Levi Hummon has country music blood coarsing through his veins. With a Grammy-wining songwriting father, Marcus Hummon (“Cowboy Take Me Away,” “Bless the Broken Road”), it stands to reason that the 27-year-old would follow along the same path.
“I come from songwriters, so I think it’s in my DNA,” Levi tells One Country. “But I truly love the art of writing a song about yourself and your story, and telling it to somebody, and seeing their reaction and seeing how they relate to it.”
With his brand new EP, Patient, released in October and his current single “I Still Do,” Levi, who co-wrote all six songs on the EP, has released his most personal music yet.
“I’m trying to find my voice,” Levi adds. “I’m trying to find out who I am as an artist and what my path is, and what the meaning behind all this is. I think right now, I’m in a really good state of mind, where I’m being as honest as possible.”
While Levi looks to his dad for advice, he’s making his own mark and finding out who he wants to be as an artist. Following an amicable split from his record label Big Machine, Levi finds himself free to put his own spin on his songs and find his own fan base—one that’s building quickly thanks to releases like “Change My Life,” “Songs We Sang” and “Patient.”
The singer/songwriter sat down with One Country to talk about his new EP, hanging with Tom Hanks and
Has your dad given you advice throughout your career?
“My dad, he was my first ever co-write in Nashville, it was immediately when I came back to Nashville from college. I was in school in Florida. When I got back here, he invited me in a co-writing session and taught me the art form of co-writing, which has been something I lean on heavily throughout my creative decisions and creative, just literally writing songs. It’s really a game changer for me, because I was writing songs my entire life, in and out of this phase of loving songwriting. But, the second I started writing, it’s when my songs just got way better, and it’s truly an art form in Nashville. The co-writing experience is something that’s really, really special to this town. He supported me throughout that entire process, and every time I wrote a song, he’d be way engaged.”
Do you run all your songs by your dad?
“As I’ve gotten older, I’m less and less about that, because I don’t want to be the dude that’s always relying on my dad. But it is important for me, because just like my manager or my publisher, I still look for that checkoff. His appreciation of my music is a big deal for me. But at the same time, if he hated something and I really felt like I loved it, I’d be like, ‘Too bad, I’m putting it out.'”
When did you start writing songs?
“I would always pick up a guitar, and it’s like a hobby for me. I would pick it up and I would never sing other people’s songs. It would always be something I wrote. But I wasn’t like, ‘I’m going to be a songwriter at a young age.’ I live my life and happen to write songs at the same time. The thing is, I was always creative so I was always writing, whether it be visual arts or poetry or sculpture or all different types of media. I was an art major in college. But honestly, music just took over. I fell in love with melodies. I fell in love with the songwriting process. I fell in love with even the idea of album art, and the creation process behind all of that. To me it was like, this is the most honest expression of myself I can possibly give.”
Did you always want to be in country music?
“I was always influenced by my dad, but I listened to everything from EDM to the Clash, to the Ramones, Jeff Buckley, but then at the same time, I’m listening to Rascal Flatts and Wynonna Judd and my dad’s stuff. And it’s crazy because as a listener, my genre was endless. I would just go from metal to serious EDM to Simon and Garfunkel. But whenever I pick up a guitar, it was just country music and it would be a song, it’d be a story song.”
Let’s talk about the single “I Still Do.” Can you share the story behind the song with us.
“‘I Still Do’ is super special. It’s the most melodically driven thing I’ve ever written. I wrote it with two new writers, Trannie Anderson and Danielle Blakey and they’re just awesome. They’re young and fired up. I’m not just writing with the top people in town, I’m writing with people that are hungry and up and coming. I think that’s been a huge inspiring thing too.”
Why did you want to call you EP, Patient?
“I always loved the title Patient because I feel like it relates to what I’ve been going through. I’ve been patiently waiting for this music to come out. I’ve been patiently waiting for a collection of songs I really believe in, that represent me as an artist. The title itself was supposed to be about this grandiose idea of what I’ve been going through in my life. And then, it became a song about a girl and it became —’I’ve been patiently waiting for a girl like you who loves champagne and sleeping in Sundays.’ But the title definitely relates to the last two years we’ve been on the road, grinding it out.”
Are you in the studio now? Can we expect a full length album?
“I definitely will be recording more music because, especially the world I live in, I have fans that are already hungry for more music. It’s been like a month. It’s insane. I definitely have a lot of songs. In the new year, I’ll definitely be in the studio again.
You toured with Kelsea Ballerini, Kip Moore and Sam Hunt. Is there anything you learned from them that you take away with you for your own tour?
“I think I take little bits away from each artist, in terms of just watching them and learning from them, because they’ve had so much more experience. You put that in your repertoire and then eventually you’re out there, headlining and somebody is opening up for you and they learn from you. So it’s just kind of this big cycle and family. It’s honestly like family out there. So it’s just important to learn from somebody and use them as a mentor, and use them as somebody that you look up to, and also learn from it yourself.”
Who were you listening to now?
“I love Thomas Rhett’s stuff. Actually, I really dig the Kane Brown record. I think, and I mean this the nicest way, I wasn’t expecting it to be as freaking phenomenal as it is. There’s some really great written songs on that project and he’s changed so much in the last three years, it’s pretty outstanding. I really love Chris Stapleton’s stuff. I also love the new Bozzi record and the new Khaleed record.”
You recently performed on the Opry, how was that experience?
“I had the most star-studded night in my entire life. We were playing the Opry, it was my eighth and ninth time, because I did two shows. I walked backstage and Rita Wilson is there doing her Opry debut, and because she’s there, her husband, Tom Hanks, was there. I’m out in the hallway and Tom Hanks is videoing Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts and Dustin Lynch all hanging out and singing a song for Tom. I just walk up to them and Tom was fully engaged, just had a long conversation with me. I don’t remember what he said. I blacked out. I was so starstruck, but I ended up getting a picture with Tom and Tim and they just hung out there. They are so cool. Tim was like, ‘I was a fan of your dad and now I’m excited to be a fan of you.'”
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As Thanksgiving week is winding down I just wanted to say how thankful I am. We released the #Patient EP a month ago and it’s been kind of hard to wrap my head around how amazing these last few weeks have been. Music has let me travel the world, meet some of the most amazing people, and has helped me find my voice. Here are just a few highlights from this month and this release.
Who’s your biggest inspiration?
“My dad is probably my biggest inspiration as a creative person. And a guy named Desmond Child, who signed me to my first publishing deal. He taught me not to sing inward, but to sing outward when you’re singing a song, even in a small room. It’s like, sing to the last person there, all the way out. And I just thought that was really inspiring.”
What does 2019 looking like for you? What can we expect?
“It’s crazy because it’s like the wild west in terms of, when you’re not at radio and you’re doing the independent game and listening to these streaming platforms, people want content. I’m definitely gonna put more music out, but I’m excited because I want to let these songs that we just put out live. I think as much content that people want, I want to let these songs grow and I want to see how they react to it. This path I’m on, I’m trying to be different. I’m trying to be honest. I’m trying to be myself and I want to see how people react to that.”