Write for someone, not anyone

Local artist elaborates on significance of pursuing aspirations


Musician Keith Tubbs expresses the importance of loving one’s passions despite obstacles. He is dedicated to pursuing lyrical writing and folk-indie music. Submitted photo

Story by Langley Leverett, editor in chief

In every city there’s an underground current constantly flowing, an atmosphere of intense competition intertwined with art- a silent rivalry centered on who can speak the best truth. Although creativity isn’t a genuine product of contest, it is fueled by a hungry endeavor to reach the next step: making others feel raw emotion that words alone simply don’t have the power to accomplish.

In an interview with Genoa native singer-songwriter Keith Tubbs, he illustrates the trials and triumphs of being a local musician, and discloses his true devotion: writing music. Like any ardent artist, the admiration started young.

“My first memory of music is of when I was about three, my sisters would sing country songs and try to teach me the words so I could sing with them. I just remember liking the melodies,” Tubbs said. “So I guess it was a natural progression from there. I got an electric guitar for my 14th birthday and that’s when I really started to learn to play.”

Now 27-years-old, Tubbs has trekked through the experiences of young experimentation as well as playing in a rock band dubbed “Us and the Ship.” They produced two full albums from 2014 to 2017, each focusing on ambiguous concepts of life, love and every hazy thing in between. Despite hailing from a quaint southern town, Tubbs found a way to pursue his true affections.

His music can be found on iTunes, Spotify, BandCamp and YouTube.

“As a young musician I would dream about making a career out of music and getting big enough to not have to worry about working a day job,” Tubbs said. “I guess that’s the major challenge of being a local band, you’re trying to be more than a local band and it’s really hard to do without touring constantly. That’s really the main reason why my band ‘Us and the Ship’ didn’t tour as much as we would have liked, and why we ended up moving to Nashville. We wanted to be able to give our music a shot without having to travel a lot, and we did some cool things in Nashville, but we were all still working day jobs and not doing much as far as progress in the music industry.”

From playing shows all over the Ark-La-Tex, to chasing dreams in Nashville, Tubbs now lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. Tubbs and his wife are pouring their efforts into starting a family, all the while keeping a tight grip on personal ambitions.

“My wife and I began talking about wanting to start a family and that was the catalyst to our moving back to Arkansas,” Tubbs said. “We wanted to be closer to home. So now I have more time to focus on my solo work which Is what I’ve always been most passionate about so I’m really excited.”

Now developing music on his own, Tubbs has released a traditional folk album titled “No Butterfly Stitches.” Captivating in melody and earnest in lyrics, it brings forth memories of simpler times, and questions spirituality, family and relationships in a new light.

“My favorite music to work on would be my singer-songwriter stuff. I’ll usually just sit down with an acoustic guitar and mess around until I find something I like, then I’ll find a vocal melody I like, and start writing lyrics to the mood or whatever I’m feeling at the time,” Tubbs said. “This process makes it easy for me to express something honest, and that’s what I love about music- it gives me the ability to do that.”

Passions for some are the only constant foundation, and for Tubbs, writing is the solution and healthy outlet. He plans to keep working toward solo accomplishments, while keeping a steady eye on his developing family.

I’ve always said that no matter where I’m at in my life. I will continue to write music even if it’s only for the sake of writing it.”

— Keith Tubbs

“What drives me to keep pushing for more is just my love for writing. I’ve always said that no matter where I’m at in my life, I will continue to write music even if it’s only for the sake of writing it,” Tubbs said. “The fact that people continue to support me and enjoy what I write is incredible, and that’s also why I continue to do it. I’m hoping to write a new solo album this year. Other than that I’m not really sure, I’m just enjoying the process.”

Life is a story worth documenting, whether it be in the form of music, poetry or other forms of eclectic expression. Keeping this in mind, he comments on the profoundness of having a purpose in creating. Humble in origin, he expresses a common sentiment of persevering over obstacles, choosing to do what he loves, instead of worrying about the benefits it might reap.

“My inspiration is life, as corny as that sounds. Most of my songs are just expressions of my own experiences. I also get a lot of inspiration from books, and all kinds of music,” Tubbs said. “Advice for young musicians: I would just say be honest and write what you feel. There’s a quote out there, I’m not sure by who, but it goes something like ‘write for someone, not anyone.’ I think that’s really good advice.”