Rising Country music talent Levi Hummon discusses his recent single “Don’t Waste the Night”, living up to his successful dad, and what led him to follow his passion for music.
It is never too late to find a summer jam and Levi Hummon’s song “Don’t Waste the Night” has all the potential to be just that. Influenced by Ed Sheeran and housing a sound that blends the heart behind Country music and the catchiness of Pop, “Don’t Waste the Night” leaves the listener taking the lyrics to heart and wanting to go out to the person they care for and not spend the night alone inside.
The Nashville-native proclaims happily that the single shows the direction that he is heading as an artist. “I really do love Pop melodies but I also love songs with a story and songs with meaning and heart,” says Levi. “I’ve been listening to so much. Everything from Sam Hunt to Ed Sheeran to the new Keith [Urban] record – it’s all my influences in one.” He even cites “Don’t” by Ed Sheeran as direct inspiration for “Don’t Waste the Night”.
“I had this cover of a Tracy Chapman song called ‘Fast Car’,” he says, thinking back to the very beginning of the creation process for his single. Levi points out the “iconic” riff of the song, as well as listening to Ed Sheeran’s “Don’t” while heading to a cowriting session where, “Those two meshed in my head and I had this idea. ‘Oh, don’t waste the night!’” remembers the singer. “[It is] part of this story where this guy didn’t want this girl to go to bed and to cover over to be here.”
He stepped in to the session to write that idea and says that his co-writers Josh Thompson and Matt Dragstrem jumped onboard. “Later that day I had rehearsal and I just put that song into the set and it ended up being really, really cool,” Levi says fondly. From there, the artist added the song to his live shows where fans demanded to know where they can get the song. “I was like, ‘Well, if you guys are requesting it this many times, we have to put it out!’”
You put in so much hard work and as an artist, your job is being a professional dreamer and a hoper that your dreams are going to work out.
The song was released in late April of this year and the response had been wonderful. Though Levi had played a quite a few shows right when the single came out, it wasn’t until after his media promotion and an Alaskan tour with Amy Grant, amongst other artists, that he truly felt the impact of the reach of his song.
“I came back [from Alaska] and flew into a Chicago and played, really, my first Levi Hummon crowd since I had put the song out and had a massive response,” the songwriter reflects. His excitement was still present weeks after the show as he described fans rushing from the back of the crowd towards the front of the stage to sing the song back to him. “It was literally like five hundred people screaming it, so it was amazing,” he says, still in awe. “For me, it was reassurance,” says Levi of seeing, and hearing, fans recite his songs. “You put in so much hard work and as an artist, your job is being a professional dreamer and a hoper that your dreams are going to work out.” Having that kind of experience with a crowd felt like proof to Levi that if you put your heart and soul into something and believe in it, it will happen and work out.
He adds onto this the news of “Don’t Waste the Night” hitting one million streams on Spotify just a day before speaking with Teenplicity. “That alone was like, ‘Okay, people are actually listening to it and legitimately streaming it.’ People really, really care.” The rising talent even says that he gets notes written to him all the time and the entire experience is awesome.
Of course, one million streams is not the end for his list of accomplishments. “I think this is going to be the first of a million [streams], that’s the goal,” he says, both hopeful and confident.
Thinking of the song that helped him reach a career first, Levi picks right when the chorus kicks in as one of his favorite parts. “I remember falling in love with that melody, and personally as an artist, I love like falsetto flips when you go to that really high note,” he explains. “That’s an iconic thing for me. Almost all my songs is trying to go for those crazy melodies that are really memorable.” Lyrically, he picks the portion of the song where he sings, “Come on, come over; stay up, stay over.” Discussing this part, Levi says, “That to me is kind of repetitive and cool, but I thought it was saying it in a new kind of way.”
“Don’t Waste the Night” marks Levi’s first release since that of his self-titled EP in 2016. The singer reveals that he had been on tour at the time of the EP creation and wanted something to expand the experience past the concert.
“I was on the road,” he explains, “and legitimately had no content out on the internet whatsoever. I was going out to these places and I was a Big Machine artist.” While he notes that being a singer under the label is notable in its own right, he says he needed something “concrete” that people could get their hands on. “That was the goal – to release [the EP] and allow people ot have something to listen to, to take away from the concert, and have something to sell at the merch table.” He also points out that the song “Guts and Glory” featured on the EP led to a partnership with Ram Trucks. “That song allowed me to tour the country in the back of a Ram Truck.”
Not only did Levi get to tour but he remembers with a warm heart that in addition to getting to meet fans, the tour with Ram Trucks also let him help communities out as well. “During that tour, we actually delivered water to Flint, Michigan,” he remembers, “and visited VA Hospitals. It was really, really special.” He says this time on the road and getting involved with communities across the country was “good for the soul”.
I think it’s really important for me to learn a lot from my dad, and I have learned a lot from my dad, and continue to learn a lot from my dad, but also to develop my own sound.
With all the achievements that Levi has reached in his career and the incredible songwriters he has worked with, his outlook on music has not changed greatly. While more exposure and greater songwriters to work with has its pros, he admits with a laugh that it is harder for him to finish a song by himself because he knows if he waits, or writes half of it, another writer is going to jump on it and turn it into a hit. “So that’s one thing,” he says. “Another thing is I’m born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. I grew up in this community and my dad’s a songwriter so from day one, I knew at least [what] the structure for a commercial song was.” According to Levi, being in Nashville and having the community around helps with creativity. He adds, “[The] best part of Nashville writers is they know how to help an artist find its own voice and for me, that was a big thing.”
He remembers not knowing necessarily who he was an artist, though he could note that he knew how to write a song. “Out of years of writing and sometimes five times a week, sometimes two times a day, I kind of developed my own sound.”
Having his own sound was imperative for Levi, especially when one considers how revered his father Marcus Hummon is in the Country Music Capital of the World. It’s worth noting that his father even earned a Grammy for Best Country Music Song for Rascal Flatts’ version of “Bless the Broken Road”.
“If I try to live up to his achievements, I’m going to be… messed up,” Levi says with a goodhearted laugh. “I think it’s really important for me to learn a lot from my dad, and I have learned a lot from my dad, and continue to learn a lot from my dad, but also to develop my own sound,” the songwriter expresses. “I don’t think there’s ever really a giant shadow over me but I definitely feel like there’s an attempt to be my own identifiable person,” admits Levi.
Though it is always good for Levi to be able to bounce ideas off of someone with experience and who knows who he is personally. When asked about the difference of songwriting advice from his dad versus other notable writers, the singer takes a second to laugh as he obviously dips in thoughts of various conversations past.
“My dad… I’ll occasionally butt heads with him. It’s like if it’s my dad, I’ll at least argue with him.” He says, revealing, “With other writers, I’m more complacent.”
When it comes to his personal songwriting, Levi finds most inspiration through breakups.
“It’s funny because occasionally you’ll go through a breakup or something and kind of write a song by yourself and it’s utter gush,” he dishes. “I usually tend to think the best songs are really emotional.” That is why he claims his best material comes from a breakup. “It allows even sometimes happy songs for me because I’ll sing about the good times,” admits the songwriter.
“I think part of going through something traumatic is it allows emotions and inspiration to be at your fingertips and you can really feel it and kind of know where it’s coming from so therefore you can write about it easier.”
Though it may be easier to write for himself, he isn’t so ready to pass along the lyrics to another singer. However, Levi will leave his options open to a collaboration with Keith Urban.
I even play a show and I look back and it’s always the best show of my life because I’m constantly learning and I’m constantly pushing myself.
“I’ve always been creative and I’ve always loved the idea of being creative,” he says of his passion for music and writing. “I love painting, molding, trying to write books, and trying to do random stuff – like always kind of creating.” In fact, prior to choosing music as his career path, Levi studied painting in school. “I think [creativity] comes from my family – the idea of creativity and championing kids that might not be lawyers or doctors but will be [in theater] and singers.”
The idea to switch from painting to music comes from his personal feelings that painting limited him. “Music has this whole palate, this whole new thing. Once I started diving into it, I found I’m more melodically driven and more lyrically driven,” he says, comparing the idea to wanting to describe a word rather than paint it.
From making that choice to where he is today, Levi states that he’s grown in every way. He laughs as he says, “Every day I look at myself – I even play a show and I look back and it’s always the best show of my life because I’m constantly learning and I’m constantly pushing myself.” Looking at his past performances or antics, he can’t help but cringe sometimes, too. “I always have those awkward memories where, ‘I can’t believe I used to sing that song!’ or ‘I can’t believe I used to do that on stage!’ I have those every day.”
Though Teenplicity shared that he’s not the only one to have those moments, he jokes, “Mine are #cringeworthy.”
For fans who want to witness Levi’s growth firsthand, he reveals that he’s looking towards the fall with some “secret dates” for concerts that are coming out soon.
“I am also going to Europe for the first time and touring there,” he adds. “I’m going with the Country Music Association and we’re doing five days in London with the CMA Country Music Week. Then I’m going to do another thing in Europe with Country Music Association that’s me. Brandy Clark, Michael Tyler – actually my dad is coming on that one!” He excitedly looks forward to touring Europe, noting the stops to include Oslo, Norway, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Berlin, Germany, and Stockholm, Sweden, before returning to London, England. “I’m really excited because I always wanted to do a Euro trip so this’ll be my Euro trip!”
While he will be busy performing and traveling across Europe, Levi encourages fans to follow him on social media. “There will be more music soon,” he dishes. “I’ll be announcing tour dates soon so just go follow me and stay tuned!”
Be sure to grab Levi’s single “Don’t Waste the Night” on iTunes now!