||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2008)|
Steve Azar (right) with Sid Rosenberg, March 2009
|Birth name||Stephen Thomas Azar|
April 11, 1964 |
Greenville, Mississippi, United States
|Instruments||Vocals, acoustic guitar|
|Years active||1996, 2001–2004, 2005-present|
|Labels||River North Nashville, Mercury Nashville, Midas Nashville, Dang, Ride|
|Associated acts||A.J. Masters, Bob Regan|
Stephen Thomas "Steve" Azar (born April 11, 1964, Greenville, Mississippi, United States) is an American country music artist. Azar was signed to River North Nashville in 1995, and he released his debut album on February 27, 1996. After leaving River North, Azar took time away from his music. He returned in 2002 with his biggest hit, the No. 2 "I Don't Have to Be Me ('Til Monday)", which was the lead-off single from his second studio album, Waitin' on Joe. "I Don't Have to Be Me ('Til Monday)" received three Million-Air awards from BMI and is currently one of the top five most played songs of the past decade on US country radio. The title track, Waitin' on Joe, went to #1 on CMT and featured academy award winning actor Morgan Freeman. In 2006, Azar released the single "You Don't Know a Thing". The single was supposed to be the lead-off to a third studio album, via Midas Records Nashville. When the song failed to make the Top 40, Azar left Midas. In early-2008, he formed his own label, Ride Records, and released Indianola in 2008, Slide On Over Here in 2009 and Delta Soul: Volume 1 in 2011.
Azar was born and grew up in Greenville, Mississippi. He began writing songs at 10 years old, which led him to develop as a guitarist. Azar had his first Nashville recording session when he was 14. After high school Azar attended Delta State University where he played show after show, including the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans. Mississippi native Faith Hill remembers being at his shows as a fan in the front row. Graduating with a degree in business-management, Azar moved to Nashville in 1993, and in two days he was offered three song-publishing contracts.
In 2010 Taylor Swift told People Magazine that her favourite song of the year was Steve Azar’s “Sunshine.” Slide On Over Here, featuring the hit single “Sunshine,” was spotlighted in Oprah’s O Magazine in her Top Things to Buy At Christmas edition in 2011. “Sunshine” was also featured in US Weekly Magazine in June 2012 as one of the most popular celebrity wedding songs.
Steve has written and recorded songs for film and has been music supervisor for a number of movies. “Doin’ It Right” (Delta Mix) off of the 2011 release Delta Soul Volume One, was the feature track for Sony Pictures 2013 movie Here Comes The Boom starring Kevin James and Salma Hayek. As a songwriter, Reba McEntire among many others have cut his songs.
An accomplished golfer, Steve has been ranked one of the top five musicians that play golf by Golf Digest Magazine for the past 5 years. He is a frequent guest at charity golf tournaments across the country. In 2006, Steve and his wife Gwen started the Steve Azar St. Cecilia Foundation, and annually host the Delta Soul Celebrity Golf & Charity Event. The foundation has channeled over $400,000 to many worthwhile causes since it's inception. Steve has raised an additional $350,000 + for charitable causes through the auctioning of songs. These songs are written for the highest bidder’s charity of choice.
Steve has been honoured with “Steve Azar day” in the states of Mississippi (on March 13th) and South Dakota (on August 10th ). He is the co-founder of Ride Records and in 2013 co-founded the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival, dubbed "A Southern Gem" by the American Blues Scene magazine and included in Acoustic Guitar magazine’s 2014 Roadside Americana: 50 States 50 Must-Attend Events. With a strong interest in mentorship and giving back to the Delta, Steve enjoys being artist in residence at the Delta Music Institute, part of Delta State University.
In 2014 Azar wrote “Fly,” the official song for the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail, Colorado. His upcoming performance at the opening ceremonies is expected to reach an audience of one billion households. “Fly” is being used as the feature song for the upcoming Sony Pictures movie: Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 starring actor Kevin James.
Azar's debut album, Heartbreak Town was released on February 27, 1996, via River North Nashville Records. The album failed to chart on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. It did, however, feature two charting singles on the country singles charts. The first of these, "Someday", reached No. 51 on the Country charts, and also charted at No. 65 on the RPM Country Singles Chart. The follow-up, "I Never Stopped Loving You", reached No. 50. After the song fell off the charts, River North closed its doors. Azar would be on a hiatus from music until 2001.
Waitin' on Joe
His second studio album, Waitin' on Joe, was released on April 16, 2002, via Universal Music Group Nashville's Mercury Records. The album charted to No. 29 on the Top Country Albums chart. Its lead-off single, "I Don't Have to Be Me ('Til Monday)", was his biggest hit at No. 2. Following it were the No. 28 title track "Waitin' on Joe" and the non-charting "One Good Reason Why". He returned to touring, but by mid-2004, he needed surgery to correct a lesion on his right vocal cord. After healing, he re-entered the charts in 2005 with "Doin' It Right". This song failed to reach Top 40, however, and after a Christmas single called "Catfish Christmas", Azar left Mercury.
Indianola, his third album, was first set to be released in 2006 from Midas Records Nashville. The single, "You Don't Know a Thing", was released, but when the song failed to make the Top 40, Azar left Midas. No singles were released until 2008, when he founded his own label (Dang Records) and released the album that May. Two more singles did make the cut to radio with "I Won't Let You Lead Me Down" failing to chart and "You're My Life" debuting at No. 57 on the Hot Country Songs chart on the chart week of January 17, 2009 becoming his first chart single in three years.
Slide On Over Here
After touring with Bob Seger in 2007, Azar started writing songs for the album. A new single, "Moo La Moo", was released to radio on April 27, 2009. The song debuted at No. 60 on the Hot Country Songs chart for the week of June 20, 2009. It was the lead-off single to Azar's fourth studio album, Slide On Over Here, which debuted at No. 57 on the Top Country Albums chart. The single peaked at No. 39 on the Hot Country Songs chart, becoming his first Top 40 single since "Waitin' on Joe" topped at No. 28 on the chart in 2002. A second single, "Sunshine (Everybody Needs a Little)", was released to radio on January 11, 2010; it peaked at No. 27 in October 2010 and became his highest charting hit since "Waitin' On Joe" .
The music video for "Moo La Moo" stars Gary Valentine from King of Queens who created a dance-instruction sequence for the project. The album was influenced by Azar's 2006-2007 tour with Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band. Azar has toured in the past with Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Hootie & The Blowfish, and Montgomery Gentry.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart
|US Country||US Heat|
|Waitin' on Joe||
|Slide On Over Here||
|Delta Soul: Volume 1||
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|"I Never Stopped Loving You"||50||—|
|"Nights Like This"||—||—|
|2001||"I Don't Have to Be Me ('til Monday)"||2||35||Waitin' on Joe|
|2002||"Waitin' on Joe"||28||—|
|2003||"One Good Reason Why"||—||—|
|2005||"Doin' It Right"||47||—||N/A|
|2006||"You Don't Know a Thing"||49||—||Indianola|
|2008||"I Won't Let You Lead Me Down"||—||—|
|2009||"You're My Life"||52||—|
|"Moo La Moo"||39||—||Slide On Over Here|
|2010||"Sunshine (Everybody Needs a Little)"||27||—|
|2015||"The Sky Is Falling (Patti Jo's Prayer)"
(featuring Sophie Young)
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
Other charted songs
|2006||"Catfish Christmas"||53||digital Christmas single|
|1996||"Someday"||Steven R. Monroe|
|"I Never Stopped Loving You"||Chris Rogers|
|2001||"I Don't Have to Be Me ('Til Monday)"||Eric Welch|
|2002||"Waitin' on Joe"||Steven Goldmann|
|2005||"Catfish Christmas"||Steven L. Weaver|
|2006||"You Don't Know a Thing"||Peter Zavadil|
|2007||"Dancin' in the Clouds" (with Namrata Singh Gujral)|
|2009||"Moo La Moo"||Eric Welch|
|"Moo La Moo" (dance video)|
|2010||"Sunshine (Everybody Needs a Little)"|
- Ankeny, Jason. "Steve Azar biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
- "About". Steve Azar. 2011-11-08. Retrieved 2012-03-25.
- Steve Azar album chart info