The summer weather is finally making an appearance which means driving with the windows down, summer concerts and drinking a lot of alcohol. As the days get longer, there is nothing better than taking a drive around town while listening to up and coming artists and new music. Levi Orr has a lot to offer and is an artist to keep on your radar moving forward. I sat down with Levi Orr and talked about his single "Bigger Fish", the craziest thing he's seen on Broadway and what career he would pursue if it wasn't for music.
Get To Know Levi
"I'm originally from a small town called Mils River, North Carolina, which is about 25 minutes south of Asheville. I was born and raised there, grew up listening to Country Music and have listened to it my whole life. Some of the first influences that I remember hearing on the radio were the 90's guys, like Alan Jackson, George Strait and Brooks & Dunn. I grew up in church and never ever sang a note until I was 14 years old. I was in church and had some friends that were in the choir. They somehow convinced me to join the choir, which was a whole other experience. From there, I started singing and got comfortable enough to do solos in church. I came to Nashville when I was 13 or 14 years old for CMA Fest one year and randomly decided this is what I wanted to do with my life. Before that, I never thought about being a musician or an artist as a career, I thought people just happened to do it. I didn't even think of seriously pursuing music until I saw how many musicians there were. Being in the environment of Nashville with all of the history and music scene I fell in love with the city. I texted my friends back home and told them I wanted to pursue music. I started taking voice lessons and learning guitar as soon as I returned from Nashville and after that it was playing shows in church, in breweries around my hometown and college bars. Now I'm in Nashville doing it."
Traditional Country To The Core
If you are a fan of Traditional Country, Levi Orr is an artist to check out. Influenced by the stars of 90's Country, Levi showcases a deep, smooth voice intertwined with vibrant storytelling. No snap tracks or beats, just transcendent vocals and catchy lyrics that pull you in. "Bigger Fish" is a song that puts a playful spin on a break up or of a significant other cheating. Instead of getting emotional about it, you just kind of shrug it off and crack a smile and move on. As Levi says "Honey quit wasting my time, I got bigger fish to fry". A fun tune from Levi Orr.
Inspiration Behind "Bigger Fish"
Written By: Levi Orr & Ty Graham, Produced By: Grady Saxman
"This song was not planned at all - and those are sometimes my favorite songs to write. I wrote this song with my buddy Ty Graham. The first time we got together to write was actually the first time we met. We introduced ourselves and sat and talked for 30-45 minutes and shot the breeze. We started to throw out some ideas for songs and nothing was really standing out. We then just started talking about females and the Nashville scene and at that time I said "I really have no interest in dating anyone, I got bigger fish to fry". And that's how the title came out. Ty was like "man, we should write a song about that", then I repeated the phrase enough to where it makes sense for me to have a song by that title. We wrote the first verse and the chorus and then one of us had something we had to do so we didn't finish. At this time I was looking for what my next single would be. Once we finished the song, I looked at all the songs that were contenders and I knew "Bigger Fish" was the one. Like I said, this song was a complete accident and a single came out of it."
Q & A With Levi Orr
Q: What was that "light bulb" moment that you knew you wanted to pursue music?
A: "It's actually funny thinking about that question now. As I said before, I came to CMA Fest when I was 14 and loved Nashville and everything going on here. But honest to God, the "light bulb" moment for me - it sounds so dumb - was before I came to Nashville. My friends had a game on their playstation called "Sing Star" which is like Guitar Hero but for singing. It's about matching pitch. At that time, I didn't sing but my friends wanted me to try because it was the Country edition. I did play and I won it. Then I played with other groups of friends and nobody could beat me. It wasn't because I was the greatest singer in the world, I was just really good at watching the line and matching the pitch. I came to Nashville for CMA Fest and there is this big hall of vendors and Playstation had a whole set up with a "Sing Star" competition. I went in, signed up and won the thing. The song I won with was "Our Song" by Taylor Swift and I was competing against a lady in her 50's or 60's. I felt bad taking that from her. After that I was thinking to myself, I love this city and I just won this competition. I won a reusable water bottle so it wasn't a big deal, but the combination of those things made me want to pursue music. My mind hasn't strayed from that since."
Q: What was the experience like moving from your hometown to Nashville?
A: "Honestly, I thought my experience went very well. I was very fortunate when I was in college. I went to Clemson and was president of an organization called CMA EDU, which is a college organization started by the Country Music Organization for students to get involved and learn about the industry before they move to Nashville straight out of college. Through that organization I was able to meet a lot of people before moving.
As far as the transition process from back home to Nashville, it was a pretty easy transition. Those friends were really good about taking me out to Midtown and Red Door and Loser's and introducing me to everybody. I did learn how to be collaborative as opposed to competitive. I thought it was just a big competition to see who could be the best artist and very cut throat. But really, it's about finding your group of people and helping each other out. Since coming to Nashville, I've seen people come and go. Some people move here and after a few years realize that it's not for them or they feel like they aren't making it anywhere so they go home to pursue a “regular” career. It's all about how hard you work and how bad you want it. For me, there isn't another option. If I don't make it in music, I will be miserable the rest of my life."
Q: What's the craziest thing you've ever witnessed on Broadway?
A: "I've seen quite a few things on Broadway... it's a shit show. Actually, one of the craziest things that happened to me occurred recently. It was in the middle of the day at 5 o'clock in the afternoon and I was standing by the pedestrian bridge. There was a cop in a full out pursuit of this dude running, the cop tackled him on the sidewalk and was calling for backup. This was in broad daylight and I was so confused about what was going on. I've had buddies get into fights and stuff like that. Every once in a while you will have that crazy person that just runs up on stage and the bouncers drag them out. It's always something."
Q: If it wasn't for music, what profession would you have chosen?
A: "My dad and brother run a construction company so that would always be an option. I've worked construction before and there are parts of it that I enjoy and there are parts I really don't. The weather could be super hot in the summer and in the winter you are freezing your ass off. But honestly, I'm a huge beer drinker and where I'm from there are a lot of breweries. I think it would be cool to learn how to make beer and start my own brewery. I haven't thought too much about an alternate path because like I said, I don't see another option for myself outside of music."