Meet Nashville’s Rising Stars: Seth Alexander

An Interview With Ming Zhao

Ming S. Zhao
Authority Magazine
Published in
9 min readAug 31, 2022


Confidence is key. They say: “fake it till you make it” or at least that’s how I began in Nashville. But, at some point, you have to quit faking it and just be confident. When I became confident, I found that people would believe and respect what I had to say. On stage, you have to be confident to be believable.

As a part of our series about Nashville’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Seth Alexander.

The age-old adage for country music hopefuls is that “Nashville is a ten-year town.”

Seth Alexander threw that metaphor out the window.

With his “head down,” he was determined to take the fast track to jumpstart his recording career.

The Oregon born dream seeker moved to Music City in 2018. Within 12 months of his arrival, Seth’s day job landed him a chance meeting with one of Nashville’s respected producers, Richard Donahue. Donahue, who was a former band member of The Accents (signed to RCA Records for 12 years), transitioned to artist development and production. The two quickly developed camaraderie. The working relationship brought Seth into the studio where he recorded alongside the likes of Kerry Marx (Musical Director for the Grand Ole Opry), Catherine Marx and Tommy Harden (Reba’s keyboard player and drummer) and Tony King (harmony vocalist for Brooks and Dunn).

Seth’s musical tastes were influenced early on by the tunes that sang from the car stereo of his grand dad’s old red Datsun (Haggard, Jones, Keith Whitley, George Strait and Garth), and “cousin Bobby” who played at fairs and festivals, and carried Seth in tow. Seth learned to play guitar as a six-year-old on an instrument that his grand dad bought for him at a garage sale. Honing his song craft, Seth took cues from Bobby and two of his favorite songwriters, Craig Wiseman and Jeffrey Steele.

An active member of the Music City community, Seth maintains a steady writing appointment schedule with some of Nashville’s finest; he’s performed at notable venues including The Local, Live Oak and Commodore Grille. With a knack to frame a realistic story supported by strong catchy hooks and dynamic instrumentals, Seth’s talents rise above the smoke and mirrors, and vanilla sugar coatings. …and it’s his love of God and passion for his music that make him a standout.

Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?

I grew up in a small farm town in Idaho, where we had not one traffic light! It was a rural community and we didn’t have to worry about the big city crime and noise. Everybody knew everybody, and everyone helped everyone. I was raised by a single mom and my two step sisters. My father was the one you’d hear about in conversations, the guy who went to the store for milk and never returned. Most would be hurt, but as a young man, I kept it together well. Growing up, I always looked up to certain guys and thought to myself, “if I had a father, this is what I would have wanted it to be like.” As a young boy, I was abused, beaten and downgraded by a man (my step sister’s father) who never should have been around our family home. Growing up, I learned to be tough or get a black eye. At the age of 11, I learned the value of a hard day’s work. I would go around and do lawn care work for folks in the neighborhood. I met some of the coolest, nicest, most enjoyable people. It was a family of people that I loved to be around. I played a few sports in school, but my main goal was to work and when I was 16, I got my pilot’s license. The community and how I grew up plays a big factor in who I am as an artist and as a person. I lived what I sing about. The stories I write about are those that I’ve lived firsthand.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

When I was six years old, my Grandfather gave me my first guitar and said, “Okay son, you know what to do with it.” From then on, I knew music was meant to be in my life for the rest of my life. Still to this very day, I have that old yard sale guitar my grandfather gave to me.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Since moving to Nashville and being in the thick of things (writing and recording), I’ve learned some of the ins and outs of the music business and how it works behind the scenes. As a country music fan listening to the radio, you only know what you are told about the industry as a whole. I’m not saying everything about the business is bad, because it is not, but if you have the cards that control the hands of the other, you win.

Can you share an interesting story about living or working (recording) in Nashville?

My producer Richard Donahue introduced me to Kerry Marx, the Music Director at The Grand Ole Opry. I have been working with him since 2018 and it’s been a grand learning experience. There are two types of musicians in this town, professionals and amateurs. Kerry is a professional. As a young artist who came into town with big dreams, bright ideas but no understanding of the music business, Richard and Kerry helped me to go from “amateur” singer to “professional” singer in just a matter of time. I’m in a much better situation because of these two men. These two gentlemen are the people I can call or text and talk about anything.

What are your favorite things to share about living in or visiting Nashville? Please offer some specific examples or stories about your “Nashville” experience.

I love the culture and the people in Music City. Everyone is inviting with open arms, some more than others. I love the food in Nashville. It’s cooked with soul and heart. Every store I’ve walked into always has a welcoming atmosphere and employees happily greet me with, “Welcome; how can I help you?” It’s real “southern hospitality!”

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I came to town, I thought I was a great vocalist, but I soon realized that I had to get a vocal coach. I found Judy Rodmen and Kathy Chiavola. I have learned so much from these two wonderful vocal coaches. Everyone in this business needs help sometimes and this was one of those times.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person, or persons, who helped you to get where you are? Can you share a story about their support or advice?

My producer, Richard Donahue, has helped me out a lot in this business by realizing where I need to grow and helping me to stay focused and keep my head on straight. He always says, “little by little you will make the climb up the ladder of success. Eventually, you will get to the next step and, all at once, you will realize that you have just gone up and you’ll be that much closer to the top of the ladder.”

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I have so much that I’m working on and so much to be thankful for. I will be releasing my new single “Millionaire” in early September. Soon after “Millionaire” is released, I plan to drop another song. I have recorded 16 songs along with five professional music videos. I am always working hard to create more while working on my business plan to make my career so much more successful. In the meantime, I’m putting together a plan to go out and start touring. I love the thought of playing at fairs and festivals. Eventually headlining stadium tours.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Not everyone will want to be your friend. After going out night after night trying to network in this town, I have run into people who only care to be around their circle of friends. That was a hard realization because I’m only familiar with being around people who are accepting of others.

Talent isn’t everything; it’s how hard you work. I used to think I had to be super-talented to be recognized and accepted. Yes, talent is important, but a passion and a burning desire to work hard is key. If I can outwork the person in front of me, I have moved up “the ladder” and will eventually take their place!

There is more than one way to climb the ladder. Not every artist you hear on the radio got on the radio the same way as the next artist did. For some, the term “Ten Year Town” really meant “Ten Year Town.” While others just knew someone who knew someone, and took the fast track — thanks to “favors.”

Music will break the bank and will break your heart. I always thought as a young kid that I could make a living by playing music and that’s still the case. However, people are willing to help a young starving artist any way they can for a little cash. I get it, not everything is free and hard work should be paid for. Everything costs something in this business. The only thing free is your thoughts and the songwriting material that you get from experience. Maybe one day, you’ll get it back in royalties. lol

Confidence is key. They say: “fake it till you make it” or at least that’s how I began in Nashville. But, at some point, you have to quit faking it and just be confident. When I became confident, I found that people would believe and respect what I had to say. On stage, you have to be confident to be believable.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Don’t get into the music business if you are weak and can’t stick with it for the long haul. This is a business that will leave you in the dust if you can’t keep up. The man with the plan and who speaks less will win the battle.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

The Movement of Compassion. The greatest gift God gave us was love. I truly believe that if we all began to have compassion for one another this would be a more peaceful and wonderful world to live in.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“The worst thing that you can do is nothing.” — Cousin Bobby.

Those words are extremely relevant to who I am and what I do. If I sit back and do nothing, I will have nothing. “The tree won’t grow if you don’t plant the seed.”

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

I’d like to have a beer and a cigar with Luke Combs; he just seems like he has it all together and I feel like I could learn something from him.

How can our readers follow you online?

My Website





This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!



Ming S. Zhao
Authority Magazine

Co-founder and CEO of PROVEN Skincare. Ming is an entrepreneur, business strategist, investor and podcast host.