Levi Hummon may be young, but at 24 he’s already proven himself to be a workhorse on both Music Row and the road – touring with Kelsea Ballerini and Maddie & Tae and writing songs daily for the past several years with some of the town’s best collaborators. But he’s yet to put out a collection of his own material – despite a growing fanbase that’s gravitated towards his optimistic, pop-centric take on country that blends sheen and style with a little southern swing. That will change on April 1st, when Hummon releases his self-titled, five-song EP, a preview of which is streaming exclusively below.
“I’ve been writing for two and a half years professionally, Monday through Friday, once or twice a day. And I have a ton of songs,” Hummon tells Rolling Stone Country. “What I wanted to do [on the EP] is showcase five songs that best represent me as an artist right now. People’s reactions on the road also defined it – it’s a great organic process. With a song like ‘Life’s for Livin’, people would start singing it by the second or third chorus – the first time hearing the song.”
Indeed, “Life’s for Livin’,” the EP’s opening track, has been a crowd-pleaser live – thanks to how it both showcases Hummon’s crisp, diverse vocals that can juggle attitude and aptitude in one line and a chant-along vibe that sits somewhere between Ed Sheeran’s peppier moments, pre-1989 Taylor Swift and his genre-blending contemporaries like Thomas Rhett. Co-written with Matt Jenkins and Jimmy Robbins, it’s one of four songs Hummon has a credit on – and cutting someone else’s track to complete the EP wasn’t a decision he took lightly.
“I have a deep love for people like Jason Isbell and Taylor Swift who wrote their entire records,” Hummon says. “And I have the songs for that, but it’s important for me to have the best record possible. If that means cutting an outside song, then that’s OK.” The song, “Love You Hate You Miss You” does blend well for it’s slow-chugging acoustic-meets-R&B tone – but perhaps one of the EP’s strongest moments is the power ballad “Guts and Glory,” a workingman’s anthem that’s part Keith Urban, part Will Hoge.
One of Rolling Stone Country’s Artists You Need to Know, Hummon grew up in Nashville surrounded by the business of country music – his father, Marcus Hummon, is a lauded Grammy-winning songwriter who’s had cuts by Rascall Flatts, Tim McGraw and the Dixie Chicks. In fact, some of Hummon’s first tracks were written with his dad, including “Make It Love” from the film Two: The Story of Roman & Nyro, which ended up on the Oscar shortlist. Since then, he’s collaborated with the likes of Jon Nite, Shane MacAnally, Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose, and helped craft Steven Tyler’s current single “Red, White and You.”
“Growing up in the business I learned that, as a new artist, you have to remember to always be original and unique but also remember those who came before you,” Hummon says, “and use them as motivation. And I also learned that you have to realize you are not in control of what happens. You have to do your thing, and things will fall into place. If I can believe that, I’ll be successful.”