A Whiskey Riff Exclusive Interview With Steve Moakler

A person sitting outside

In 2006, Steve moved from his hard working hometown (Pittsburgh, PA) to the songwriting capital of the world (Nashville, TN) to pursue his dream of becoming a singer/songwriter. After a handful of odd jobs, hundreds of performances, and a thousand songs later, he is three records into a steadily growing career.

In addition to his own records, his songs have been recorded by artists like: Dierks Bentley, Jake Owen, Ben Rector, Matt Wertz, and Kellie Pickler. His music has also been featured on MTV, Fox, ABC, and in the major motion picture, October Baby.

He loves building birdhouses, the outdoors, and hopes his music and career will be marked by honesty and great stories. I was fortunate to sit down and get to know Steve more…

A kitchen with a sink and a toaster oven

1. What was the weirdest/most hated job you had prior to becoming a full-time artist?

For a little while, I bartered with mechanics around Nashville buying used headlights off of busted cars. I wasn’t very good at, but I learned more from that job than any other one I’ve had. I got chased by a junkyard dog once…Just when it was about to bite me in the ass, he ran out of chain on his leash. It was a rough day, but it could have been way worse.

2. What’s it like hearing other artists record your songs – any in particular that really floored you?

It’s always really exciting and gratifying when another artists takes ownership of something you’ve written. “Riser” is probably my favorite song that I’ve written and Dierks is one of my favorite artists, so it was a huge thrill for me when he recorded our song and branded his record and tour around it.

3. What’s your favorite thing about Pittsburgh?

It’s a big city with a lot of small town qualities. When I meet someone who’s from Pittsburgh, there tends to me an immediate strong bond and sense of family between us. It’s a special thing… It’s a city full of passionate, hard-working, good-timing people. I’m really grateful to have grown up there.

4. How are the country fans there?

Pretty wild! I think the city’s blue collar roots make it a huge market for country music.

5. What song have you heard that stopped you and made you think, damn, I wish I wrote that?

There are SO many, but the first and most recent song that comes to mind is “Raise Em Up”. I loved it the first time I heard it and I still love it just as much now. It’s a masterpiece.

6. Craziest thing you’ve seen while on the road/performing?

Man, I’ve seen a lot of crazy things over years… Some so beautiful I can’t describe and some so sad I don’t want to repeat. The craziest thing to me though is being hundreds of miles away from home and meeting a complete stranger who has listened to my record(s) the whole way through and is singing a long with me. I haven’t gotten used to that yet.

7. Drink of choice?

Beer. Yuengling to be specific, but I’ll drink whichever one’s cold.

8. Guilty pleasure music or song?

Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.”

9. What’s the next year look like for you?

It’s looking like it’s gonna be the busiest one yet! Once we wrap the headline “Suitcase Tour” we are gonna be playing some festival & radio shows this summer. We just confirmed a few exciting things for the Fall, one of which is a big bucket list thing for me. CRAZY!! Then I’ll be hitting the road on a great tour through Christmas…can’t announce who I’ll be with but stay tuned! Hopefully the record will come out shortly after that…and that’s about as far out as I can see at this point!

10. What can fans expect at a live show?

Our #1 goal is to break down the invisible walls between us and the crowd. It’s all about that connection for me… I would say that our show is spirited, fun, and uplifting.

11. How would you describe your music to a new fan that may have not heard you before?

A guy somewhere between Eric Church and John Mayer with his thumb up looking for a ride to a Springsteen concert.

WATCH Steve perform “Suitcase” at The Opry.


Keep up to date with Steve on social media at @SteveMoakler

Photo cred: Spencer Combs

A beer bottle on a dock


A beer bottle on a dock