The grandstands of the Vanderburgh County Fair were rocking on July 27 in a homecoming for Sean Stemaly, who returned to the same venue where he’s attended countless live music shows. Only this time, it was Stemaly entertaining fairgoers using his charming southern drawl, heartland soul, and catchy country tunes.
“I’ve been in this crowd so many times back whenever I didn’t even know I could do music,” he says. “This one specifically is kind of cool to me just because five years ago, I never would’ve thought I would be on the stage side of things.”
The William Henry Harrison High School graduate has rocketed into the country music scene from humble roots, spending his days in fields singing along to the radio atop a tractor while working for his family’s business, Stemaly Excavating. He released a few videos online in the mid-2010s showcasing his singing prowess but had no intention of breaking out into the competitive country music industry. It wasn’t until a friend convinced him to go to Nashville, Tennessee, to try his hand at songwriting that he became obsessed.
“I’d work all day for my dad (Jeff) and grandpa (Larry) and then write songs all night,” he says. “Eventually, I had to make a choice between the two.”
One of Pandora’s 2021 country artists to watch, Stemaly moved to the Music City in 2017, and two years later, his dreams became a reality when he signed with Big Loud Records after the success of his single “Georgia.” His music has already garnered more than 135 million on-demand streams, and his debut album “Product of a Small Town,” released earlier this year, pays homage to his experiences growing up in Southern Indiana and relates to his days as a heavy equipment operator.
“I haven’t been doing music my whole life,” Stemaly says. “A lot of people I grew up with are blue-collar workers, and I feel like I’m a blue-collar guy. The experiences from living that kind of lifestyle helped me write the songs that I’ve made.”
Stemaly is on tour promoting his debut album and will open on three dates of Justin Moore’s “The Country On It Tour” in September.