This 24-year-old man who grew up on his grandfather’s farm in Polk County, GA is poised to take country music by storm by having his first independent 5 Song EP debuting at #72 on the iTunes country chart and being featured in the Pepsi’s Up and Rising Stars multi-state tour. All of the success coming his way is because he is doing his thing, writing songs he feels, and just being Preston Summerville. Preston is spending time in Nashville writing part-time but is looking for an apartment to rent while he is working in Nashville. Preston has just released a 5 song EP on I tunes as an independent artist and if being an independent, unsigned artist helps write and record songs like are on the EP, I say stay independent.
Preston Summerville was born in Carrollton, GA but lived to Rockmart until he was 10 and his family built chicken houses on his great grandfather’s property in Cedartown. He grew up on the farm in Cedartown. He attended Cedar Lake Christian Center Christian School until his senior year when the school closed down. He went back to Rockmart High School to graduate and considers himself just a good ol’ Polk County boy.
Music seems to have been around Preston his whole life. Preston’s dad knew 3 or 4 chords that he use to pick around on the guitar and make up songs about the boys Preston had over to spend the night. His dad would make up silly songs. At church, Preston wanted to play drums. While is father was working at a hurricane clean-up his dad bought him his first set of drums at age 12 . Preston would play “Old Time Rock and Roll” over and over until taught himself the drum parts perfect on that song. He got his first guitar at 6 but at 11-12 he played more for his friends. He would sometimes find himself sitting at school wishing it would hurry up so he could go play is guitar and drums.
Preston and his buddies started a christian rock band at the age of 15. He said “we would go to these little venues with 8 other bands. We had a 30 minute slot, set up, and bang out 3 songs as fast as we could.” This is where the love of performing comes from for Preston. He said, “I just loved to be on the stage”. Growing up on a farm inspired Preston to start writing about his life at 14-15. Listening back to the songs he thought were “cool songs then” shows him just how far he has come,but as Preston added “You’ve got to start somewhere.”
Preston and I talked about influences and favorite singers. “The Highwaymen and The Outlaws are definitely my favorite.”, Preston told me. Then the list of singers that we talked about next made me love Preston just a little more than I already did before the interview. Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Hank Jr are who Preston was drawn to but also growing up and finding favorite songs, he loved Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, Brooks and Dunn. He feels the influence from all of these powerhouse country singers but if you ask him who he admires the most in today’s music, Preston will tell you Eric Church. Preston said he is a fan of an artist that writes their own songs. He told me, “being a song writer, I know how good it feels to write a really good song, play it in a different state, and have fans tell you that the song meant something to them. I find it just as pleasing to the heart.”
Preston talked about being a fan of Brantley Gilbert as well as Eric Church. We talked about the split in country music right now. Preston says that he tends to take the more rock side of country. Preston says he will write any style of song because he likes to challenge himself but also “a good song writer should be able to write anything.” He takes such pride in song writing that he is always pushing himself and stepping out of the box. Preston truly feels that a lasting song is not writing about what everyone else is writing but is writing more about what he feels. He does get some ideas from people but he never sets out to write a “radio song”. He doesn’t want to sound like everyone else but writing about he feels because he has to feel, believe, and lived what he is writing. The real songs are the songs that he feels will be “standing last” and not always writing the catchy radio trends. I asked the all important question if he was interested in selling any of his songs or would he prefer to keep them all for himself? Preston responded,”I am definitely interested in having someone cut one of my songs.” I asked Preston would it be a dream for Eric Church to cut one of his songs and he said “that would be top-notch”.
Preston has gotten to play some really awesome places and with the new Pepsi On The Rise Tour he is seeing other people singing his songs back to him. He finds it so rewarding that people are relating to his songs. He feels that you spend so much time working to have the crowds hear your songs and finally they are relating to them validates the hard work. He told me that having people sing the songs, love the songs, and relate to the songs gives him “assurance that what I am out here doing really makes sense and has a purpose.” He wants his listeners to feel his music. (This is my favorite thing about this entire interview.) Preston told me, “the day I have 10,000 people singing my songs back to me, I am probably going to hit my knees and cry like a baby.” He said it is that “awesome feeling you get deep that makes you feel appreciated”.
We talked a little about one of the songs on the EP he has out now. We talked about his song “Bow My Head” (which is a phenomenal song). He said that he didn’t write it as a christian song but wrote it about his faith, life, and experiences. He feels that the song tells the listener exactly who he is and what he is about. We also talked about the song writing process for Preston. He talked about he doesn’t have a formula that he uses every time. He sometimes writes down titles of songs and develops around that title. Sometimes he sits down with a piece of paper and writes out some that are goofy, serious, complicated and sometimes he has a verse pop in his head that fits in with one of the titles he wrote earlier. The process always varies. He talked about some of the songwriters that have been taught the structure and feel like there are rules to writing a song. He adds of course there is a song structure but he writes it as it comes to him.
Preston talked about his wife and being a newlywed. He told me that his wife 100% supports what he does and sees how hard he works. He told me she “loves me for who I am and I am as real with her as I can be.” He has written several songs inspired by her.
Preston would like to stay independent for a while. When he makes the decision to sign with a label he wants to be real picky. He wants to make the right decision and not just jump on the first deal that he is offered. If being independent allows Preston to open for some of the folks he has opened and record the music he is recording, I say stay be picky. He has opened for Glen Templeton, he opened for GA/FLA Line and Sam Hunt when they played in Rome. You can add to list acts like Thomas Rhett, Joe Diffie, Frankie Ballard, Parmalee, Chris Lane Band. He is coming back on the Pepsi On The Rise Tour to Rome at the Brewhouse on March 14th, 2015. Also listen out to 94.9 The Bull Backyard Country Saturday night for the song “Home Town Pride” as well as a station in Augusta, GA and a couple of stations in Kentucky. I say this a lot about the articles I write, but I want everyone that reads this to remember the name Preston Summerville. He is going to be blowing up your radio for years to come. I have posted links below to Preston’s website, YouTube, and Facebook.
Video for “Bow My Head”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64saexU7_Oc
YouTube for “Home Town Pride”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JebAnLeuwkQ