The other day Blues Traveler came on. You know the song. They only had the one back in the ‘90s, but it reminded me of how happy and free music felt. Today, it’s like everyone is mad – which, I totally understand given the current state of the world and the constant panic we all feel, but “Run Around” made me yearn for some positive, good-natured music. Thankfully, Stoney Banks came just in time with “See You Smile.” We talked with the Nashville-based artist about fusing two genres that feel quite opposite on paper, positive ways, and more in this brand-new back-and-forth exchange.
Kendra: Born and raised in Nashville, I would assume it’s hard not to be musical to some extent. However, when did that creative bug bite you?
Stoney Banks: My dad was always creating songs and paintings so I would love to make up songs and paint as a kid.
Kendra: On the flip side, you’re in the Country Music Capital of the world, but you’re out here making music that most definitely sounds like it’s played in a tropical climate, with sand underneath listeners’ feet. What initially drew you towards that sound, and was that always a style that you felt most at home with?
Stoney Banks: My folks were hippies so they always had some reggae music around along with folk, country, and rock. Bob Marley and the Wailers, The Police along with Inner Circle found its way to my ears a lot at a young age. I had always wanted to play in Rock bands too and I did for a long time and then after traveling through the Caribbean for several years playing music the tropical sound grew on me like a weed… that brings me to my next point, I do enjoy a good spliff from time to time as well! So with these elements, I’d say the tropical sound has sunkissed my Tennessee butt.
Kendra: Your latest single, “See You Smile,” like a lot of your music – just gives out good vibes, which I love to hear in today’s world with all the doom and gloom. Do you find that music allows you to tap into a level of positivity that perhaps other career paths may’ve otherwise not?
Stoney Banks: I think one’s positivity level is dependent on who you are and what you do. You get what you put into something! There are always challenges with any career and music is no exception. I’d say it is a monumental challenge to get your name/music heard as a music artist. But to persevere you have to muster a certain level of positivity and keep going! To me when the songs are positive and uplifting it helps fuel itself especially when people reach out and let me know that my song helped them. That’s what I call self-perpetual positivity!
Kendra: You dropped your first album back in 2020, and with new music out now – can fans expect a follow-up to ‘Sunburnt and Baked’ soon?
Stoney Banks: I have released at least 15 singles and collabs since I released Sunburnt and Baked such as Cheers with Mellodose, Ganja Man with Big Smo, and even a cover of Dwight Yokam’s “Guitars and Cadillacs” to a hot steppa rhythm. I do have an acoustic record in the works and for now, I’m just releasing singles every month or 2. I will probably put them together as a collection and add in some unreleased material for my next “Studio Album” but the way streaming algorithms work it’s best for an undiscovered artist to drop singles consistently in 2024 for now!
Kendra: I checked that record out as well, and when you sang in the title track of quitting and going to an island, I thought, “Same Stoney, same.” I look at older generations who seemed to love their careers and those 9-5s, but us – it’s just not it. Why do you think millennials, Gen Z – just over the traditional work establishment?
Stoney Banks: Because wages have not kept up with living expenses and materialism! As I’m sure you know Olver Anthony made a huge splash addressing these topics in summer 2023. Everyone is feeling the pressure as prices go up and wages stay the same. It’s mathematically unsustainable and brings a sense of apathy to the everyday man… Could go on for hours about the nuance of this question but I’ll keep it at that!
Kendra: Time for a side note – with February right around the corner, I’m asking everyone for their favorite and/or the best love song they’ve ever heard…
Stoney Banks: There are so many, but one of my favorites I was listening to most recently was “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake
Kendra: Lastly, with “See Your Smile” out now, what else can fans expect as we continue rolling forward in 2024?
Stoney Banks: I will be releasing some new singles and collabs! I will be playing at Music On the Bay Fest in Tampa on February 28th with my friends The Flip Flop Republic and will join them again at Ci-Key Tiki Fest in Cedar Key, Florida in March check my website for updates.