Greenville-based recording artist Benton Blount says he appreciates when music fans and musicians themselves are genuine.
Blount, a married man and ranked in America’s Got Talent Season 10 Top 10, takes the stage at 8 p.m. today at the 13th SC Festival of Stars at Ninety Six.
Blount and his group are the headliners of the music before the main event of this patriotic holiday, fireworks at 9.45pm
âMusic is fun for me,â Blount told the Index-Journal in a telephone interview. âI have just started over with live music since everything stopped during the pandemic. … I’ve heard that Ninety Six is ââa nice little town like the one I grew up in. It will be a show for the whole family.
A native of Valdese, North Carolina, Blount made his home in Greenville, SC for about a decade, settling there after recording with one of his musical influences, Edwin McCain.
“When you play in a smaller place it never fails, people appreciate your coming and as the 4th of July celebration approaches, everything about America, I’m on that too.”
Blount said he was banned from Facebook for 24 hours in November 2018 and removed from his first slot with ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons after posting to social media from his home.
âI was literally in my kitchen and had just gone to vote and put on clothes,â says Blount. âI had a Make America Great Again hat that someone gave me. … I was head to toe in red and white … holding Chick-fil-A. My wife took a picture.
âIt was such a ridiculous thing,â said Blount, describing her color-coordinated ensemble that day in her kitchen as silly. âI posted the photo. It didn’t break my mind or anything. I just regroup and move on.
Blount, who was featured as a country singer on AGT, said his main musical influences range from Travis Tritt, who he played with, to McCain and Darius Rucker. Growing up, Blount said he listened to everything from country classics to metal and rap, plus his dad played with Motown bands.
âThe moving storytelling and passionate singing about something you believe in is something that I have always loved,â said Blount, noting that he started playing music as a teenager in high school, even though he was a teenager. he was getting college football offers.
During the pandemic, Blount said he thought about football a bit over music, but said “music has survived football.”
âWith music I can have three kids and put on weight for my dad and still go out and play a show,â Blount said, followed by a laugh.
At the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Blount completed what he describes as one of his âall-time favorite records,â an 11-track self-titled album.
âIt was recorded in Los Angeles and we had session musicians that included a guitarist from Bon Jovi, a drummer who’s now with a band called Silverchair, and a guy from Pink Floyd,â said Blount. “They wanted to bend over backwards to help me get the record I wanted.”
During the pandemic, Blount said he chose not to do a bunch of virtual gigs with virtual tip pots.
âI consider a lot of my fans to be friends and talk to them as regularly as possible,â said Blount. âA lot of people had money issues so I didn’t really want to be the guy begging for money when the others didn’t either. â¦ We were just financially prudent and made it work until things started to open up again.
As a musician and a stay-at-home dad, Blount said his biggest family challenge during the pandemic was that he and his wife taught their three young children when schools were closed. The children are now 7, 5 and 2 years old.
âI felt like I was at home with kids, but my wife and I had never taught anyone before,â said Blount. âGetting into this role was different. “
Blount auditioned for America’s Got Talent in March 2015, via Skype. If he had the option of doing something like this again, Blount said he “probably would.”
âThe show itself is like being in a movie,â he said. “The days you record are 1 to 2 pm, almost every day of the week, for an hour-long show that people watch.”
His advice to other artists considering reality TV?
âDon’t be hopeful and think you’re not good enough if you don’t audition,â Blount said. “There were people that I personally met for me who were heads and feet above myself and others and for some reason they weren’t chosen for the show. . “
Contact Sainte-Claire Donaghy at 864-992-8934.