Southern Miss senior wins indie music award

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On Sept. 17, Southern Miss senior Kyle Graves received an award for his song “Wicked Woman” at the seventh annual Josie Music Awards in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Graves, alongside co-writer Ryan Purser, was honored with a Josie Music award for his lyrical work on “Wicked Woman” for their band, Four Way Stop. 

“I like to consider myself a guitarist who happens to sing, if that makes sense,” Graves said. “Guitar is kind of my main thing.”

Though he did do a lot of the writing for “Wicked Woman”, Graves said he thought Purser had a much better sound for its lead vocals. So, Graves provided background vocals and electric guitar for the song while Purser sang. 

 “My voice really wasn’t my favorite on this song, and I said, ‘You know, I really think Ryan’s voice will sound much better with this,’” Graves said.

Four Way Stop recorded and performed “Wicked Woman” around the state before they submitted it to Josie Music’s Rock category. To their surprise, they ended up winning “Best Rock Song by a Duo/Group”.

“It was just literally disbelief from the time they said my name to the time that I walked on stage to the time I said my thing, said my peace and sat down,” Graves said. “I think it took like thirty minutes for it to actually set in.”

Photo by: Sarah Kofman

Four Way Stop started as a group of friends with an interest in music during their freshman year of college. Graves thought their transition from friends to bandmates went smoothly because they all have respect for one another.

“All four of us, you know, we love each other, we care for each other, we want each other to succeed, and I think that makes it much easier than most people think,” said Graves.

The songwriter left a tidbit of advice for any aspiring or up and coming songwriters.

“Be prepared for you to be the only person in the entire world that likes that song, and be okay with that, cause you should be writing something that expresses you,” said Graves.

The Josie Music Awards started awarding indie artists of all genres in 2015 when mother-daughter duo Josie and Tinamarie Passantino created a show based on skill and talent. The gala awarded winners in more than thirty categories, from lyrics to music videos to lifetime achievements.

You can stream “Wicked Woman” on YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music. You can also keep up-to-date with Four Way Stop through their Twitter and Facebook pages.