Kevin Chambers, a transplanted singer/songwriter/pianist from the Big Apple.
Hometown: Greensboro, NC
Influences: Ben Folds, Sara Bareilles
Genre: Pop, Alternative
Favorite Venue: Cannery Row (Cannery Ballroom, High Watt, Mercy Lounge)
Where did your love for music come from?
“I enjoyed playing piano when i was younger, but wasn’t really pursuing it classically. But then I went to a Ben Folds concert and everything switched once i saw what he could do. I was like, ‘you can actually do that with a piano and not just play classical stuff?’ I immediately fell in love again and started learning everything Ben Folds had out.”
On both of Kevin Chambers‘ EPs, The Way Home and Starting Over, you can hear the alternative pop rock vibe inspired by Ben Folds and Sara Bareilles. Starting Over features songs with deep meanings and personal stories to tell. The EP includes ‘Starting Over,’ ‘Underground,’ ‘My Everyone,’ ‘The Way Home,’ ‘Sunny Skies’ featuring his sister, Meg Steedle, and ‘5:24.’
What is the story behind ‘Sunny Skies’?
“In our house in Greensboro, we have an attic with pictures of us growing up from the 1990’s to the 2000’s. This song is a way for someone to think back to their past and feel the memories with everything that happened in their childhood.”
Is ‘Underground’ a love song?
“Basically, you have a moment where you go down into the subway and see a girl across the platform. And you go on this crazy excursion in your brain that has you imagining yourself running through the subways and forgetting about everyone else, thinking we’ll just have this moment together.”
What you didn’t know about Kevin Chambers is that he packed up his bags and headed to Nashville in 2015, following a recovery period from a shocking stroke.
Chambers suffered from Arteriovenous Malformation, AVM for short, during his performance at a radio gig two years ago. He blacked out that night. Five and a half weeks later, the doctors found an aneuryism within the AVM, forcing him to take a pause on songwriting to fully recover.
“That following month, I couldn’t lift more than 5 lbs. I couldnt run, I had to walk. It was a solid hard month… but after that, i could do whatever.”
Did you have to re-learn how to sing?
“It [AVM] happened on the left side and all the creative stuff is on the right, the artsy side. I didn’t have to learn how to play piano again… I could still sing. Although… singing did take a while.”
Is that what inspired your Starting Over EP artwork?
“My girlfriend at the time had a friend who made collages and I said, ‘let’s have a picture of my face and we could do a collage on the left side of my head.’ I felt it was necessary because I wrote these songs right before I had AVM. When I had it, I didn’t know if I’ll play piano and get back to the music side of things. It was nice to have the artwork be some sort of shoutout to that time of my life.”
Did your experience with AVM trigger any new song ideas after your recovery?
“I’m actually writing that sort of thing now with Mary Jennings. She told me I’m gonna have to write about it at some point. We’re almost done with the song.”
Are you currently cowriting with anyone else?
“I’m writing with The Springs. I’ve never written with a country group, so we’ll see what happens.
What are your plans for 2017?
“I’m planning on getting a new EP finished by next Fall. I’ve been doing a lot of shows recently but now I’m trying to write new songs. There are a lot of various things out there that might come back as positive. I’m looking for more shows and would love to continue to perform songs from Starting Over.”
Why is Cannery Row your favorite venue?
“I’ve seen a lot of shows there…They’re all great venues in Cannery Row. I haven’t played there yet but want to one day!”
Want to see him live? Kevin Chambers plays around Nashville in songwriter rounds, showcases, and special events. Come see him play at Writers Unleashed at Blue Bar on April 18. He will be in the 7pm-8pm round with Amanda Breshears and Jess Helft.