Updated: Mar 26
Songwriting is a magical talent to me. It is important for me to know where and who songs come from, the lyrical context, the emotion in the story, and of course, who is the inspiration for the lyrics. Even though Nashville has a large population, it maintains the hometown atmosphere through the communities of songwriters and artists. I have recently been in contact with a group of songwriters who are also friends. Each one of them said the same thing, which I found interesting- they limit social media use and honestly don't like it but since that is the best way to reach people they wouldn't otherwise, they use social media platforms to build their audiences.
Ethan Phillips is one of the songwriters I enjoyed speaking with. We began talking about his elementary school years when he showed an interest in birds of prey. Around 10 years of age, Ethan began working with a woman near his hometown, who was an expert on birds. He learned and assisted her with many types of birds, some of which needed to be rehabilitated from injuries. Ethan Phillips became the youngest person in the state of Georgia to be a falconer at 14 years old. He began writing music at the young age of 13. Ethan is from Northeast Georgia and grew up singing gospel music in his church. He later made demo tapes singing gospel songs to send to area churches. He may be re-recording those same songs with the seasoning experience he has gained since the original recording was made.
Ethan Phillips studied graphic design at Piedmont University in Demorest, Georgia. To the surprise of his family after graduation, Ethan moved from Clayton, Georgia to Nashville in 2019 joining friends in their pursuit of music. Ethan spends the first half of the week working as a graphic designer at a newspaper and the latter half of the week in writing rooms and playing shows at local venues. Ethan finds inspiration in the music culture of the south- gospel, bluegrass, and country music. He has respect and understanding of the power of music saying "not many things can change a person's life like music can." He said he wouldn't mind being the guy in the background writing the songs that people sing along to when other artists cover them but also likes participating in writers' rounds showcasing his own music. It is important for him to be in a comfortable environment to be creative. Every writer brings their ideas or concepts to their writing group and they will work on those projects until they are satisfied with the results. Ethan explained that he has had songs that looked or sounded complete to someone else but they didn't to him so he shelved them. Sometimes those will take a year from start to finish and said "it can wait until it's ready to be finished, there's a life of a song."
Ethan Phillips plays shows in Nashville but has been heavily focused on the writing aspect of music. The timeless styles of James Taylor and John Denver have been influences for him in songwriting and performing on stage. His favorite songwriters are the writers that have penned some of the biggest hits of this generation- Mac MacAnally, Skip Ewing, Paul Overstreet, Tim Mensy (Menzies), and Bob McDill.
Ethan Phillips has songs that are currently being cut by other artists and will be available later this year. He is otherwise in the process of building his catalog of songs and upon completion, will be working to get a publishing deal.
Thank you so much, Ethan, for chatting with me, sharing your experiences, and of course, laughing with me too! I appreciate your time!
In a Country Minute