Nashville - GRAMMY U Off The Record With Judah And The Lion

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  • Photo: Jason Davis /
  • Photo: Jason Davis /
  • Photo: Jason Davis /
  • Photo: Jason Davis /

By: Blair Miller / GRAMMY U Nashville Student Representative

While in Nashville for their two shows at The Ryman Auditorium, Judah and the Lion stopped by Belmont University on September 8th to speak at a GRAMMY U: Off the Record. The event was moderated by Lucas Boto, a Belmont alum and staff member, who works with students outside of the classroom on programs like Showcase Series and Curb Café.

The event began with a 25-minute moderated question and answer session. Lucas kicked-off the discussion by asking band members Judah Akers, Nate Zuercher, Brian Macdonald, and Spencer Cross about how they came together as a band. Each member took turns giving fun anecdotes about their beginnings, and their manager, Ben Hutto of Triple 8 Management, also chimed in with stories. While discussing their beginnings as a band, they also gave insight into what helped them gain an audience. The band explained that they put their first EP on NoiseTrade in exchange for donations and email addresses, with the goal of building a genuine audience. They also told fellow artists in the audience to play any and every show opportunity for building performance experiences.  The band then recommended that when pursuing a career as an artist, people need to stay true to themselves and surround themselves with a good community.

After talking about the band’s formation and early years, the discussion progressed into how success has affected their lives. They explained that they have learned to sacrifice time and energy to invest in their relationships, and that they strive to think of others before themselves. The band members recommended that when starting a music career, people should define what success means to them in realistic and non-materialistic terms.  In addition, the band recommended that people allow themselves to celebrate their success and continue making new goals. They went on to say that “your worth does not come from what you do but who you are," and that perception of oneself is always going to be different from the way others perceive you.

Following the discussion on success, Lucas asked about advice the band received that has stuck with them. One line that is still important to the band is, “Do not let the positives go to your head and do not let the negatives go to your heart.” Another piece of advice that has stuck with the band is to keep moving forward because nothing is as concrete as it feels. The band also touched on the fact that a person’s community will define their reality, which relates perfectly back to their earlier point that people should surround themselves with a good community.                  

After the moderated Q&A, there was a 20 min segment where the floor was opened for students to ask questions. Following the student Q&A, Judah and the Lion wrapped up the event by performing their hit single, “Take It All Back,” “Suit and Jacket,” and a bluegrass cover of “My Little Girl in Tennessee.” Judah and the Lion also did an all-day Instagram Story takeover on the Recording Academy’s Instagram account.

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