Alumni Spotlight

Nick Jamerson

By: Jordan M. Gibson, '08
May 21, 2013

Nick Jamerson is half of the up-and-coming country music duo, Sundy Best, which will open for Corey Smith at the East Kentucky Expo Center on Friday, May 24. A 2010 alumnus, Jamerson is a Prestonsburg, Ky., native who draws inspiration for his lyrics from his simple, Eastern Kentucky childhood and youth. He is the primary lyricist and songwriter for the group and provides the music’s melodies, produced through his lead vocals and guitar.

Jamerson began singing in front of crowds at the young age of nine at his church, where his mother was the children’s choir director. His mother also enrolled him in piano lessons at about the same time, and today, thanks to her early encouragement, he now plays the piano, guitar, banjo and mandolin. “Most of my family is musical. My mom sings and plays the piano and all three of my siblings can sing, play guitar and piano,” said Jamerson. He remembered how at virtually every family gathering his grandparents, aunts, and uncles would play old, traditional gospel and bluegrass tunes.

After a few questions, Nick opened up and shared his story expressing his feelings and excitement in a way that only he can.

The band name, Sundy Best, developed from Jamerson and band mate Kris Bentley’s musical starts in church. They remember how they always wore theirSundy best, referring to their finest clothes. Today the band is known for the themes of their lyrics and feel of their music. The band’s most popular song, Home, is a single from the album Door Without a Screen, and has recently exploded onto the country music video scene. Currently in the top five on CMT Pure, Jamerson and Bentley are definitely being noticed.

“I came to Pikeville on a football scholarship in the fall of 2005. That first year we were ranked in the top 10 in the country most of the year and we made the national playoffs the only time in school history. I absolutely had a blast doing that. Being able to maintain that competitiveness has fueled a lot of our [Sundy Best’s] success so far. We have taken the same approach as we did with sports to the music industry, and we’ve had some success so far. As of today, Home, has debuted at #1, then was #3 in consecutive weeks, and last week was #2. It’s pretty crazy for some small town dudes, but it’s all a testament to our crazy, devoted fans, family and friends who have voted for us like mad men each week. I couldn’t be luckier or more thankful for all that’s going on in my life. I always wanted these things to happen but never knew if they would. I’m just enjoying the ride and living out my dream for as long as I can.

“I have two favorite musicians that I have a great deal of respect for and who have inspired and influenced me. Tom Petty is my all time favorite. His longevity has been, to me, the most impressive thing about him. Getting to play music for as long as he has is great. But to be as relevant as he’s been is what stands out to me. He’s always written his own songs and done it exactly how he’s wanted to. His song writing is in a class of its own just because of all the iconic tunes he’s created. Chris Stapleton is another that just completely blows me away. He’s a local guy that has worked his way up as a songwriter in Nashville and had success with the SteelDrivers along with writing four number one hits for country radio. He’s absolutely the best singer out there. And his writing, as with Petty, is so honest and real. I feel like both artists’ music is timeless. That’s what I want. I want to play music for a living the rest of my life. I want to write songs that no matter what’s going on in the world, no matter what’s trending, these songs still speak to people 50 years from now. I know that in some cases you have to write and do things to be socially relevant but I don’t think that you should completely sell out and just plug lyrics into songs just because you want to make a buck. That’s why I love those guys so much, because they are writing honest tunes that will stand the test of time.

“I know it sounds so cliché, but for the most part it’s simply life experiences that inspire my lyrics and music; family, friends, mistakes, heartbreaks. I feel like when you write about things you know, people can sense the honesty when you perform them. I’ve never been good at fictional songs. It is one thing I do work on. I’m trying to gain perspective from what other people are going through because I want to be able to reach everyone, not just those that are facing similar things that I am.

“Balancing music and everything else in my life becomes more of a challenge the busier I get. Most people don’t consider what I do a real job and, honestly, for the most part, I don’t have to deal with the normal stressors that most people do with day-to-day jobs. But it has been a lot of hard work. At first it was really hard for people to take me seriously when I told them what I do for a living. But the more success I’ve found, the easier it’s become to win people over, so to speak. Juggling being out on the road with family and other responsibilities, like my dog Waylon, can definitely be tough. It all moves so fast that sometimes I can’t call as much as I want or visit as much as I want. It’s hard to explain to people when they don’t understand the hard work that is going into my music. So it’s been an adjustment for everyone in my life. I feel like right now I have a good balance of band and normal stuff and I have really awesome family and friends around me that support me and help me get through it all.

You know, you always hear that the way to “make it” in music is to just pack up and move to Nashville and to play until someone finds you. Of course, I wish that I could have spent more time with music while I was in college but my life has been filled with so many blessing and so many awesome things. At this point in my life, I couldn’t be any happier. I am the person I am because of my time spent at Pikeville. Everything has turned out exactly how it was supposed to. My time spent at UPIKE was invaluable to what I’m doing now. For me, it all started out with the talent showcases each year. I took voice classes while I was there and I spent a lot of time writing in my dorm room in Page Hall. “My Friends and Me,” one of the tunes off the record, was written in Page Hall while I was a junior. Life throws you so much and, like I said, that’s what inspires me and my time there was just so awesome. I gained so much perspective on everything from going to school at the University of Pikeville. I grew up and became an adult and I’m really thankful that’s where I chose to go to college.”

~ Nick Jamerson

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