Meet the Nominees: Best Original Song
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!
Alexis Wilkins — Nashville, TN
With hooks that stick in your head for days, Alexis Wilkins has more than proven her ability as a songwriter. In addition, she has a remarkable natural talent with her crisp, expressive voice that makes any of her songs truly touching for the listener. Alexis is able to create new-wave country sounds with a classic country spirit, giving her music distinct character.
- Multiple charity/fundraiser-based projects throughout career
- Member of Warrior Rounds
- Also an accomplished actress and writer
Some highlights from our interview with Alexis Wilkins:
What’s your first step when working on a new song?
“I tend to start with titles. When you walk into a writing room, everyone has some sort of ideas, but for me, I have to have a title. I have to know where we’re going.”
What’s something that’s important to you as a musician?
“A lot of people are musicians. And when you do this, and people are impacted by it, that really means the most.”
How do you write songs that are able to resonate with other people?
“It’s such an empathy thing, you know, just trying to share your perspectives with others. And I try to do that intentionally in my music, I want it to be for everyone who listens to it. I want everyone to be able to stand at a concert and say, ‘I felt that.’”
Buffalo Rose — Pittsburgh, PA
Made up of six world-class musicians from vastly different backgrounds, Buffalo Rose puts an imaginative twist on modern folk and Americana. The group’s chemistry translates into their music, with their performances looking more like friends just having fun on stage. Looking to make appearances in folk festivals across the country this year, Buffalo Rose is on a straight path to success.
- Member backgrounds include folk, jazz, rock, and R&B
- Members range in age from 20s-40s
- Signed to MISRA Records
Some highlights from our interview with Buffalo Rose:
What inspires your group to create?
“Since we all come from very different musical backgrounds, this is always a difficult question to answer. I think we all are inspired by the prospect of making music that moves people - music is such a powerful force in all of our lives, and the idea of really connecting with people through this medium is exciting to us.”
Where did Buffalo Rose start?
“About 5 years ago, we all were performing with different bands around Pittsburgh. We were playing rock, folk, R&B, jazz. Eventually, we found each other, and started playing together as Buffalo Rose as a sort of side project. But soon the side project was taking off more than our main gigs, and was way more fun, so we decided to run with it!”
How has the group achieved such strong chemistry?
“We as band members have a very real sense of love for one another, and that love is always present throughout our performances. We just have fun together.”
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 vocal 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.”
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.”
Kristine Kabbes — Nashville, TN
Whether it’s an upbeat tune for the honky-tonk or a tear-jerking ballad, Kristine Kabbes is able to capture the full spectrum of country music. Her infectious choruses are backed by a solid and versatile sound from her band, who create the perfect atmosphere for all of her songs. With years of experience as a Nashville performer already under her belt, Kristine Kabbes shows no signs of stopping.
- Has shared the stage with several Country legends
- 8 years performing on Broadway in Nashville
- Would like to help new artists in the future
Some highlights from our interview with Kristine Kabbes:
What’s inspired your career the most?
“What continues to fuel the flame is all of the people in my life that asked me, ‘so what are you really going to do?’ I take pride in the fact that I’m solely a working singer and musician — singing and performing is my 9-to-5.”
How do you include so many different styles of country music in your work?
“I would say it’s all organic — I don’t ‘try’ to do anything, it’s just what comes out that day in the writing room.”
In what ways do your songs reflect your personality?
“You could say I’m a bit old fashioned, and my music reflects that. I’m a romantic too, I feel that comes out very much in my lyrics, especially in the ballads I write. I am a lover.”
Remember to cast your vote once a day until April 30th!