Be patient — This business takes time…..a lot of time. You cannot rush the development process for an artist. It’s important to work hard every day, but to be patient in the process.
As a part of our series about Nashville’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Raleigh Keegan.
Raleigh Keegan’s determination and no fail attitude has helped him achieve over 3 million collective streams and a social media following of over 150,000 fans since selling his house and moving to Nashville in 2018. Born inside the Columbus State Penitentiary where his biological mother was serving time for drug-related charges, Raleigh was adopted and raised by a loving family in Cincinnati. Self- taught on both piano and guitar, Raleigh always had a passion for music, but after an injury sidelined his college football career from Georgetown College in Kentucky, he decided to pursue his dream of writing and playing his own songs. He booked his own shows, averaging over 100 a year, and focused on growing his streaming numbers and keeping new music out for fans. Since 2018 Raleigh has released 3 EPs, encompassing 20 songs and earlier this year he started a podcast. He describes his sound as “as organic as possible — a mixture of both old and new country, with a splash of soul.” He recently finished 14 new fully produced tracks with the first, “Way Back,” debuting in September and the second, “Another Good Day,” premiering November 6.
Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?
I was adopted when I was a baby after my mom had me when she was in prison. My parents raised me in the suburbs of Cincinnati and I had a great life growing up there
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
After playing football in college, I became a personal trainer, but it’s like music would not leave me alone. I listened to the Zac Brown Band record “Uncaged” in my car for about a year straight and fell in love with country music. On my lunch breaks as a personal trainer I would write songs and start learning how to build a following online. I knew I needed to quit my job because when I was training people I couldn’t stop thinking about music and I started to suck at my job haha!
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I was on stage and hit my head on my piano and it started bleeding, but I just kept going. Is that interesting or tragic? Good question haha!
Can you share with us an interesting story about living in Nashville?
I think it’s cool how really famous people are out and about all the time without much of a worry. It’s not odd to see Keith Urban at a coffee shop and it be normal. It’s cool how Nashville works that way.
Can you share with us a few of the best parts of living in Nashville? We’d love to hear some specific examples or stories about that.
The best part about Nashville is the creative spirit and the writing. EVERYONE is good (well, lots of people haha). It’s incredibly inspiring and challenging to know when you go to write on Music Row that the bar is super high, because everyone all around you is incredible.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Once I drove 28 hours to a gig in North Dakota for a Tuesday night gig and I played to 1 person for 4 hours straight and they didn’t clap once. It’s both tragic and funny haha. I learned to not drive 28 hours for one gig, but the real lesson was that if I could make it through THAT and not quit, I may have what it takes to really do this for a living.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I think I would be remiss not to mention my wife. I can’t tell you how many times I was at a low point and she said “keep going”. It has been incredibly hard on her as I have fought and fought to make this dream a reality, but she has always been solid.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am in the process of finishing my debut album!! I am stoked for that, and the first single from the record is called “Way Back” and it’s out everywhere now. The next track “Another Good Day” is coming Nov 6
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Be patient — This business takes time…..a lot of time. You cannot rush the development process for an artist. It’s important to work hard every day, but to be patient in the process.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others — This is the killer of all joy. Don’t rob your joy and compare yourself to others.
3. Focus on your journey — My journey is my own, and yours is your own. There is no “one way” to do this job.
4. Do what sets your heart on fire — If a song doesn’t move YOU, don’t record it. You’ll be stuck with a song you hate and miss out on singing something that really could have blessed others.
5. Rest — I wish someone would have told me to rest. In our society hard work is valued as it should be, but I don’t think rest is valued enough.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Be patient, be secure in God’s plan, and take a day off. Are you a napper? Nap. Take care of yourself so that you can be at your best.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Being an adopted person, I would love to see that process become easier and more affordable for families. I would still want the vetting process to be thorough, but I’d love to be able to help more healthy adoptions happen here and all around the world.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Character is defined by what you do when no one is looking.” I’ve always like this quote and it has motivated me throughout my life and career to work hard and not lose sight of what’s important.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Can you set me up on a breakfast meeting with Chris Stapleton? Would love to see if his beard stays out of his way when he eats.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can follow me everywhere @raleighkeegan
Here’s a link to my newest single “Way Back” — https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/raleighkeegan/way-back
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!