Friday, Oct. 05, 2012
Tate Stevens looks to advance in X Factor
Hometown boy shares talent with the world
Meet Tate Stevens - a hometown guy with a big voice.
The Raymore resident put Cass County on the map with his vocal talent and country flair during the first episode of FOX TV’s talent show, The X Factor, Sept. 19.
During a spring audition in Kansas City, British X Factor judge Louis Walsh told Stevens, and the other judges which included Britney Spears, Demi Lovato and L.A. Reid, “We found ourselves a country star.”
The winner of the show will receive a $5 million recording contract with Syco/Sony Music.
With his talent, and sense of humor, Stevens’ newfound fame doesn’t come as a surprise to some. For those who know him best, this is the chance he has been waiting for.
“Everyone who is supporting this - from everything that makes me up - thank you for all the support and let’s keep this going,” Stevens said in an interview Sept. 26, to his supporters.
Raised in Belton, Stevens knew early on that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, Steve, also a country musician.
“I wanted to be like my dad,” Stevens said. “I love all kinds of music - I like rock and all that, but I’ve always been drawn to country music. Going fishing and hunting and everything with my dad when I was younger, while listening to country, had a big influence on my musical tastes.”
Stevens started playing the drums at an early stage, receiving his first set when he was only 4 years old, but remembers that singing was his first love.
“I used to sit in and sing with my dad’s bands when I was little,” Stevens said. “He’d put me up there (on stage) with him.”
Stevens later picked up the guitar during his senior year of high school, and after graduating from Belton in 1994, he hit the road to perform with the Dixie Cadillacs.
He traveled with the band across the country for about five years, performing in upwards of 200 shows a year.
“I was going to try to make it,” Stevens said. “I went to Nashville and recorded a record, and did the whole thing, and had some minor success.”
However, Stevens’ time in the spotlight began to taper. Two years after his son, Hayden, now 16, was born in 1997, he decided to come back home for good.
Stevens also has an 11-year-old daughter, Rylie.
“I decided it was time to raise my family and take care of them, so I got a ‘real job,’ as they say,” Stephens said.
Stevens’ has spent the last nine years with the City of Belton, working with the street department. Focused on working and caring for his family, Stevens took a few years off from performing, but eventually found his way back to the stage in 2004. He joined The Outlaw Junkies, and went solo four years later.
Over the years, he’s shared the stage with big-name country stars, including Jason Aldean and Brooks & Dunn.
“Cuttin’ my teeth at an early age, out there on the road, I’ve kind of honed my skills, to do what I do now,” Stevens said.
At his X Factor audition, which was held at the Sprint Center, Stevens performed Randy Houser‘s “Anything Goes.”
“I was pretty nervous, for the simple fact, that if you watched the show last year at all, there was no country music at all,” Stevens said. “I was a little nervous about being the only country guy in my audition, that I saw at the live auditions, I was the only guy in a cowboy hat and doing the country thing. I kind of felt out of place a little bit.”
Stevens tried out for the show at the urging of wife, Ashlie, and kids.
“I would never really do anything like this,” he said. “They said, ‘Dad, it’s here in town, just go try. Just go see what happens.’ We did, and so far, so good.”
Stevens’ performance charmed the audience to a standing ovation.
Pop star Britney Spears handed him the highest praise, “You are my favorite so far, and I love you.”
L.A. Reid also had some kind words to offer the new star.
“It’s still very surreal, and still kind of mind-boggling for me to think that four minutes that I was on TV, has done what it has so far,” Stevens said. “It’s pretty cool when someone like L.A. Reid tells you that he thinks you’re a star. People like that don’t talk to me.”
Stevens said the comments were words of confirmation.
“It was kind of validating for me to actually have the people were sitting in front of me, being who they are in the industry, say such nice things,” he said. “Hopefully it will continue through the next few steps and we can make it to the live show.”
Contestants who survive the first auditions, which Stevens did, then graduate to Boot Camp and will be divided into four categories - Boys, Girls, Over 30s and Groups.
Each category are mentored by one of the show’s judges.
Not only is it a competition between the hopefuls to stake their claim for the coveted win, but it’s also a showdown among the judges as to whose acts will dominate the competition and make it to the finals.
The judges may have their say in how the competition progresses, but it’s up to TV viewers to ultimately choose a winner.
Stevens couldn’t say much else about the show, which has been prerecorded. Final contestants will be featured in a live show that will air in November.