selling out" sense of that phrase, but mean the walking into an executives office and saying, "Hey, I'm Stevie and i'm great!" Finding the lane where you can let the music say that for you is the key in my opinion.
How has Nashville influenced your music?
Nashville has influenced my music a ton! The talent in Nashville is unreal and I look at it as a bunch of small town all stars coming to Nashville for the playoffs. Some teams go home in the first round and some work hard and stick around for the finals. I've chosen to work hard and stick around for the finals and to do that you have to not only challenge yourself but you have to be open to your music evolving a bit. I've stuck to my roots and my own style but the music has definitely improved thanks to some incredible writers and colleagues who pushed me in a great direction.
What are some of your favorite Nashville restaurants?
Losers is my hangout spot, so I end up eating there a lot after a few drinks! I also love restaurants like Tavern, The Palm, and my all time favorite that I wish I could eat at more often is Jeff Ruby's.
If someone is coming to Nashville for the first time, where do you take them?
Having someone visit Nashville for the first time is always a good excuse to head downtown to Broadway and bar hop the Honky Tonks. Its a must do for your first time.
Any last words for our readers and your fans? How do they connect with you?
Just thank you for paying attention and caring enough to take a listen! I would love to hear feedback from all fans! My socials are all just "@steviemonce" and there is a contact page on my website www.steviemonce.com that you can send me a personal message telling me what you think of the, Stay On Fire, EP.
Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why?
I am a wine lover at heart and my absolute favorite red wine is a Pinot Noir called, Lyric, so if I partnered with Treasury Winery and scored some free Lyric, I'd be more than stoked!