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Local singer’s history adds color to his music

Angie Mayes • Updated Aug 18, 2016 at 11:00 AM

For Chazz Wesley and traditional country music, classic country music is what it’s all about. Bro music just doesn’t cut it.

“I love classic and traditional country,” he said. “I’m not a fan of new country music. It’s not real country.”

A Michigan native, Wesley moved to Nashville in 1998, to be involved in the music industry.

“I thought I was doing OK, but until I got sober four-and-a-half years ago, I realized the whole realm of everything changed. Life as I knew it for years has never been the same. I thought I had to live the life of the songs I was singing. Today, I have a realm of people who have made it big. They are friends of mine and help me cut records.”

Wesley said now, “I have the best of the best in my corner. It just blows my mind. If I’d have known years ago what I know now, I’d have quit drinking years ago.”

He said he’s lucky his wife stuck by his side, and they recently celebrated 18 years of marriage. 

“When we moved to Lebanon, my life really changed,” he said. “I enjoy helping people. It helps keep me sober, and I like going to [Alcoholics Anonymous] and helping other people. It helps keep me sober.”

Wesley doesn’t take being sober for granted. In fact, he credits God for helping him be who be his.

“He gives me my voice,” Wesley said. “I recognize Him first and foremost. Things are better every day because He gives me more. You think you can handle it without God, but you can’t if drugs and alcohol is still a part of you.”

Wesley owns an automotive repair shop in Lebanon and sees it as an example of the fact that people can change.

“I’ve been in the Wilson County Jail,” he said. “Now I’m hoping to give my son a place to work when he gets out of prison. It’s hard to find a job when you have a record, but I’m going to help him, because I can. I care about my children. I thought I was doing things the right way, but with drugs and alcohol, you are a liability.”
Wesley wants to be a true role model for his children, as well as others who are struggling with drugs and alcohol.

“It’s been my life and I’d do it again,” he said. “I wouldn’t change a thing, because that’s my story. It’s made me who I am. I’m OK with it. We’re only here today. Tomorrow is not promised. I’ve learned to take it one day at a time. I don’t know what tomorrow brings. I have great, healthy relationships with people and treat them the way I want to be treated.”

He said he helps other alcoholics and addicts because he can. He’s been there and knows what they’re going through.

Being sober has changed his life in country music, he said. He’s the current male vocalist of the year on the independent radio charts and is up for male vocalist and entertainer of the year this year.

“It’s all because of God,” he said. “He gave me my voice. If I was to die tomorrow, I don’t want my memory to be that I was a total jerk. I want them to remember me for today.”

Wesley grew up poor, but was influenced by Conway Twitty, George Jones and Alan Jackson. He loved to sing and couldn’t get that out of his bloodstream.”

Wesley is part of the house band at John A’s on Music Valley Drive in Nashville every weekend, playing to hundreds of people each month.

“Moe Bandy has sung with us,” he said. “Jeanie Seeley has been there a lot. It’s a great time and it’s all because of God.”

Wesley said he loves his mother and, because her favorite singer is Randy Travis, Wesley would love to sing on the Grand Old Opry stage with Randy Travis.

He is currently working on an album, but hopes to release a new single at the end of the month. He credits a lot of music industry people with his successes today. Jim Vest, Buddy Hyde, John Hobbs and others are his friends. They are helping him find successes in music.

Wesley competed in the recent Bates Ford Talent Show at the Capitol Theatre in Lebanon. Although he didn’t win, he made it to the top 12.

“That was amazing,” he said. “Again, I have to thank God. When I showed up the first time, I prayed for God to help me. He knew what He was doing and helped me throughout the competition. I don’t get nervous because I know He has my back. I didn’t win, but Elvis never won a competition, and he was the king of rock and roll.”

Wesley said he first started talking to God when he was in jail. He said, “If everybody wants to change their life, they just need to reach out to Him. He can change it. He changed me. I’m a father, husband, son, brother and friends. Something I never really was. I now ask ‘what can I do for you? Not, what can you do for me. This isn’t the last of my story, it’s only the beginning.”

He’s not a songwriter because he said, “there are so many great songwriters in the industry. I don’t need the whole pie, just a piece of it. I’ve had two No. 1 songs on internet radio. I’ve been No. 1 in the Netherlands for 10 weeks. I’m an international success. But I believe songs need to mean something. They need to be about a feeling and touch you. You can cry happy or sad tears. It’s all about emotion.”

For more information about Wesley, like him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter or Instagram.

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