STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
By this time next month, country singer Stephen Schriner is hoping to leave his third-shift job behind and move to Nashville.
Formerly an indie pop/rock musician in a band called First Thing’s First, the Boothwyn resident’s debut country song, “Mix It Up,” can be found on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and the major social media platforms. Check out https://twitter.com/StephenSchriner, www.facebook.com/StephenSchriner and www.youtube.com/user/StephenSchriner.
According to Schriner, on “Mix It Up”’s first day of release in February, the song was No. 6 on iTunes’ new country music chart.
“I started writing it in August 2014,” Schriner said of his “radio ready and mainstream” single. “I probably changed it three times before I got the version I wanted. I recorded everything here with a couple of musicians. I sent it off to be mixed in Nashville.”
At the first listen to “Mix It Up,” it may be hard to believe he’s from this area. “You start to develop the style and develop it in your own way. When I first started playing country music, I posted a cover (of a Florida Georgia Line song) on Instagram. It’s funny — I had no twang at all,” Schriner said.
A series of 15-second Instagram videos followed.
“To me, country’s a lifestyle. I don’t have to be born on a farm or live down south to be country,” he said, noting that his grandfather exposed him to the songs of Johnny Cash, George Jones and Loretta Lynn as a child. He grew to look up to singers like Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean.
Out to finish recordings he started in January in Nashville, the next step is to complete a six-track EP by late spring or early summer. “I really want to try to diversify the album. I don’t want to keep writing about girls and all that,” Schriner said, adding that he has songs about relatable topics like summer and hanging out with friends.
Down south, Schriner already has an important ally in the scene with a close friend he formed a band with back in middle school — Wild Bill Ingram, a touring singer/guitarist. However, he knows that finding a place to play his songs in front of people is “definitely going to be difficult” because a majority of the live music venues that he’s scouted out favor cover bands.
When asked about his musical style change, Schriner said that many of his social media followers have continued to follow him. He also said that instead of wear tight-fitting clothes and “partying all the time” like a rocker, country music feels “more real” to him. “It’s definitely a laid back atmosphere,” he stated.