Ty Stone Recalls First Meeting Kid Rock and Brings ‘American Style’ to Country Music
Warner Music Nashville's new star on the rise is Ty Stone. He has already struck up a strong following with fans of southern rock/country with his down-to-earth attitude and the way he belts out songs that mean something to listeners. Stone got his musical start after being discovered by Kid Rock, who wasted no time taking the young singer under his wing and giving him the chance he most certainly deserves.
Stone's debut single, 'American Style,' impacted radio only a few weeks back, and it has quickly become an anthem for the hard-working men and women of America. Taste of Country was fortunate enough to sit down one-on-one with this rising new star for the latest in our introductory series. Without further ado ... ladies and gentlemen, Ty Stone!
Kid Rock had a huge part in you finding success in the music business. Can you tell us the story of how you two met?
My friend Sam had tickets to a Pistons basketball game in Detroit. His sister gave them to him. She worked for the Pistons organization. She was like, "Oh, you should go to the game. I can get you tickets where the owner sits … sometimes Kid Rock shows up." So he goes to the game, and sure enough, Kid Rock shows up. Finally, like the third quarter, Sam walks over to him -- he was hammered -- he said, "Listen, I don’t want to bother you, but I have this demo. You should come hear it. This guy’s from Detroit. He has a lot of soul. He’s living out in L.A. trying to make it." Kid goes, "Well that’s his first mistake -- living out in L.A. -- but I’ll listen to it!" Sure enough he listened to it that night, and he had given Sam a call about getting a press kit on me. He was like, "Sure … what exactly is in a press kit?" [laughs].
One night I’m cooking hamburgers at this bar in L.A. and the phone rings. I don’t recognize the number, so I sent it to voicemail, thinking it was a bill collector. I go out on my break 15 minutes later and checked the voicemail. I can quote his entire message! He was like, "Hey man, this is Kid Rock -- I love your s----, and I love your music … I want to talk to you about your future.' I was like, "Oh my God!" So we started talking and became buddies. He came to L.A. and saw a show. He then moved me into his house [in Detroit]. Everyone -- whether you’re a musician or not -- dreams your favorite star or rock star is going to pull you out of your hamburger job and move you into their home. It’s just weird to actually be living it.
How would you describe your music to someone who's never heard of you before?
It has sort of a southern rock influence to it. I like to think of it as a modern day Johnny Cougar Mellencamp or Bruce Springsteen or Bob Seger. It’s very, very song based.
You wrote every song on the 'American Style' album. Was that something that you were pretty set on doing, seeing how songs are so important for a newcomer trying to establish a style and sound?
Absolutely. I’m a songwriter, and my music is very song-based. That’s why I love country music so much. As much as I love Pink and Beyonce, you’re not going to hear songs like you do in country music. Country music is filled with great, great songs. I’ve been writing songs my whole life, whether it was for an outlet or for the sheer joy of writing a song. I am very, very passionate about songwriting. When I’m 60-years-old, I want to still be a songwriter.
Talk a little bit about the album's first single, 'American Style.'
Every word of that song is literally the story of what was going on in my life when I wrote it. I didn’t realize that until after I had written it. I loved the song, and it goes over so well when we play it live. People are screaming and on their feet during it. It’s cool to see that there is somebody out there who feels the same way as me about the song. It’s connecting to the world. I love that song. It’s definitely my favorite song on the album. I’m really, really happy about it. When we play to these packed houses, the crowds get crazy and fired up when we play 'American Style.' It's so fun. It’s like I’m living my wildest dream.
What kind of advice would you give someone trying to break into the music business?
My only advice in this business is if you play music, make music, you love it and it’s got a hold on you, by all means, do it. If it’s going to be your career, then it’s all about persistence. It takes an overnight success 10 years to break into this business. Take every little opportunity. Some people get to just sky-rocket up to the top, but it isn’t going to last like it will for the people who take it one step at a time. Even if you fall down a couple of steps along the way, it’s OK. It’s kind of like [that game] Chutes and Ladders! You just need to hang in there, keep working and try to learn from everyone.