Steve Azar

Posted in MusicWorld on June 30, 2002 by
  It's a good thing Steve Azar is such an amazing songwriter, because otherwise, he wouldn't be doing what he's doing. "The only reason I want to write songs and play is because I want to play," says the Mississippi native, who quickly adds, "but what I play has got to be the songs I wrote. It just has to be."

Azar is that rare breed who's never made a living doing anything but playing music or writing songs. Even more rare, and a testament to his exceptional talent, is that he's had three publishing deals with the understanding that the publishers were paying him to write songs for himself - they all agreed not to pitch his songs to anyone else. The bet paid off. Azar wrote or co-wrote all 11 tunes on Waitin' On Joe, his Mercury Nashville debut album, released in April, and his debut single, "I Don't Have To Be Me ('til Monday)" reached number two in both Billboard and R&R.

The key to the song's popularity is pretty much what makes Azar himself such a success: Everyone can relate. Like all of Azar's songs, the tune's inspiration came from a slice of real life, a fundamental songwriting law he learned from the blues musicians who hung out behind his father's liquor store in Greenville, Mississippi. "Those guys always told me, 'Keep it real; don't make it up'." It's that honesty that has made Steve Azar a writer of songs that are both personal and universal. The album's second single, "Waitin' On Joe," certainly fills that quest as it encompasses his brother Joe's chronic tardiness, his uncle Joe's untimely death, and his own years in Nashville waiting for his dreams to come true.

The irony is, tardy brother Joe, Azar's manager, has changed his ways and is now "so punctual it's ugly," and Steve Azar no longer waits on his dream, but is full in the throes of living it.

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