Next Up at SXSW: Zeke Duhon

Nashville songsmith doesn’t mind nipple twists!

Next Up at SXSW: Zeke Duhon

“Next Up” continues its South by Southwest preview this week in an interview with Nashville-by-way-of-Tulsa troubadour Zeke Duhon. He recently signed to Big Deal Music (Ray LaMontagne, My Morning Jacket), and has since been writing with the likes of Brett Dennen and Kevin Griffin from Better than Ezra.

He’s quirky, Duhon.

“Occasionally you can catch me in a skintight spandex suit dressed like an alien making crazy-ass videos with my roommates,” he laughs. “We like to make YouTube sketches and do improv.”

A few spins of his music and it’s easy to tell that Duhon cultivates his sensitive side.

“I know this sounds completely cliche, but love is what I find that consistently inspires me daily. The kind of love that’s given whole heartily with no expectation of return. I have both observed and experienced this in many relationships.”

Duhon’s finding his way in Nashville, a city overpopulated with talent.

“The music industry definitely is tricky,” he acknowledges. “When I signed my publishing deal it was like I got a crash course on the music business – a real blast in the face. But just being in it, you learn as you go, and I think after a whole year and a half that I’m just now starting to really grasp some of it.

“It takes a village of hard work, but with the buzz that my team is creating, and with the little success that I’ve happened upon, I feel like I’m on the right track.”

He began music in earnest during middle school.

“Back when Myspace was booming, I had just written my first few songs and posted them to my page. Most of them were just demos I had recorded at home on Garageband. Being in middle school at the time definitely was helpful in gaining a lot of listeners!

“Not long after that I started opening as a solo act for bands touring through Tulsa. Then I started a band in high school and it all just snowballed from there.”

Nowadays, he opens for the likes of Civil Twilight.

“The crowd was so inviting and responsive. I had mentioned something about coming to meet me at the merch table after the show – shake my hand or hug me or whatever. This girl was like, ‘And twist your nipples!’ I was like, ‘Wow, okay whatever you say.’”

And songwriting?

“Usually it starts with a melody,” he explains. “Then I try and figure out what it feels like emotionally and sonically. The words often come last for me because I’m very particular about not being too complicated or wordy. Sometimes it’s just best to get the point across simply and directly.”

Zeke Duhon’s SXSW Showcase: Fri., March 20, Swan Dive, 8pm.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. Sign up for our South By-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Zeke Duhon, SXSW Music 2015, Ray LaMontagne, My Morning Jacket, Brett Dennen, Kevin Griffin, Better than Ezra, Civil Twilight

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