Levi Hummon is more than just another country singer/songwriter: he is an artist with deep musical roots and a passion for storytelling. Born into a family where creativity and compassion were daily norms – his father a renowned songwriter and his mother the founder of a transformative organization for women – Hummon’s path seemed inevitably intertwined with artistic expression.
We got the chance to speak to Hummon to delve into the intimate intersection of music, personal growth and body art.
Hi Levi! For those who aren’t familiar, can you introduce yourself?
My name is Levi Hummon, and I’m a country artist from Nashville, Tennessee. My dad’s a songwriter and my mom is a preacher, so I grew up in a very crazy household, but my dad wrote songs for people like Rascal Flatts, Dixie Chicks, (I guess the Chicks now,) and Sarah Evans and a lot of other amazing artists. I grew up in music and now I’m doing it myself.
What was it like growing up for you in Nashville? Were you always into the music scene there?
I was always in the music scene, as in my dad was always writing. My house was full of instruments. Me and my brothers all picked up instruments growing up. I didn’t really pursue it though until about 22 years old. So growing up, music was a hobby. As a job, it was my dad’s thing. And then for me, it was just for fun. And I just always loved music.
You grew up with some incredible role models, with your father being a songwriter and your mother is the founder and the president of the really great organization, Thistle Farms. In what ways do they inspire you?
Thistle Farms is incredible. It’s a place for women with a history of drug abuse and prostitution go to find two years clean and sober and then they provide them with jobs where they make candles, healing oils, bath and body balms, all this amazing stuff. My mom is literally always so inspiring. One, as just a person to try to walk like and talk like because she’s truly, She leads by example. And my dad, obviously, is just somebody who’s just really respected creatively in town.
That’s amazing. And that organization is incredible. What was a turning point in your career where you thought, “I can really do this, I can really make it on my own?”
I think the turning point in my career was when I got back to Nashville after college. I went down to college in St Petersburg, Florida for two years and then I came back to Nashville. It wasn’t when I got my record deal, but it was when I lost my record deal and I started doing things independently that I figured like “Wow, I can really do this,” because I put something out as a song called “Stupid” back in 2017 (it was literally called “Stupid”) and the song got like 21 million streams on Spotify and I was like, “Wow, there are people out there that are hungry for my music and something that, this is something I can really do professionally.”
That was the first song of yours to really blow up. What was that kind of feeling like?
It was amazing. I mean, to have people listen to your songs. At the time when I released that song, Spotify had just kind of popped off for country music. Nobody was really doing the Spotify thing and I just remember it getting crazy attention on Spotify. It went to 48 on the Billboard chart and we weren’t even at radio. So just people listening and the feeling was just incredible having people sing my songs back to me when I went out and toured.
That’s awesome. What drew you to country music specifically?
For me, I mean, it’s just in my blood. My dad, I didn’t want to, but even if I did want to, I wouldn’t be able to escape it so country music is definitely just kind of in my genetics and songwriting. I think country music really is just the genre for songwriters.
I mean country songwriters really just hit you right in the gut every time.
I mean, I’ve honestly always processed kind of struggles in life, whether it’s a breakup or whatever else, through songwriting. And so songwriting to me is not just a part of me, it’s also how I heal and how I deal with stuff and how I process emotions.
That kind of brings me to my next question too, where do you draw your creative inspiration from? Is that from a lot of personal experience?
It’s from a lot of breakups, mostly. No, I actually started writing songs professionally because I was just super heartbroken in college. My freshman girlfriend broke up with me and since then I’ve kind of been writing songs mostly about going through my 20s and what that’s like. There’s a song of mine called “For Me” that’s really about just screwing up all the way through your 20s and kind of getting your shit together in your 30s and what that’s like. The theme of the song is like, “I want to change for you for me.” And it’s just kind of about learning and wanting to be a better person. But I write about everything. That’s why I’m an artist. I’m not just a songwriter, it’s because I want to tell my story.
Absolutely, I love that. And I think that’s what draws a lot of people to you, just being so vulnerable and honest in your art and in your songwriting.
And I make fun of myself a lot.
That’s always fun too. Totally necessary, I feel like, in this climate of seeing everybody be so perfect on social media. So it’s refreshing, for sure. Of course we want to know at Inked Magazine about your tattoos. What was the very first one that you got?
So the very first tattoo I got was in Nashville. I was 18 years old and I got a big old bull skull on my right rib and I got two feathers of a red-tailed hawk and then my brother’s names. So it’s supposed to be almost like a family emblem because my dad used to have a cabin out in the Caney Fork River where he had this giant bull skull and my mom says that whenever I see red-tailed hawks, I think of her.
That’s very sweet. And you went right in for it, too, with the ribs as your first tattoo.
Yeah, honestly, I think as I’ve gotten older, just things hurt more. So I started here, and I’ve worked kind of my way around my arms and everything. But for some reason, this didn’t hurt as bad as the wrist and the hand for me and everything else. I don’t even remember it hurting.
Wow. That’s pretty good. And so would you say that the hands and the wrists were the most painful that you have?
The hand was the most painful for me. I just got this done. I actually found a really cool shop here in Nashville called Pride and Glory Tattoo, and I’ve loved it. That’s awesome.
It looks great. That’s a great hand tattoo.
Thank you so much. Yeah, so I would say honestly all my tattoos have meaning. I have the thistle on my arm up here for Thistle Farms, I have roses for my grandparents that passed away. I also have my three favorite cities, which is Hawaii when I went there, LA, Nashville. I mean everything has is represented on me.
Those are great, I love that. So you’re a person that likes your tattoos to have meaning. Would you ever get some silly, stupid little tattoos?
I wouldn’t say I would get stupid… I mean, I’ve got stupid tattoos before. Mostly, just like in Key West, I got two palm trees just on my hand because I don’t even remember what happened, to be honest. When in Key West. [Laughs.] And then on my other side, it’s a big old tiger, but I asked my tattoo artist, I said, “What do you wanna work on?” And he said a tiger. And so, we put it right on my arm.
That is every tattoo artist’s dream, just letting them do what they want.
Yeah, I honestly, like, when I was a kid growing up, I used to take a permanent marker and just write all over my arms and everything so I think my parents always knew that I was gonna be tatted up. My goal is to be full-on covered.
How do your parents feel about your tattoos now? Are they good with it?
They liked it at first. I’ll go over to my parents house and she’ll be like “Look at his tattoo he got a thistle on his arm! Look at his tattoo he got my favorite Bible verse on his arm!” And then now, I went over to my parents house this summer for a pool party and she’s like, “That’s enough, now you’re pushing it.” My rule to her is never any face tats. I promised her.
That’s fair…until you run out of room and then I don’t know, you might!
I know I actually started venturing to my legs just recently. And straight up, I’m not even gonna front, I have always felt just randomly insecure about my legs. And the second I got a tattoo on my legs, I’ve been just full on feeling so good about myself. And that was one of the most interesting things because I never felt like there was any sense of security with tattoos. For me it was always just art. But honestly, having that feeling of being physically more comfortable in my own skin because of something I add to my skin was a really unique perspective I felt like.
I love that you brought that up. That’s a big thing for a lot of people and they say if there’s a part of your body that you don’t like, slap a tattoo on it and you’ll like it. What lyrics of yours would you say are the most tattoo worthy?
Hmm, well people keep getting tattoos that say “For Me,” so I’ve seen fans of mine get tattoos of that and also I wrote a song for my mom’s organization Thistle Farms. It’s called “Love Heals” because Love Heals is their motto. And the actual cover art for “Love Heals,” I think maybe 10 or 15 people have it tattooed on them. So, that seems like a fan favorite.
That’s amazing. So, you’ve seen fans with your lyrics tattooed – that’s big. How does that make you feel knowing that people are tattooing your words on them forever?
I love it and I’m also like, “Are you sure you want that?” The other day I actually sent in an autograph for a tattoo and I’m always like, “My autographs not that great like you probably shouldn’t get that on you.” It’s like just like a squiggle. But the lyric stuff is really cool, especially with my mom’s stuff. It’s true, love heals all wounds and I feel like that’s a really powerful message So i’m happy to have sung a song and have cool artwork that goes with it and it’s something that people are stoked about.
That’s beautiful. I love that. What is coming up next for you? What are you looking forward to?
So I just announced that I signed a record deal with Red Van Records, which is Kevin Jonas Sr., the dad of the Jonas Brothers, brand new label here in Nashville. I just released a re-recorded version of my song with Walker Hayes called “Paying For It.” And by the time this comes out, we will have announced a whole headlining tour that’s going all the way through March.So a lot of things are happening.
Congratulations! That is so exciting. Where are you most looking forward to on your to go on your tour?
We’re doing the headlining show in Nashville and because it’s a hometown show it’s always my favorite show. I always enjoy showing my friends and family what I’ve been working on and I think I think the best music I’ve ever written and recorded is in my back pocket so I’m excited to showcase it.
That’s amazing and so exciting.
Thank you. Inked Magazine is like a dream for me because I have a huge love for tattoos and art, and any way to incorporate that back into my music is always so special. So I’ve been really, really stoked for this interview.
Thank you. That means so much to us. It’s not all the time where we come across country musicians who have a lot of tattoos. So it’s really fun diving into that. And if you are ever in New York, please stop by, let’s get you tattooed!
Shouting out my tattoo artist, Jason Sinclair in Nashville and then Pete and Cody at Pride and Glory Tattoos. They’ve done all my work pretty much but I honestly forget I have tattoos. I genuinely think it’s like part of my skin and part of who I am and every single piece. The one unique thing about my tattoos is I never have planned out anything. Every single one has meaning, but I’ll think of the meaning and then the same day that I get that inspiration is when I get it tattooed on me.
Listen to Hummon’s latest release “Paying For It” here!