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Meet Keith Stegall: Country artist, songwriter, and producer

Keith Stegall is a multiple CMA, ACM and Grammy award-winning producer, artist, and songwriter.

Country artist and producer Keith Stegall
Country artist and producer Keith Stegall. Photo Credit: Dak Alley Productions
Country artist and producer Keith Stegall. Photo Credit: Dak Alley Productions

Keith Stegall is a multiple CMA, ACM and Grammy award-winning producer, artist, and songwriter. He chatted about his inspirations and latest endeavors.

He continues to be one of the most sought-after producers and co-writers transcending genres of music from country such as Alan Jackson, Randy Travis and Zac Brown Band to pop and R&B/soul with Dr. Hook and Al Jarreau.

He is a Texan, but was raised in Shreveport, Louisiana.

His success spans Grammy, CMA, ACM, DOVE and BMI awards, over 55 No. 1 hits and over 70 million records sold, proving to be a pinnacle benchmark for a producer and songwriter’s career path.

Background on Keith Stegall

His father, Bob Stegall, was an artist on Abbott Records in the ’50s and played steel guitar for the legendary country singer Johnny Horton. After a chance meeting with another famous Texan, Kris Kristofferson, Keith decided to move to Music City (Nashville) in 1978.

Three months after he arrived to Nashville, Keith co-wrote his first hit, Dr. Hooks’ 1980 smash Sexy Eyes. Soon after, Helen Reddy, The Commodores, Johnny Mathis, and many others rushed to record Keith’s songs.

Keith would go on to work with the likes of Randy Travis (On The Other Hand, Reasons I Cheat), Alan Jackson (Don’t Rock The Jukebox, Dallas), George Jones (Gold album “Cold Hard Truth,” including Grammy Award-winning song Choices), Zac Brown Band (“Country Album of the Year” Grammy Award for “Uncaged”), and many, many others, garnering dozens of No. 1 hits and millions of records sold.

He also released his own critically-acclaimed album Passages  while he was the head of Mercury Nashville’s A&R department.

In 2015, he launched Dreamlined Entertainment, a company specializing in artist development and record label services.

Q & A interview

How were you influenced by your father, what did you grow up listening to? 

My father played lap steel. There were quite a few Johnny Horton records I listened to growing up: The Battle of New OrleansSink The Bismarck, and North To Alaska just to name a few.  

I grew up hearing country music, listening to my father play piano or guitar. Twangy guitars were my first love, and they would eventually play a big part in the records I produced. 

When did you first begin playing music, which instruments, genre? When did you write your first song and what inspired it? 

I first began playing music when I was four. My father showed me a couple of chords on the piano and that was the beginning. The guitar would come about five years later.  

My first songs that I wrote were kind of western. Marty Robbins’ song El Paso had a lot to do with that. I wore that record out. 

How did you decide to move to Music City, and describe your early journey and influences? 

I went to a small Liberal Arts school in Shreveport.  I was writing songs at that time and playing local bars and trying to figure out how to get heard. Kris Kristofferson was playing a concert at the college and a buddy of mine hooked me up to play a few songs for him.  

It was a surreal experience. His advice was to get your butt to Nashville so you can be around other writers who’ll help you write better songs, so I did. 

What new projects are you working on? 

I’m currently doing a record with William Michael Morgan, an amazing artist, Bradley Gaskin, incredible as well and up and coming writer and artist Makayla Lynn, that I signed to Dreamlined.

The Makayla project I’m co-producing with my talented daughter, Jen.  The family dream continues. 

With the changes in the music industry what do you look for in talent? 

There always seems to be something magical about a great artist. I saw it early on with Alan Jackson as well as Zac Brown. They have a gift that seems to jump out at me. 

Do you have a bucket list of artists you would like to collaborate with at Dreamlined Entertainment Group? 

My bucket list is pretty complete.  The only thing that seems to complete the dream is finding the next game-changing artist. I’ll never stop searching for that. 

What advice would you like to give anyone wanting to pursue a career in music? 

Never stop believing in yourself.  Even when no one else does. You have to stay on that path.  The other piece is to network, network, network. 

What do you want your legacy to be, how would you like to be remembered and what milestones would you still like to achieve? 

I hope I’m remembered as being one of the good guys that helped people like I’d been helped. To always give back more than I took. The only milestone is to wake up every day loving what I do. 

How does it feel to be a leading producer & songwriter in the digital age? (Now with streaming, technology and social media being so prevalent) 

I’m happy to still be doing it. What more could anyone ask for? It’s a blessing. 

To learn more about veteran country producer, songwriter and performer Keith Stegall, check out his official website.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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