Newcomer Filmore mixes country with a subtle bit of Latin flair in his debut single, “Slower.”
Already named one of Sounds like Nashville’s Ones to Watch in 2019, the Wildwood, Missouri native has so far brought in more than 27 million streams with the track – and that’s just on Spotify alone. Now it’s out at country radio, set to shake up country’s ever-so-slightly by mixing the smooth soul rock of artists like Keith Urban with the hooky exhilaration of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s 2017 mega hit, “Despacito” – plus a big dose of feel-good vibes.
Filmore has been in Nashville almost seven years, and tells Sounds Like Nashville where his one-of-a-kind style comes from, and where it fits in today’s country genre.
“Where I grew up is like the edge of suburbia meets the middle of nowhere, about an hour outside of St. Louis,” the fresh face explains. “Music wise, I think my influences are just like anybody else. I grew up with the internet, so I could explore through that and then there were three main radio stations everyone listens to – one pop station and two country stations, so that’s how it all evolved.
“I think country is obviously tradition and roots and it’s all about storytelling,” he goes on. “But outside of that, I think what it’s evolved into is the genre of America. It is filling this overall void where it’s becoming part of pop culture.”
Like a lot of new artists, your sound is a fusion of modern country, R&B, pop and a bunch of other stuff. Where does it all come from for you?
I feel in love with country in middle school, mostly. My dad listened to it my entire life, but my step dad was super into music. He was like an ‘80s deejay, so there was a lot of John Cougar, Van Halen, Def Leppard, that kind of stuff, and my mom is from Columbia in South America and moved to Missouri when she was 15, so there was random salsa music in the kitchen every morning. It’s honestly just a melting pot of everything for me. [Landing in country music] just came down to the storytelling aspect I was putting into my songs in high school and college.
Was coming to Nashville always on you mind?
I knew in high school I wanted to come to Nashville, but at the time I was super involved in sports. I thought that was my end goal, and then I got a vocal scholarship to University of Missouri, which changed a few things for me. I did the lead in a musical – and I’d never done a musical before, or since – and just a bunch of other random things I got sort of thrown into by a choir teacher. They weren’t really things I wanted to do, but it was like ‘You should do this,’ and I thought ‘Why not?’
You also had a band in college, what was it like?
It was pop country, I’ve always done the same stuff. That was more three-part harmony oriented and a full band, though. It was kind of modeled after Love and Theft’s first record, Runaways, back when they were a trio. And then Rascal Flatts as well, that whole trio-harmony style. The writing style was definitely the same and in that pop country vein. I’ve always been obsessed with a hot banjo and steel. (laughs)
Tell me about “Slower.” It definitely has that hot banjo, but also a cool vocal delivery. Where did that come from?
Honestly, I played Stagecoach two years ago, and remember that “Despacito” song by [Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin] Bieber? There are plenty of influences that come through when you’re songwriting, but that dramatic pause before the chorus in “Despacito” was very much a theme of the Stagecoach weekend. It lent itself to the dramatic pause in “Slower,” and it just felt so cool that I wrote what I was feeling. I love to live in the moment, and ever since high school I live my life very much like it’s my last night – staying out, enjoying people, always holding on to moments as much as I can and not being on my phone as much, just literally trying to be present. I think that song was just me trying to define that. So it really is an up-the-middle song about making time move slower, but I think some people need to take a second and actually do that. That was the vibe and idea.
And that’s kind of what “Despacito” means, too. It means “Slowly” in Spanish, right?
Yeah, and that was an accident. I didn’t even think about that while we were writing it.
What should fans be on the lookout for this summer?
A lot of festivals this summer. I’m looking forward to the endless touring and building a story. Outside of that, we’ll be putting new music out in the summer and that’s the best part of signing with Curb – the freedom to continue putting out music. I want to keep feeding the fans and telling the story, I don’t want to sit back on one song and wait another year before releasing something. I think in this day and age, people want it faster – which is no pun against “Slower.”