With voting for the 2022 Interstate Music Awards in full swing, we wanted to go "behind the music" and share a bit about who each nominee is personally. Get to know the nominees below, and don't forget to cast your vote!
Bobby Ocean — Nashville, TNWith years of experience in the Nashville music scene, Bobby Ocean brings a classic country sound that leaves any listener with a nostalgic smile. His bluegrass roots bleed through his music, giving his songs a unique southern twang. With an original catalog ranging from ballads to party anthems, Bobby’s sure to please any fan of country music.
- Plays 13 instruments
- Draws inspiration from Johnny Cash and James Taylor
- CMT-featured artist
Some highlights from our interview with Bobby Ocean:
What’s your songwriting process like?
“I start with just having an idea for a song. Then I’ll grab my guitar, and come up with a basic melody. I like to start with the chorus of the song — get a good hook, then build off of that — verse, bridge, and so-on.”
What were your beginnings as a performer and musician?
“I grew up playing in church, you know. There was this one time, I was seven or eight, I was up front with a bluegrass quartet back then, and I was standing up on a chair in front of everybody, playing with an adult group, on a stand-up bass.”
What is it that drives your music career?
“It’s just — I love music. I’ve been playing since I was five or six years old, you know. Just always been involved with music.”
Chadwick Johnson — Las Vegas, NVDominating any stage with his passionate and soulful performances, Chadwick Johnson puts everything he has into singing and writing his songs. Each and every line of his songs are heard, felt, and understood by the listener. Blending conventions of pop, soul, and singer/songwriter, Chadwick’s bluesy, vibrant vocals are absolutely world-class.
- Hollywood Music in Media Award winner
- International touring musician
- Rodeo enthusiast and horseman
Some highlights from our interview with Chadwick Johnson:
What would you say is the “goal” of your music?
“My heart’s desire for my music is to find ways to unearth the complexities of the human experience. Especially in current times, I am always striving for love to shine through in my lyrics and stage persona.”
Growing up in the country, how do you break away from that style, musically?
“I think that’s the complexity of being a human, right? You don’t have to be one thing. There can be so many parts of you, and as you journey through life, you can explore those parts.”
Who or what has inspired your music career the most?
“There have been many times that I have felt like giving up on the music business, but then I walk out on stage and look at all the people that music — especially live music — has the power to bring together. That connection is what keeps me inspired.”
Dustin Chapman — Whiteville, NC
Although he’s only 24 years old, Dustin Chapman has the voice of a seasoned country music veteran. Booming from his chest, his vocals have a deep, rich quality, and with his outstanding pitch control, Dustin Chapman’s voice is not one you’ll be forgetting anytime soon. Born and raised in a small town, he notices (and writes his songs about) the little things in life that make us human.
- American Idol alum
- World Songwriting Award winner
- Often performs and records with his niece, Ryleigh Madison
Some highlights from our interview with Dustin Chapman:
Have you felt some level of success already?
“I’m the type of person where I don’t bask in it. It’s time to move on to the next thing, time to do this or that. I’m constantly working, I never stop.”
How have you handled struggles in your career?
“For me, I’ve always said that whatever I went through — medically, personally, or whatever — I’ve always wanted to use my story, my testimony, to inspire and uplift others. A big part of that for me is my songwriting.”
What’s it like to be on the brink of realizing your goals?
“It’s taken years, I’ve been doing this since I was 14. So, it’s gratifying and rewarding, but it’s also humbling at the same time, because I’m from the smallest of small towns. So I’m just trying to expand my outreach as much as possible.”
Kevin Michael Duggan — Nashville, TN
Providing a unique blend of folk, classic country, and rock, Kevin Michael Duggan is a rising force in the Nashville music industry. With his romantic insights into life, his lyrics hit hard, thanks in part to his catchy melodies. He has more than a decade of experience touring in both the UK and US, and he’s recently made a shift to focus more on country music with his relocation to Nashville, and the formation of his band.
- Former punk artist
- Spent 8 years living and performing in Europe
- Over a decade of experience as touring musician
Some highlights from our interview with Kevin Michael Duggan:
What fuels your songwriting?
“Many of the songs I’ve written are a reflection of the ups and downs I’ve faced as a person and musician over the past 10 years. Lyrically I pride myself on writing in a way of self reflection that’s able to hopefully one day comfort someone who’s gone through similar experiences.”
What’s a piece of advice you still hang on to?
“I think one that really rings true is that good musicians can play really really well, but great musicians listen. That’s so key.”
Can you tell me about your workflow?
“I take stuff that I’ve written, and bring it to [the band], and then we sit in a room and kind of figure out what we’re doing with certain dynamics and stuff like that. Then we can get it all tightened up and everything.”
Kid Channon — Atlanta, GA
An absolute master of genre-bending, Kid Channon has a completely distinguished, one-of-a-kind sound. With an original roster consisting of pop-punk, hip-hop, and electronic-indie, his music breathes life into the listener with its upbeat nature. His new-wave sound and outgoing personality make him an unforgettable artist, and a true rising star.
- Studies at Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, CA
- Began playing music at 6 years old
- First performance as solo artist was December 2021
Some highlights from our interview with Kid Channon:
Where did it start for you?
“I wrote my first song when I was like seven, actually. I was just messing around like, ‘Let’s make some music,’ because I heard Justin Bieber on the radio. I was like, ‘I wanna do something like that.’”
Can you talk a little about yourself away from the music?
“Oh, let me tell you. I’m very adventurous — I love outdoors type stuff. Like skiing, mountain biking, climbing, stuff like that. I played a lot of sports growing up as well. Really, I love experiencing new things, you know?”
What was performing your first live show like?
“I was kind of nervous before they brought me out. Two minutes before I got on stage I was like, ‘Yo, I don’t know if I can do this, man.’ But once I relaxed, I was performing, and I really liked that.”
Remember to cast your vote once a day until April 30th!