Tate Stevens will try to convince you that he’s just an average guy from Middle America. But there’s something special about this former road construction worker. Even Simon Cowell could see it.
With his booming voice and likable personality, Stevens not only won over the American public on last year’s season of the X Factor, but the four very opinionated judges, which included Cowell, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato and his mentor on the show, record executive L.A. Reid. The Belton, Missouri, native knew from the moment he started recording that he wanted those two winning traits to show through on his self-titled debut, out now.
“As an artist your albums are part of you,” Stevens told Radio.com. “To do an album that represents me as an artist and a person for the most part, that was what it was about.”
He added, “I wanted people to see my personality. I love having fun and I like kicking back and…I tried to make sure that that came across.”
For that reason, the album, which Stevens started recording in January, only two weeks after winning the show, features only two ballads: “Ordinary Angels” and “Power Of A Love Song,” a song he knew he had to record the moment he heard it.
“Everyone loves love songs,” Stevens explained. “They move you emotionally, good and bad. They can take you places.”
Stevens also felt the song gave him a chance to show off and really make it his own. “I get to wail away,” he said with a smile. “Just let her fly, which is fun for me.”
Stevens co-wrote three songs on the album—“I Got This,” “Can’t Get Nothin’ Done Around Here,” and “Ride It Out”—but says with the time constraints of recording, he didn’t mind leaving the writing to the professionals.
“I’m a terrible songwriter,” Stevens joked. “Fortunately for me, there’s a lot of great ones out there and they’re gracious enough to let me sit in the room with them.”
One of the songwriters that let him take a seat at the table was Joe Diffie, a country artist immortalized in Jason Aldean’s current single “1994” and someone Stevens calls “hands down one of the best country singers we’ve ever had.” That being said, Stevens admits, not everything he worked on during his writing sessions was a winning song.
“You really go into the room or the studio or wherever you’re writing and you start kicking ideas and you just start writing,” he says of the sessions. “Sometimes they happen really quick and sometimes you write all day and you still don’t get it or you don’t get anything that you really want to use.”
When the latter happens, it’s nice to be in a music town like Nashville. “There’s guys that do it and they’re great at it,” he explained. “So it will never be a worry of running out of great songs.”
In the end, Stevens believes he made an album that will make his X Factor supporters proud. He’s even hoping he can gain a few new fans and break sales records with the release. Stevens already has some ideas of how he can do that.
“I need a couple hundred thousand people to buy it the first day and then a couple hundred million,” he said. “It’s a good Christmas gift. You know stocking stuffers, things like that.”