615 Spotlight: Phoenix Stone Rising
615 Spotlight: Phoenix Stone Rising

There are a lot of talented newcomers in the country music world these days. You might not expect one of them to be a former member of the Backstreet Boys. But, for Phoenix Stone, an early member of the boy band who has just released a brand new country single, it's a case of back to the future.

"It's funny. I did a show on Nickelodeon that was shot in Orlando, and from there I always did want to sing country music, because that's what I grew up on. I went to Nashville and got a writing deal with Warner / Chappell. At the time -- and this was the late 90s, nobody wanted a young kid to sing country music. Everybody said 'You need to go live a little. You need to experience life, so you can write about the things that the country audiences wants to hear about," he recalled to Billboard.

However, his talent was about to get heard. "I got a deal with Universal Records in New York. They liked the songs I was doing, and liked my voice, but they asked me to do a pop record. So, I did."

It wasn't his first choice, but he knew he couldn't turn the opportunity down. "You know the saying that beggars can't be choosers, you've got to pay the bills," he says with a smile. "At that time, my draw from Warner / Chappell wasn't too big. Everything brings you to where you are today, and I'm very excited to make music that I love, and be able to tell my story with my music. That's what I love about country music. I write and produce all my own material, which is reflective of my lifestyle and who I am. That's what I appreciate about other artists in the genre, so I'm really happy to do that."

Stone's new single is titled "100 Proof Moonshine," and he's just announced a unique marketing alliance to promote it. "We've just done a partnership with Ole Smoky Moonshine, which is an amazing company. A few months ago, I was in the Smoky Mountains, and stumbled upon this store that sold moonshine. I love having moonshine parties, and having friends over at the house, just having fun. Then, the song came along, so now we are in a partnership with them. We're going to take some moonshine out on the road with us on a radio tour."

Stone has also been very aggressive at promoting his music from a viral level. "It's really amazing all the things you can do online. It's really a direct link to the fans which I love. I put a song up from the new record on YouTube, and it's had three million views. I love it."

He has just about finished his debut country album. "We've got ten or eleven done, out of fourteen. We've just about got it finished," he stated. When asked to describe his style, he allowed that "I grew up listening to classic country and southern rock. Of course, as a kid, I would listen to what was on top 40 radio. I just combined all of that, and try to remain as honest to it as we can."

Stone said as far as goals go, he is just happy to be showcasing the music he has always wanted to do. "Number one, I am just really excited to be making music that I love, and we're getting ready to go out on a radio tour, and I would love to be able to take the music that I love out there on the road to them as well as the fans. That's what I love and want to be!"