Who is Stephen Wilson Jr.? The singer-songwriter joined us to chat about his journey to country music. Get to know the rising star here…
Full Name – Stephen Wilson Jr.
Birthdate – July 11th
Hometown – Seymour, Indiana
Current City – Nashville, Tennessee
Musical Influences – Willie Nelson as a guitar player and singer, Roy Orbison as a singer and songwriter, The National (the band), John Mellencamp, and George Jones.
Label – Big Loud Records
Current Single – “American Gothic” ft. Hailey Whitters (As of article date – 5/22/2023)
Today’s spotlight shines on the true definition of an artist. Stephen Wilson Jr. is the real deal. While his upbringing was not exactly easy, he came away with a great respect and love for music, inspiration from his late father, and passion like no other for the craft.
“I’m from Southern, Indiana […] The birthplace of John Mellencamp. He was a big influence on my town, and my culture, and the soundtrack of the town,” began Wilson. “I grew up with a lot of honest music.”
Wilson recalls loving both country music and classic rock music. “I grew up listening to music that whole time. My grandparents were really big into Johnny Cash and Hank Williams and my dad was big into classic rock and 90s country music at the time,” shared the singer-songwriter. Wilson Jr. also remembered riding on the bus for hours a day to school, listening to even more country music. “I spent a lot of time listening to Nashville songwriters [on the bus]. I just knew that the songwriters were incredible.”
While music was something he loved from an early age, Wilson inherited his father’s skill and love for boxing. “I spent a lot of time in boxing clubs and boxing gyms watching him fight […] By the time I was seven years old, I started boxing too,” he shared. Adding later, “My first stage was not a stage at all, it was a boxing ring.”
The Turning Point:
Wilson went on to box through college and his early 20s, all while continuing to perfect his guitar-playing skills, living in Nashville. “Music has always just made sense to me. I just always understood it and when I got a guitar, within six months I was just flying on that thing,” he shared.
During his senior year of college, Wilson began performing professionally for the first time. “I started an indie-rock band there during my senior year of college. […] We just kind of had a thing going and that’s where I learned to be a performer,” he stated. “Not in a million years did I ever believe I would be a lead singer or a frontman.”
Despite loving music and performing in the band as a guitarist and back-up vocalist, Wilson left the band to take a job as a scientist, something he pursued in college. Although he was no longer performing, songwriting was something that had become important to him. “I got put in one of those songwriting rooms in Nashville, and it was game over from there […] It never left my mind to be a songwriter and write songs.”
Eventually, after being rejected numerous times by different studios for publishing deals, Wilson was welcomed with open arms by BMG Nashville. He was offered a publishing deal on the spot. Years later, he would go on to secure a record deal with Big Loud Records.
Flash forward to today, Wilson is making his father proud, as he lives out his own dream and passion in honor of his memory. “He was like the sun to my solar system, and it was like the sun just got a bucket of water thrown on it. It really derailed me and rewired me and changed me,” he shared when speaking of his debut project, bon aqua.
He credits those experiences for inspiring his project. “I hope to continue to be a good stenographer with a poetic edge,” he shared. Songs like “The Devil” and “Hometown” just poured out of him, when he decided to create something as an artist. “I went in and just recorded some songs just to see what would happen. […] I just knew it was something that I had to do.”
Bon Aqua is something special, and the full-length album is coming soon. “For me this EP and this album is a record of time and it’s me record keeping one of the worst times in my life and one of the most transformational times in my life and perhaps the best time in my life all at once.” Fans can be on the look out for more to come from Stephen Wilson Jr. in the near future.
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