Singer/songwriter Troy Underwood was born and raised in Ringgold, where he learned the fundamentals of music and had birthed a passion for it.
His parents were also musically inclined. His mother Wilma sang and his father Jimmy played the drums. Troy had a sister and two brothers who were also into music as they grew up around gospel and some country.
At age five, Troy learned percussion from his father. He later took piano lessons but didn’t stick with that much. His interests were in drums and guitar and in his twenties he had learned bass and the harmonica.
Troy fondly remembers as a child when his family traveled they all sang together while the kids were in the back seat of the car. “I would sing the bass lines of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Dad sang tenor and even though I was little, I always tried to imitate the bass,” Troy says.
“My grandfather on my dad’s side was a multi-instrumentalist – he could play anything with strings. He is one who always inspired me,” Troy declares.
Troy began writing songs when he was just 12 after learning a few chords on his guitar. “The first one I wrote was about my dad, it was a sad song,” Troy says. “He and my mom had just separated. I just got the bug - I really love writing songs.”
Troy first began working at Lake Winnipesauke Amusement Park. He worked the games and admits that they lean towards ‘not being able to win’.
“I moved out when I was very young and went different places. I never wanted to go to college, I hated school. I was going to be ‘a rock star’ so didn’t see a need for it,” he confesses.
Following his dreams, Troy found himself wherever people wanted to hear his music. He lived in Nashville for a short time but had hit every open mike he could and came back home.
“I loved Nashville as far as writing - that is what they are up there for,” Troy insists.
He met the likes of Wynn Varble, who wrote with Brad Paisley. Wynn was a mentor to Troy and helped him to get with other writers at Warner Chapel.
“I had lived in Chattanooga for some time – it is the biggest city we have around here for the music scene,” Troy says.
This week he hopes to finish his current CD entitled “Family Album,” which includes different songs written about family members and his memories.
While playing at Ten Degrees South in Atlanta, Troy met talent manager Scooter Braun, who represents Justin Bieber.
“He was there when I was playing and asked to buy me a drink. He had bragged on my voice and asked me how many followers I had on Twitter. I said, ‘about 17’ and he said, ‘70?’ I said, ‘Yeah…70’,” Troy laughs and continues, “Then he said, ‘You’ll get up tomorrow and have 1,000 kids following you’. And I do. Then I started getting more people to follow along."
Troy has a CD called “Drive” that he finished last year. He says, "Drive came about because in my 40s I found that I had more drive in my life than I did in my younger days. I kept putting my music off and I knew it was time and that I have to do it now.”
Troy mostly fits in an “old-soul folk” genre. He has a soul sound, a bluesy sound and a folk sound all rolled into one. He has described it as Americana, but some people don’t agree. He likes to call it a “Folky-Soul”.
“I love soul music; I wanted to have horns when I recorded ‘Drive’ with the sax, and added a fiddle and a digital trumpet. “Family Album” is going to be soulful too.
Troy admits to being somewhat of a hippy as he loves to do his own thing, mix his favorite sounds and go barefoot!
He says, “www.mybirdsong.com is a website where I try to help local musicians have a great web presence so they can try to get better gigs.” Troy also teaches drums, guitar and bass.
He sings four to six nights a week and books three months in advance. He has been hired for parties and also weddings, bringing his unique style that is always a hit with guests and sells his CDs at his performances.
He has used “kickstarter.com” trying to raise money for the movie that he is currently co-producing called “Tent Revival Zombies”.
You will find him sometimes playing at Sugar’s and he plays at Southside Bistro every Tuesday.
“I am supposed to have a song on a Christmas movie coming out; the movie is called the ‘Toy Maker’. Faizon Love saw me in Chattanooga and he said he liked my voice and wanted to record me and fly me out to L.A. He asked me to write a song for a Christmas movie and he wanted me to sing it. I hope after that comes about to put the earnings into my movie,” he says.
Troy sees himself continuing to do the same thing that he is doing now and says, “I just like playing music and entertaining people. I love writing more than anything, but people push my voice more - that’s okay, I like that. You do what you love.”