Nashville, TN Levi Hummon is a rarity when it comes to singers and songwriters. He was actually born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, “literally on ‘The Row’” as he explains. His father, Marcus Hummon, was and still is an accomplished songwriter and he wrote songs like the Grammy Award Winning “Bless the Open Road” (Rascal Flatts), “Ready to Run” and “Cowboy Take Me Away” (Dixie Chicks), “Born to Fly” (Sarah Evans) along with songs for many country music artists, including Top 40 singles for Tim McGraw, Wynonna Judd, and Alabama. His mother, Becca Stevens, runs a non-profit, Thistle Farms which helps women who have survived trafficking, prostitution, and addiction get a second chance at life.
Describing his life he said, “I literally grew up in the industry and learned about it from my dad. I grew up watching my dad every morning writing songs by the piano, coming up with lyrics and melodies.” He always knew what songwriting was and that it was a professional career you could actually have but initially he never really pursued it. Because his parents were sort of “Hippies” (his words), they always pushed him and his brother to be creative. Levi moved to Florida to obtain a visual art degree. “I always loved being creative. I could never like to sit down and be still.”
For a while, studying visual arts was his desire. And even though art will always be a part of his life, it was there that he felt the tug to pursue music as a full-time career as he discovered that singing/songwriting would become his path as well. He transferred to Belmont and met up with other like-minded songwriters, but focused on forming his own voice.
Although as a teen he listened to the Ramones, The Clash, then later on Jeff Buckley, and Mumford and Sons, he felt that as a songwriter you need to be honest which naturally led him back to lyrics of country music. He says, “I come by the music thing honestly. It’s in my blood and DNA and I’m telling my own unique story.”
Once he returned to Nashville, he was offered a record deal after he demoed one song. But he states, “Honestly, I really wasn’t ready. I hadn’t done any of the A & R or creative development that it takes to be an artist.” They parted ways amicably. When he left the label, he just started putting out music and finding out who likes his music and who would attend his shows. It turns out that “75% of those in attendance were young women.”
Having released heartfelt love songs such as “State I’m In,” “Stupid” “I Still Do” and “Drop of Us,” his passionate songwriting alongside his devilish good looks make him Country Music’s answer to Justin Bieber. With lyrics like Every half-second, heartbeat feeling/ Every truck bed, starlit ceiling/ Drink it in and soak it up/ I don’t wanna waste a drop of us, it’s no wonder his songs have millions and millions of streams by his young fans. He states his songs are 100% inspired by real life.
Being an independent artist and charting songs off of streaming alone was virtually unheard of, yet Levi Hummon has done it. “It was validating to put out music and find people who love it.” He continued, “More than ever you can go out and work and not have to spin your wheels waiting on a record deal. You can believe in yourself.”
Even though he has nothing against record labels, because of platforms such as Amazon Music, Spotify, and even YouTube, a singer/songwriter can be successful on their own. “Artists just need to create music and find their audience,” he explains.
Levi Hummon recently signed with Sony/ATV publishing. Although he admires the seasoned hit songwriters, he wants to start developing his own “crew of songwriters,” who are “young and hungry.”
Levi has had the privilege of opening up for artists like Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Sam Hunt, Kelsea Ballerini, Dwight Yoakam, Martina McBride, and most recently Hunter Hayes. Yet, like most artists, playing the Opry is always the best form of validation and Levi has done multiple times including several times with his father. “We’ve played the Opry 19 times and it’s always incredible. It’s the only place I am still super, super nervous every time. It’s just a blessing to be a part of it.”
Levi is currently in the middle of performing with his first-ever headlining tour. But his most recent project is covering one of his dad’s smash hits, “Cowboy Take Me Away” which was re-released November 8th on the 20th anniversary of the original release date of the Dixie Chicks classic. Joined by the hit female trio, Runaway June, the song is a beautiful tribute 20 years later. “It felt natural to have the Runaway June girls because my dad loves them and we’ve been friends for a long time. [This version] is super simple and it turned out so beautifully.” (Marcus Hummon wrote the title track to Runaway June’s latest EP Blue Roses.)
Marcus Hummon said to American Songwriter magazine, “It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the Dixie Chicks cut their beautiful version of Martie’s [Maguire] and my song; although, in truth, there’s a timeless quality to all their work…. What a joy to get to record a version with my new favorite country vocal group, Runaway June, and my favorite new voice in country music… my son, Levi!”
You can be among the first to hear the cover of “Cowboy Take Me Away” here.
Being just 27 years old with so many hits under his belt and thousands of young admirers, Levi Hummon has just begun. And like the proud parent that I am with all of my Music Spotlight artists, I will be on the sidelines, cheering him on.
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