It’s a country tale as old as time — an aspiring musician drops everything they have while moving to Nashville in hopes of one day becoming famous.
While this tale represents many individuals that follow this path, it doesn’t do justice when speaking about Gavin Powell.
Like many, Powell has recently dropped everything to move to Music City.
But there are a few key differences that label him as an outlier when comparing him to the rest of the pack.
The end goal for many musicians is naturally increasing their fame and fortune.
That’s not the case with Powell.
The journey begins after his father bought him a 1993 Epiphone Hummingbird guitar when he was 16 years old, as his house had always been filled with strong staples of faith and music.
His playing was primarily a hobby at first, as Powell didn’t receive any professional lessons.
Rather, he would watch videos on YouTube and practice in front of his friends and family during bonfires.
The minimal playing time he had for his guitar was due to a balance of schoolwork, weightlifting, and other extracurricular activities.
Powell would end up receiving some minor gigs, such as Sunday performances at his local church, but his playing continued to be more of a hobby up until his high school graduation.
“I never thought it was something that I wanted to fully get into,” he said. “I just enjoyed playing my guitar freely.”
Shortly after enrolling at Florida State University, Powell encountered a problem.
“All throughout high school, my passion was always focused on sports, but when I stepped foot in college, I realized I didn’t have anything that I was truly passionate about,” he said.
But suddenly, a thought dawned upon him.
Powell realized there were a handful of similarities between his life as an athlete and a musician.
He was always regarded as a team leader and was even appointed to the captain of his football team due to his ability to bring people together as one.
After a period of scattered thoughts and indecisiveness, he realized he could still bring people together, only this time, it wouldn’t be on the field.
It would be from his actions off the field, using his music instead.
He finally made the decision, putting all of his work and time into mastering his skills as now both a guitarist and singer.
Powell found himself slowly increasing his engagement up to his time graduating from Florida State.
But once again, he was faced with another crossroad.
Even with a degree in public administration, his love for music had grown so much that he couldn’t envision himself doing anything else.
“There’s a lot of pressure to take the cookie-cutter route, getting a degree and then finding a job in that field right away,” he said. “While there’s nothing wrong with that choice, I truly felt that I needed to travel the more risky route and continue my calling as a musician.”
With music now being his sole focus, Powell set his sights on the holy grail of country music.
Much like his days as an athlete where he was pushed to maximize his potential, Powell felt that moving to the city of Nashville would do the same for him.
There were no nervous or scared feelings that lied within him, as he described that he felt it was a calling from his faith.
“On top of the strong faith that I’ve been blessed with, I think God has given me the gift of music to bring people together.”
This faith that he always preaches of would eventually pay off in a major way.
He was offered his first Middle Tennessee gig, playing at Whiskey Jam’s “New In Town” event at Winners Bar on Division Street.
It was an experience so breathtaking that he struggled to put it into words.
“Just physically being in the city, let alone playing my music for locals was unbelievable.”
During this gig, he performed his song “New Light,” which he explains represents both his life and unorthodox travels to this city.
“It symbolizes the journey of life and the ups and downs that come along with it,” he explained. “There’s always going to be stuff thrown at you but you have to remember that something or someone will be there in your corner serving as a new light.”
In this particular instance, the city of Nashville served as Powell’s new light.
Now finally getting acquainted with the city, Powell is once again leaning on his faith to take him to the next stage.
While he understandably wants to increase his audience, he isn’t focused on the fame and wealth aspects of this industry.
He would rather bring people together using personal songs filled with valuable lessons that he has picked up throughout life.
“I think a lot of country music in today’s world and in Nashville isn’t authentic. I call them laundry list songs because artists stuff as many country-related things as they can into one song. There’s no meaning to it.”
“What I aim to do as an artist is to teach people stories. My songs are about real-life experiences. It’s not a fairy tale and that’s the beauty of it,” he said.
With his strong grasp of faith and determination, Powell hopes to completely change the style of Nashville’s country music scene.