Music & Me with … Steve Dunfee

- 01 Mar 2018 -
Image: Steve Dunfee, Singer Songwriter from Mountain City, Tennessee

 When were you first introduced to music?

Great question! I can remember my mother listening to music from when I was just a toddler.  She used to play her favourite albums on the stereo while doing housework and while making dinner for the family. As far as playing music; that, too, was at a young age.  I’d just started fourth grade and my entire class was given a music aptitude test.  Because I scored rather high on the test, the music director called my parents and arranged to come to the house for a visit and to discuss me joining the school’s new music program.  I remember him recommending I learn to play the violin or the viola.  However, I had my heart set on learning to play the trumpet. I compromised, and started to learn how to play the baritone.

Tell me about your favourite music teachers

This one is easy.  My favourite music teacher was Ms. Lissa Fleming who conducted my eighth-grade band in middle school. Ms Fleming allowed me to audition as a trumpet player rather than on baritone.  I landed first chair and was finally playing the instrument I’d always wanted to play.  Then, in high school, she also directed our jazz band and I played lead trumpet in that band, through my senior year. Ms Fleming also gave me my first taste of recording music when our eighth-grade band recorded an album on vinyl as a school project. I remember that being quite fun!

What are your fondest musical memories?

The first that comes to mind was when I was in the Army in the early 80’s, and deployed to Honduras for six months. I was luckily able to pack a guitar in some secure equipment so I could take it with me.  I was an air traffic controller and a Honduran helicopter pilot used to fly into our small base several times a week. We met and it turned out that he also played guitar. So, he started bringing his guitar on his chopper whenever he knew he’d be seeing me, and he always seemed to have an hour or two to just sit and jam with me.  He spoke very little English, and I spoke even less Spanish, but music allowed us to communicate in ways I cannot explain. We learned a lot from each other and became close friends.

The second, and perhaps fondest musical memory, has to be winning an open mic contest with an original song I’d written, where the grand prize was a 6-hour recording session at a studio up in Virginia!  That inspired me to write more music and use the recording time to record the tracks for my first album Appalachian Reflections – this was the turning point for me to transition from a music hobbyist to a professional singer-songwriter.

What is your favourite TV theme tune and film soundtrack?

The theme from Hawaii Five-O – as a trumpet player, that song always appealed to me – and The Sound of Music soundtrack.

What was the last CD/download/Vinyl you bought?    

An old album I used to have that I remembered loving. I found an almost mint condition vinyl copy of Poco’s Deliverin’. It’s a fantastic album I’ll never tire of listening to.                      

You have been given a voucher for £330.00 or equivalent to spend on equipment, CDs, DVDs or tickets. How will you spend it?

Given the four choices, I would use it towards equipment (nothing specific in mind – yet ☺). That way, I’d be investing it into my music rather than for personal pleasure.

How do you balance your music with other obligations?

I just try to make sure that everything else that has higher priority is handled before I devote any time to music. Sometimes this means my music is put on hold for a short period, and if that happens, it’s okay.  Life goes on… music is just a small part of what I do, and it does not completely define who I am.

Happiness is … a harmonic balance of God, family, friends, all surrounded with faith, hope, and love.


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Twitter: @SteveDunfee



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