IndiesVoice Magazine March 2023

Songwriter Trace Thompson

Interview by Kathryn Shipley (KShip)

KShip: Trace thanks for joining me today, I felt compelled to reach out to you and share your story of something that we don’t read articles about in the Indie world of things, which is the Songwriter…Even though we all love you as an indie artist, you have now splashed onto the scene, and are swimming well amongst some of the top songwriters in the indie world. I know you write a lot of your songs, but how does it feel to write for others now, and collab with others, and when did you decide to ramp it up more to do songwriting with and for other folks? Trace Thompson: Oh wow…You’re blowing out of the gate as an interviewer, Kship! This could be such a long answer, but I could best sum it up as searching my heart a few years ago. Don’t get me wrong. I love being on stage, and there are very few things you can compare to the energy of an engaged audience. But as I started making headway on the artist's path, I had to ask myself what I could do in music to keep balance in my life. When I started performing again in 2012, I planned to stay single, book a hundred shows a year, do regional radio tours, etc…, and I think God had a good laugh at that. He had bigger plans for me which included blessing me with a beautiful bride, a blended family, and a growing career. After a bit, I could tell I was pressing too hard, and I felt myself constantly trying to bring that balance back even though my wife, Dana, supported my dream through it all. I’m very thankful for her grace and support through all of that as I had some selfsh moments. I'm pretty sure I have never been asked this question specifcally, but I appreciate it. I always keep things real even when it is uncomfortable, but I remember the exact moment I decided to shift my focus to songwriting if you want to hear it. I was literally at sound check at a larger venue that afternoon. I had run myself into the ground from running, prepping, and plugging this show for this last month. I also was feeling some guilt for missing the kids’ school event that afternoon, but I was battling my own emotions knowing I had worked for three years to even get into this venue to perform. At that time, I had two singles of my debut “Get It Right” album land on national syndication, recently won a radio network award, had a handful of artist nominations for the JMAs, and I think I had opened for three national country artists all that summer taking my total to something like a dozen national artists or something. Booking agents, band rehearsals, writing, industry meetings, promotions…I was full steam ahead. I should have been on Cloud 9, as my wife and I had spent the evening before talking about my frst legit artist development deal that we were presented with that week. It was everything I had set out to accomplish, but once I got there, I froze. I didn’t feel the same fulfllment I had started with seven years prior even though I had this dream since elementary school. That’s a scary place to fnd yourself if I’m being honest. At that point, I wasn’t just questioning what I was doing; I was questioning who I thought I was. So, I took my guitar of, walked of the stage, and I sat in the very back row of the auditorium. I had hit a wall, and I prayed for guidance…I turned it all over to Him at that moment. I can’t tell you much about the performance that night, but it’s safe to say it wasn’t the quality & passion I like to bring. In the following weeks, I turned down the artist development deal, was awarded a JMA award as the only 2x Modern Country Male Artist, and I connected with Kerry & Lynn Chater who had been through this shift from artist to writer themselves. And truthfully, they excelled at it! From that moment forward, I never looked back as every single person they connected me with was full of passion, and a love for God, and well, they were doing what God intended them to do as they food radio waves today with too much gold & platinum albums to count. I’m thankful for that journey and lesson, and I get up every day thankful to mold a song. KShip: Many don’t know you were a frst responder; I can say your kind of still are a “frst responder” because of what you are doing for not only the, “Give Back Jam” Charity but you have quite a few other charities, that you and your wife Dana are pouring your heart into. Can you touch on a few of these Charities, and how it’s played into your family life, and your professional career? Trace Thompson: I grew up around the fre & police service, so it kind of became a default path for me in my early years. My dad passed away when I was almost six years old after complications from serving in the army during Vietnam, and my mom remarried a few years later. So I kind of inherited that way of thinking as my Grandpa was a County Sherif and Town Marshall almost all of his life in addition to being a farmer, and my stepdad was also on the sherif’s department for a bit. However, his passion was the fre service where he served as Chief or Asst. Chief for probably close to a decade. They even dedicated one of the stations in his honor while he was still living. So that’s saying something in my opinion. As for me, I had a good run as a frefghter for fve years. I remember playing guitar in the engine bays with my crew in between runs and just always having a good time. I still have many of those friendships today, and I love that! There’s something that happens to your heart when you “serve” others regardless of what it is. Military, police, fre & EMS, teachers…there’s just something unexplainable about being in an uncontrollable environment and working together for the betterment of someone else even when you are at risk. My hats of to all of them, and I continue to help them by performing at charity events and special functions including school drives whenever I can.

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