Ross County country music singer nominated for 8 awards

CHILLICOTHE — Local country music singer-songwriter Paul Kazee has been nominated for eight awards this year with the International Association of Singer-Songwriters.

Kazee, under his stage name Paul Allen, is up for eight awards in total from the association, including USA Male Rising Star, USA Male Vocalist of the Year, USA Male Songwriter of the Year, USA Male Emerging Artist Of The Year and USA Entertainer of the Year. He is also nominated for American Male Album of the Year with his album Who am I, USA Male Single of the Year with his song crazy to love me and USA Band of the Year with Paul Allen & Whiskey Ridge.

Last year, Kazee was nominated for Single of the Year with ISSA. He was a finalist in this category but ultimately did not win. He and the group hope that this year they will walk away with an award.

“We put a lot of hard work into our album,” Kazee said. “We hope that with eight nominations, we will win at least one this year.”

The International Singer-Songwriters Association strives to connect and support independent artists around the world. They offer support to artists looking to promote their work and help get their songs on the radio.

Kazee’s passion for music started at a young age when he started singing in church. He started learning to play instruments around the age of 10, and at 15 he wrote a song to comfort a friend who had lost his grandmother. As he got older, he became more interested in country music and even played Red White and Boom.

“The sound between southern gospel and country isn’t that different,” Kazee said. “It wasn’t such a big jump.”

When he and his wife started their family, Kazee put music on the back burner. It wasn’t until 2019 that he started posting videos of himself singing online to pass the time. Kazee then signed with Country Road Records as Paul Allen, which is his middle name. He chose to use his middle name in hopes that a simpler name would allow people to focus more on his music. Since signing, Kazee was able to hear himself on local radio for the first time last year, which he describes as incredible.

Kazee’s musical style reflects his personal taste for country music. He is heavily inspired by 90s country music like George Strait and Garth Brooks. Fans coming to his shows will also hear country rock inspired by artists like Jason Aldean.

Kazee finds inspiration for his songs in his everyday life. He likes to write songs about real issues that everyone is facing, he finds it helps listeners understand his songs better. He also notes that songwriting takes time and practice.

“The more you do it, the better you get,” Kazee said.

He and the band enjoy playing high energy shows and having fun on stage. Kazee is thrilled to have more people coming to the shows since the Covid-19 pandemic is winding down.

“It’s amazing,” Kazee said of performing in front of an audience. “People like to come back.”

Kazee is optimistic about his music career in the future. He is currently working on writing more music and plans to release another EP or a full album by the end of this year.

“My dream is to be the number one country band in Ohio,” Kazee said.

Fans can vote for Kazee under his stage name, Paul Allen, on the ISSA website until April 30. The finalists will be announced May 2 and the winner announced August 6 at an awards show in Atlanta, Georgia.

You can also support Whiskey Ridge by visiting their website or watching them perform live at one of their shows.

Shelby Reeves is a reporter for the Chillicothe Gazette. You can email him at [email protected]

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