After more than five months of competition that included hundreds of entrants from across the country, Radio Romance has been named the Nash Next 2017 champion.
The four-piece Nashville band, which consists of Sam Hayes (lead singer), Josh Gramling (lead guitar), Moises Padilla (drums) and Adam Smithwick (bass), won over the hometown crowd and judges at Wildhorse Saloon by playing their original song, “Weekend,” during the finale, before encoring with “Cheap Beer Years.”
“We woke up this morning and we didn’t have a record label or a booking agency. All we had was our one manager,” said Sam Hayes of Radio Romance. “But we are going to bed tonight with a record deal. We can’t thank our fans and family enough for all the support they have given us that got us here tonight.”
In May, Cumulus Media and Big Machine Label Group invited aspiring country artists and bands to participate in Nash Next 2017, a grassroots talent search and artist development program for country music. Sponsored nationally by Country Inns & Suites by Carlson, Radio Romance will receive a recording contract with Nash Next Records under the Big Machine Label Group and garner substantial exposure, commensurate with a major-label release, on Cumulus radio stations nationwide.
The 10 finalists were selected by a panel of country radio professionals and were judged in the finale by Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn, Songwriter Hall of Fame writer Desmond Child, chart-topping entertainer Brantley Gilbert, Big Machine Label Group’s president/CEO Scott Borchetta and Cindy Watts of the Tennessean
Get to know a little more about Radio Romance below—you’ll be hearing them on country radio very soon.
Members: Sam Hayes (lead singer), Josh Gramling (lead guitar), Moises Padilla (drums) and Adam Smithwick (bass)
How did you get started in music?
Sam got his start singing hymns in church choir when he was a little kid alongside his parents. Moises started playing drums when he was around 10 years old and joined his first band in the fourth grade. Josh started playing guitar when he was 15 years old and was heavily influenced in the beginning by bands like Nirvana and Ozzy Osborne. Adam started playing at age 15 just so he could be in a band with his brother.
How did your band get together?
We got our start playing cover gigs on Broadway in Nashville. After a few shows, we decided we should pick a band name. We had seen an old Eddie Rabbitt album on the wall at Legend’s on Broadway. The title of the album was Radio Romance—it was an instant sell.
At what age did you realize you wanted to make music your career?
We all knew we were going to pursue music professionally shortly after finishing high school.
What three words describe your band?
Passionate, emotional, dedicated.
Who are some of your musical influences?
Travis Tritt, Tracy Lawrence, Alabama, Pink Floyd, Metallica, Buddy Rich, John Mayer, Eric Johnson, Eric Church, Lee Brice, Jason Aldean and Billy Currington.
What is unique about your sound?
Our musical influences definitely play a key role in our sound. We pull from all genres of music, whether it was stuff we grew up on or stuff currently out now. We believe it truly shows through our songwriting, live performances and style of music.
What three albums would you take with you to a deserted island?
This question is impossible to answer as a band! But you can’t go wrong with George Straight’s 50 Greatest Hits, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Bob Seger’s Greatest Hits.
What’s a song you wish you had written?
Lee Brice’s “Life Off My Years,” which was written by Eric Church, Mike Heeney and Jeff Hyde.
What’s the last song you heard that blew you away?
Billy Currington’s “Don’t Hurt Like It Used To.”
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
“Never Even Called Me By My Name” by David Allen Coe.
Where is the craziest place you’ve performed?
We got booked to play a private event at an Airbnb mansion in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Shortly after the show, we realized all of the “couples” in attendance were not looking to keep things PG. We told everyone we had to pack up after the show, but we would be back to hang out. We could not have left that place quicker!