The songwriters behind the songs, the voice behind KIX Country 98.7 | palm coast
The world’s top songwriters come to Palm Coast for the annual Palm Coast Songwriters Festival, April 28-May 1, at the Daytona State College Amphitheater. These writers have collectively written hundreds of hit songs, many of which you’d recognize even if you’re not a country music fan. Last week I caught up with Kandi Lowe, a KIX Country 98.7 DJ who has interviewed many songwriters for her own show which will air on KIX from 6-7pm Sunday through April 24, the Sunday before the festival. . You can get festival tickets at www.palmcoastsongwritersfestival.com. The following is an edited transcript of the Q+A video, which you can watch below.
What are some of your favorite moments from these songwriter interviews?
One of the first stories I heard was of a man named Kent Blazy who discovered Garth Brooks. Garth was selling boots and wanted to do demos in his studio. So they sat down and wrote together and shopped the songs. No one wanted Garth; who wants to hear a guy named “Garth”? After shopping for it for a year, Garth Brooks played it one night at the Bluebird Cafe, and someone from Capitol Records was there. The rest, I guess they say, is history. So it became his first No. 1 song: “If Tomorrow Never Comes”.
And Kent Blazy is one of the people who come to the Songwriters Festival.
Yes, he is coming back. He’s been here for a few years. The first year we had a handful of songwriters, and it’s growing every year. Many of them like to come back, and we also add new faces every year.
[RELATED: Check out this 2019 interview with a songwriter who is returning this year to the festival: James Slater.]
Who else have you interviewed for your show?
Brock Berryhill, Paul Overstreet. Jeffrey Steele returns; he has an incredibly long list of hits he has written. And I still actively talk to them about gigs, because our songwriters are still writing songs; their songs always go up the charts. It’s not like it’s over with them.
You almost feel like you’re in a living room with the songwriters, and they’re just telling you their stories, so it’s a different experience than what you hear on the radio.
Another song you mentioned when you were preparing for it: “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” (made famous by Kenny Chesney).
Paul Overstreet was telling me he was with his wife and they were in the grocery store. And she was all over him. And he’s kinda like, “What are you doing? We’re at the tractor shop. So gave him this little look, and as he walked out of there, he started singing, “She thinks that my tractor is sexy”, and he started singing it to her in the kitchen. He used to sing it to his friends as a joke, and they all thought it was great. So it evolved from there into a great song.
It seems to be a common theme: songs turn into songs by accident.
Many of them will literally walk around with their phones or voice memos, and if anything comes to mind, they’ll mention it in their phone. And then later on, when they’re trying to come up with something to write about when they’re with some of these big stars, they pull out some of that material, and some of it clicks right away. Some of them will take years to click.
What is it to be a DJ? Do people recognize you in a grocery store by your voice?
It happened at drive-ins. They say, “Is that really you? Well, I have something very special for you. So in that aspect, it’s fun.
Do you like the music you play? Do you secretly want to play rock or rap instead?
Almost everyone likes a whole range of music. Country will always be part of my heritage. I grew up in East Tennessee, and all the music I heard with my cousins at Christmas was country. It’s embedded in my DNA.
The pandemic has sent you and many others home to work. How did it go for you ?
Sometimes I do the show at the KIX studio (in Bunnell). I live in St. Augustine, so during the pandemic they helped me build a studio in my closet, just so I wouldn’t have to go outside if that wasn’t doable. So yeah, you’re sitting in your closet, and your clothes are hanging here, and you’re talking to everyone and no one at the same time.
What inspired you to do your KIX show about songwriters?
I do a lot of production for the stations, and I was writing the promos for the songwriters show. And we were looking at the huge number of hits they have, top 25 of top 5, and it was just overwhelming. There is no way to reach them all. But some of them are such great stories and songs that I decided, let’s expand on that. So everything you hear on the show during that hour is mostly written by one of our songwriters. They are all at least in the top 25 and above. But some of those people could have literally hundreds of hits.