Sean Stemaly Draws Upon His Life Experiences and Rural Upbringing On Debut Album, ‘Product Of A Small Town’
“I want people to really get to know who I am as an artist,” Stemaly shared upon the release of his debut album.
Sean Stemaly; Photo by Chris Hornbuckle
Rising country artist Sean Stemaly made the decision to leave behind his family’s excavating business and move to Nashville, TN to pursue his budding music career instead. He returns to his roots in his debut album, Product Of A Small Town, to tell the stories of his life growing up in what he calls, “Kentuckiana.” This combines the two states he spent most his time growing up, between his mom’s side in Kentucky and his dad’s side in Indiana.
“That’s what they bred me for pretty much. I was always supposed to take over the business cause I’m the only one that can, I’m my dad’s only son, so it was always up to me. They put that pressure on me,” Stemaly told Country Now and other media outlets of his family’s business back home. “When this singing thing came into play, it was weird at first because I could tell that my grandpa was disappointed that I wasn’t going to be there, but eventually before he passed, he told me several times that he’s proud of me and that I’ve made it.”
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Stemaly has already made some friends in the music industry to help guide him through the big adjustment of leaving the fields of “Kentuckiana” and moving to the bright city of Nashville. Since making this lifestyle change, he’s had the chance to share the stage and sit down to talk with the likes of HARDY, Chris Lane, Morgan Wallen, Riley Green and LANCO.
“HARDY, whenever we were on the road with him we had talks about the next steps. Morgan [Wallen], he’s given me a bunch of advice, Stemaly revealed. “Chris Young sat me down at the Tin Roof once and gave me a life-lesson talk. I was kind of shocked by that because we didn’t really know each other, that was the first time I had talked to him and he said, ‘come sit down with me.’ This is a very supportive system we have here in Nashville; I’m super lucky that people like that believe in me or even want to talk to me.”
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Recently, he also had the opportunity to work in accordance with renewed producer Joey Moi and co-producer Derek Wells to bring his current project to life. Stemaly co-penned eight of the 14 tracks off this album, drawing inspiration from what he knows best, which is growing up listening to old school country while working on his tractor, making memories with his friends on those late nights and all the experiences life has thrown at him since then.
“It’s just like if you used to play baseball, you could tell all about it,” he explained. “So that’s where the writing comes from, that’s why a lot of it is super specific sometimes, like ‘z71’. There’s a lot of farm mentions and it’s just telling stories.”
“We’re the product of a small town/Rowdy southern drawl crowd/Muddy water mason jar lighting in our veins/Work a blue collar 40 for a Friday night/Till it’s noise complaints and blue lights/Cranking country way too loud/We’re the product of a small town,” he sings in the chorus of the title track.
When he moved to Nashville, Stemaly brought his talent, his determination and…his nickname, which can’t seem to shake. As a teen, he picked up the name Sean “Deere” from his fashion choices and now, it’s followed him to Nashville as well.
“Pretty much everybody in my hometown, that’s what they call me. Nobody calls me Sean. I got that nickname when I was a freshman in high school,” he recalled. “It was originally to make fun of me because back then, boots and jeans weren’t cool and now everybody that used to make fun of me for doing that wears boots and jeans everyday. ‘Sean Deere’ was originally to poke fun at me and by senior year, it was cool. I was thriving by then; I had lost about 60 pounds. I was a lot better in high school at the end of it than the beginning for sure. The name just stuck and I didn’t think it’d follow me to Nashville until Seth England and Joey Moi found out that’s my nickname.”
Stemaly is all about telling his stories through his music so being that this nickname says a lot about who he is, it has the potential to be incorporated into some unreleased projects one day, he revealed.
When it comes to performing, Stemaly explained that he would be more than content if that’s what he’s able to do for the rest of his life because it gives people the chance to forget about the hardship that comes from life and just immerse themselves in music for awhile. Soon, he will be bringing the tracks off his new album, including the previously released “Z71″, “Product Of A Small Town”, “Come Back To Bed,” “As Far As I Know,” and more up on stage with him.
“I want people to really get to know who I am as an artist. It’s been my opportunity to tell my story a little bit in song format,” he stated. “Every song is different, it’s not sonically the same anywhere in my opinion. There’s different life scenarios that I’ve been through that I know other people have been through as well, and I just hope they can get to know me and know I’m just like them. Just because I’m a singer doesn’t mean I’m above anybody. The only difference between me and the audience is I got a different job. That’s how I want people to perceive it because that’s how I look at it.”
His life may be in Tennessee right now, but deep down he will always be the boy from that small town he knows and loves so much. The “Kentuckiana” native makes it point to go back to his home when he’s able to so that he can stay grounded and won’t end up losing himself in the midst of the crowded city.
“It’s definitely still weird dealing with traffic every day and all the big city stuff, but Nashville’s great, I love living here. I think there’ll be a day I move back out to the country for sure, hopefully in the next couple years, but I still haven’t gotten adjusted to it,” he explained. “It’s too city for me, but it’s necessary for my job and it’s what I had to do.”
Sean Stemaly’s Product of a Small Town is available now.
Product of a Small Town Track List
1. “Product Of A Small Town” — (Sean Stemaly, David Bleik, Gary Garris, Andrew Marik, Noah Smith)
2. “Last Night All Day” — (Matt Dragstrem, Ben Johnson, Hunter Phelps)
3. “Can’t Be Me” — (Sean Stemaly, John Byron)
4. “Z71” — (Sean Stemaly, Andy Albert, Brett Tyler)
5. “Speaking My Language” — (Sean Stemaly, John Byron, Blake Pendergrass)
6. “Comeback Town” — (Jesse Frasure, Ashley Gorley, Ernest Keith Smith)
7. “Love Me Like Kentucky” — (Sean Stemaly, Ernest Keith Smith)
8. “WD-40 4WD (feat. Jimmie Allen & Justin Moore)” — (Matt Dragstrem, Chase McGill, Josh Thompson)
9. “Back On A Backroad” — (Michael Hardy, Josh Kerr, Cole Taylor) *
10. “Georgia” — (Sean Stemaly, Davis Branch, Sam Grayson, Ryan Robinette) **
11. “If Heaven Had A Weekend” — (Sean Stemaly, John Byron)
12. “As Far As I Know” — (Hunter Phelps, Jameson Rodgers, Justin Wilson)
13. “Hello, You Up” — (John Byron, Jamie Moore)
14. “Come Back To Bed” — (Sean Stemaly, Andy Albert, Jared Mullins, Alysa Vanderheym)
* produced by Joey Moi and Lex Lipsitz
** produced by Lex Lipsitz and Sean Stemaly
Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.