On the third episode of the Agents of Innovation podcast, my guest was Steve Everett, a musician who lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Steve was born in Albany, GA and raised in North Carolina, where he also studied music at Appalachian State University.
In addition to playing music venues across the country, Steve talked to us about how he has gotten creative in finding new audiences. He now does home shows and online shows (including his famous “cigar & a song series”). In a tough economy for everyone – but especially for independent artists like Steve – many of those traditional live music venues don’t tend to have the built-in crowds they use to.
When he’s not touring, Steve delivers pizza and moonlights as a Lyft driver. And, from time to time, he does landscaping and other handiwork projects.
“I’m very much an entrepreneur,” said Everett. “I’ve had a million awful ideas and I’ve tried all of them, at least temporarily. And I’ve had to fail miserably. And I’m just now, at 30 years old, some of them are hitting. I’m finally able to tell the good ideas from the bad ideas.”
“For me it’s just come down to that first rule of business and entrepreneurship: address a need. Find a need that is there or a void that’s not being filled and then fill that void.”
A need must be being met as Steve’s music and fan base is certainly growing at a rapid pace as of late. This past year, he played on The Rock Boat – a floating music festival of about 3,000 music lovers that has sailed 15 times over the past 15 years. Playing on the boat this year was a longtime dream come true for Steve. And he gained hundreds of new fans from the boat – many of which are now hosting him for home shows or tuning in online for his “cigar and a song” series. Recently, Sixthman, the company that runs the Rock Boat, has announced that Steve Everett will be playing on Rock Boat 16 in January 2016.
About two years ago, Steve was invited to join the board of directors of Rock by the Sea Charities, an organization that puts together music festivals to raise money for causes such as the Pediatric Brain Tumor program at the Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando, Camp Sunshine in Atlanta (for kids with cancer), and Now I Play Along Too – a charity that donates musical instruments to kids in difficult situations. This year, Rock by the Sea raised enough money at its May event to be able to donate a combined $40,000 to these charities. Over the past 9 years of its existence, Rock by the Sea has donated over $400,000 to these charitable causes.
The Agents of Innovation podcast features conversations with entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and artists. We have all three in Steve and therefore featured him as the only guest on episode three.
“My kind of personal philosophy is everyday I be the best version of myself I can be, make the best art I can make, pay my bills, and have a great time,” said Everett. “As long as I’m doing that, I’m not taking anyone else’s liberty or ability to do whatever they want away.”