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Springfield native finds footing as a country music artist in Knoxville

During her childhood, Alicia Harvey was surrounded by country music and developed a passion with playing songs on her own. Now, since moving to Knoxville in 2015 and releasing two singles, she has begun to make a name for herself locally as she records her debut album.

Although Harvey, a 2003 graduate of Springfield High School, began learning to play the guitar at an early age, she says she was always intimidated by the Nashville music scene, and initially never got into performing in front of large crowds. That all changed once she made the move to Knoxville.

“I needed a change at the time, and I had an opportunity to move up here. I saw that there was an actual music scene over here as well, so I started doing competitions and gaining confidence,” Harvey said. “I thought maybe I’m not so bad after all. So, I started doing gigs over here, and it’s just really taken off.” Harvey’s self-titled debut EP, which is set to be released next year, pays homage to her roots and the influences of country music her family instilled into her. Among those is the song “Gun Totin’ Granny,” a tribute to Harvey’s grandmother who owned a Nashville bar in the late ‘80s and always carried a gun on her hip.

“Every word of that song is true, and it makes me laugh, but it kind of has something to do with my honky tonk background,” Harvey said. “My grandmother had this little beer joint on Dickerson Road, and I was potty trained there while my mom was pregnant with my brother. I was always listening to the jukebox and my mom was a big country music lover, so that kind of bled over to me and fell into my lap too.”

Many of Harvey’s musical influences as a performer were ‘80s and ‘90s country artists, she grew up listening to at her grandmother’s bar, such as Terri Clark, Alan Jackson, and even older artists such as Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn. “Just a little bit of everything as far as country music goes,” she said.

Harvey first picked up a guitar at the age of nine when she found one with only two strings laying around in her home. While listening to the song “Fishing in the Dark” on the radio, she attempted to play along, which caused her mother to notice.

“My mom came in and said, ‘Hey I can get more strings on that if you want to take lessons,’ and I said, ‘Sure, let’s do it.’”

She started taking lessons for several years until moving on to school band and other things throughout her childhood. At the age of 12 she picked a guitar back up again and began practicing more seriously. “I just kind of taught myself the rest of what I needed to know, and it kind of went from there,” Harvey said. “I just did it by myself in my room. My mom always tried to get me to play in front of people, but I was too embarrassed.”

Harvey finally started performing at different Knoxville venues in 2015. During this time, she recorded several songs and released them on Spotify and iTunes. Although she has not officially signed to any labels, Harvey prefers to remain an independent artist to have more control over her career, which she says is the direction a lot of artists are going these days. Her first official release will be her upcoming 6-song EP.

After becoming more acclimated with live performances in Knoxville, Harvey has dipped her toe in the Nashville music scene in subsequent years. She most recently got to perform last year at Nashville’s Assembly Food Hall, located in the entertainment venue Fifth + Broadway. It is now one of Harvey’s most memorable shows for her because it became one of the last times her mother got to see her on stage.

“I had never done anything in Nashville, and I just lost my mom in July, so that Nashville show last year was a really big moment for me because that was a show she got to come to. It made her so proud because she had always wanted me to perform in front of people.”

In the future, Harvey hopes to have more shows in Nashville and potentially return to Springfield for a hometown show. Although she says she is not ready to completely move back to the Midstate, her ultimate goals are to continue gaining more exposure in the Nashville scene with a chance to someday perform on the Grand Ole Opry. “I’m just kind of wanting to dip in and out. I’m not necessarily ready to move back. It’s just kind of one of those things where my family is still there, and I come back and visit a lot, so I can have a career in both places if I want.”

When asked what she enjoys most about being an artist and performing, Harvey says she loves the interaction and connection she has made with audience members.

“I played at Blake Shelton’s bar Ole Red in Gatlinburg a lot, and just seeing a little kid out in the audience who is just really amazed, I would think, ‘You know what. I was that kid. I used to be so amazed at what was going on a stage that I paid attention to every little detail and thought man, that is so cool.’ I have guitar picks with my name on them, and so usually when I see a kid like that I go over and hand them a pick from the stage and they just light up.”

More information on Alicia Harvey and her music can be found on her website at, as well as her personal Spotify and YouTube pages.

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