Interview | FFS 5 with Graham Stone

Photo by Joey Wharton / Courtesy of Baby Robot Media

You can’t turn on the television or flick through your social feeds without being bombarded with bad news. “It’s like the whole world’s got the blues,” Americana singer-songwriter Graham Stone feels that lyric in his bones, it’s an apt summation of his new album, Bad News. Still, somehow he manages to provide hope and spread compassion through warm guitar chords and a voice as smooth as your favorite whiskey, but that doesn’t mean he won’t raise a little hell along the way. 

Please tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how did you get started in music? Any defining moments along the path to present day?
I was born and raised in Virginia, currently living in Richmond. I got started in music really after years of playing music with my family; my dad and most of my siblings play. I think the defining moment for me was probably finishing my first record. I’ll never forget the feeling of all that hard work paying off into something I could hold in my hand and share with other people. It’s still why I do it! 

As an artist, how do you define success?

This is such an important question and one I’ve actually given quite a bit of thought to. I think for me, success looks like the ability to continue creating music long term–in a way that is sustainable for my family. I hope to be writing and recording songs 20 years from now, you know? That’s the biggest thing. And then of course I want hone my craft. I want to understand music more fully and get better at every instrument I can get my hands on. I’d want to be able to play a small room anywhere in the country and for a dozen people to show up to listen because they love the songs. 

What do you find to be your greatest struggle when it comes to the music business?

I think the social media struggle is real for me. I get that it’s an important way to keep people informed on where you’ll be and what you’re doing but I don’t think it’s something I’m naturally good at. Maybe one day I’ll have somebody doing all that kind of stuff for me or it’ll be so automated it will just take care of itself.   

What do you think is the most realistic goal you can achieve as an artist/band? What do you hope to achieve?

I think this goes back to the success question, and I totally think it’s realistic to continue creating music in a way that is sustainable long term. To continue writing, recording and releasing music that connects with people. That’s what I hope to achieve and I totally think that’s a realistic goal.

Outside of music, what do you like to do that you feel contributes to the creativity that you tap into for your music?

Well, I really enjoy spending time outside in nature and with the people I love. Hiking, fishing or sitting in a chair having a cup of coffee. Morning time, night time. Doesn’t matter. To me that’s the communal side of what’s good for the soul. The more solitary side I think for me is just being alone and being mindful. That is what really helps me recharge and sort through my thoughts. It’s also usually where I’m most productive. In a place of mindfulness and solitude.