The Nash Next Challenge is down to its 10 finalists, and in the lead-up to the announcement of the champion on Oct. 25, NCD will be profiling each of the 10 finalists.
Today, we are getting to know finalist Alexis Gomez.
In July, Cumulus Media and Big Machine Label Group invited aspiring country artists and bands to participate in the Nash Next Challenge, an artist development competition where the winner will receive a recording contract with Big Machine Label Group and have an original song produced by Jay DeMarcus, which will garner national radio airplay on Cumulus Media radio stations across the U.S.
The winner of the Nash Next Challenge will be crowned on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Mercy Lounge in Nashville by judges Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn, Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts, Danielle Bradbery and Big Machine CEO Scott Borchetta. The event, which will also feature a performance from Trent Harmon, is open to the public from 7–10 p.m.
Home City Market: Cincinnati, Ohio
How did you get started in music?
My dad was a musician. Growing up, he taught me to play guitar, piano, sing and I even wrote my first song with him. My dad, brother, sister and I played in a family band together growing up. My very first show was when I was 8 years old. I also started singing at my church when I was in elementary school.
At what age did you realize you wanted to make music your career?
One of the very first shows I remember was at a homeless shelter in my hometown of Dayton, Ohio. I sang a Martina McBride song, “Love’s the Only House.” I was so nervous. I got up there and messed up the words, it was terrible. I walked offstage so disappointed but at that same moment, a woman came up to me in tears and looked me in the eyes and thanked me for singing that song. She told me how bad she needed to hear those words in her life that morning. It was then that I realized the amazing power music can have on a person’s life, even when I don’t get it perfect—the words, the music and the stories speak through all of it. I feel that God gave me a gift and I want to work hard at it and use it to touch as many people as I can.
Who are your musical influences?
My influences come from all over country music over the decades. My dad turned me on to people like Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Garth Brooks. As I got older I really fell in love with Martina McBride, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert and The Band Perry. As I look back through the music I have written over the years, it’s so cool to hear the changes in my style as my influences started to grow and evolve.
What three words describe you?
Goofy, passionate, adventurous.
What would you say is unique about your sound?
Most people can’t tell by looking at me, but I am part Mexican and I would love to be a country artist that can help bridge the gap into the Latino community. I put my own Hispanic twist on some of my originals and even some of the covers that I perform.
What three albums would you take to a deserted island?
Martina McBride’s Greatest Hits, Taylor Swift’s Fearless and Hillsong United’s Zion.
What’s a song you wish you had written?
“Oceans” by Hillsong United. The song has such a cool message and has touched and changed so many lives across the world. I can only dream of writing something so powerful.
What was the first concert you ever attended?
My first country concert was Taylor Swift and Keith Urban.
What’s the last song you heard that blew you away?
Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake singing “Tennessee Whiskey” at the CMAs in 2015.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
“Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood.
Where is the craziest place you’ve performed?
In the parking lot of a barbecue restaurant on a bicycle trail.
What’s the first thing you do after a show?
I love to go straight to my merchandise table and meet the fans and people in the audience. I want them to know how much I love getting to know them and want them to always have the chance to get to know me after a show.
What’s been your most exciting or unusual fan encounter?
I did a meet and greet in my hometown at our famous local donut shop, Bill’s Donuts, and I met this little girl who had written to me on Facebook for months and sent me videos with her mom. We finally got to meet and I signed her mini guitar. It was one of the best moments ever. My most unusual fan encounter was when a man told me that God told him we were meant to get married [laughing].
What’s your favorite song to cover?
“Little Red Wagon” by Miranda Lambert.
What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done onstage?
My super cute, hippie skirt came untied while I was performing, and I didn’t even notice until the last song of the show [laughing]. Thank goodness my daddy always told me to wear spanx.