Who Is Neon Union? The Story Behind Their Journey to Country Music
Who is Neon Union? The incredible duo joined us to chat about their journey to country music. Get to know the rising artists here…
Full Name – Andrew Millsaps & Leo Brooks aka: Neon Union
Birthdate – August 30th & January 10th
Hometown – Pilot Mountain, North Carolina & Roaatan, Honduras
Current City – Nashville, Tennessee
Musical Influences – Alan Jackson, The Avett Brothers, George Jones, The Eagles
Label – Red Street Records
Current Single – “Bout Damn Time” (As of article date – 4/10/23)
Today’s spotlight shines on a country music act that we believe is going to be huge in just a matter of time. Neon Union, a duo comprised of Andrew Millsaps and Leo Brooks met each other and instantly knew that combining their talents would be something special. Despite their unique upbringings, Neon Union was destined to make music together.
“I’m from Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, a small town and I had moved to Nashville at one point and went to college for a year, wound up four colleges in five years, and graduated from NC State,” began Millsaps. “I was like I’m not done with Nashville, and I planned on moving back out here.”
On the other hand, Brooks was living a bit further south. “I’m from Miami. All my family is from Roatan, Honduras. That’s how I got into country music,” shared the singer-songwriter. “The main music on the island is classic country, reggae, and calypso. I grew up on a lot of classic country from my dad, he put the guitar on me too.”
While Millsaps was playing gigs at bars and cutting his teeth as a songwriter, Brooks was jumping on tour with artists like Lauryn Hill, straight out of high school, and later, Pitbull, whom he played bass and directed for. Together, the twosome boasts an interesting and eclectic group of musical influences.
“Growing up in North Carolina, a lot of classic country. […] For me another big one was The Avett Brothers, which was a folk, bluegrass band, which really got me diving into songwriting,” shared Millsaps. Brooks added, “For me, I’ve got a little bundle. I’ve got some George Jones, some Hank Williams Senior, some Willie, some rock, Jimmie Hendrix.” The men even shared a like for artists like Lil Wayne to round out their unique taste in music.
The Turning Point:
Despite both loving music and wanting to create as artists, the men decided that they were comfortable in the background until they each met country artist Jimmie Allen.
“When I was out here for a job interview, staying at a hotel, I met Jimmie Allen on an elevator,” shared Millsaps. “I didn’t really think anything of it, but about 6 months later, I was downtown playing a songwriter round called Whiskey Jam and I saw Jimmie there and I was like “Hey do you remember me from the elevator,” and he was like “yeah man, can’t wait to see you play.” After that, he got my number and then he called me two weeks later and asked if I ever thought of being in a duo and introduced me to Leo.”
For Brooks, Allen was also an integral part of his journey. “So Pitbull told Jimmie about me and we ended up meeting at the studio and I showed him a couple of my songs and we vibed out together […] He called me two weeks later and say “Hey you want to be in a duo.” And I was like I’ll try it if it makes sense.”
After a brief FaceTime call, the twosome finally met in person. “As soon as we met in person, Leo flew to town, and we met over at Jimmie’s house, and he was very clear about how this has to be something that you guys want to do, but you have a big opportunity here,” they shared. “We went out for beers that night and we just clicked right away. […] We were like let’s have fun and make music.”
Just a day later, the men were in the studio together, and Neon Union was formed. “We’re like the same person from two different places. We even say that there is no way that Jimmie could have known it would work out this good.”
Flash forward to today, Neon Union is a true (and unstoppable) duo. “As far as the duo aspect goes, we want to keep it a true duo. A lot of duos in history have one voice and the other guy is just kind of singing backup or just playing guitar or something, but since the very start, we both wanted to take turns singing verses and flipping harmonies, things like that,” shared the entertainers.
Neon Union burst on to the music scene with their debut single “Bout Damn Time.” “It’s a party for us every time. We wanted to come out and kick the door down,” shared Neon Union about the single. “We had what we could call some safer options on songs that might have had a little bit broader audience or whatever, but that’s just us, we wanted to kick the door down and introduce us and be kind of rowdy, and be different. It’s all about different.”
Additionally, they shared, “That song was a really good introduction to us and to radio to say this is who we are and who we are is who we’ll always be. We’re not going to mold to anything.”
Neon Union also released a song called “American Dirt.” While the song is more vulnerable, it showcases the singers’ respective songwriting prowess, as well as their ability to craft a song that will get stuck in your head after the first listen. The songs will be a part of a bigger project, Neon Union’s first EP titled, Double Wide Castle Sessions, out this July.
Until then, be on the lookout for more new music from the duo, as well as, make sure to see them at select shows with artists and on the festival circuit! “We always say come to a show, that’s where we have the most fun with our fans.”
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Neon Union’s music is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.