A&M/Octone
Kevin Hammond

Singer/songwriter Kevin Hammond said no one in particular inspired him to pursue music as a career.

"My dad listened to so many different artists that I couldn't pick just one artist or two or anything like that," Hammond said during a lunch break from Washington, D.C.

Still, music is in his bones and in his head, he said. In fact, Hammond considers himself blessed with the gift of songwriting.

"I don't spend that much time writing each song either," he said. "I'll come up with a song in five or 10 minutes. The words will just come to me, and I'll have like the melody. It's kind of weird."

That gift was utilized when recording his debut album on A&M/Octone Records, which will be released in early 2010.

"I have a lot of songs," he said. "I probably have 100 songs that I could've used."

Hammond and his producer, Michael Blue, who has worked with Colbie Caillat, chose to use Hammond's guitar songs, even though he also plays the piano.

"We started with 16 or 17 songs and narrowed it down," Hammond said. "There will probably be 11 songs on the album."

Blue was open to Hammond's ideas but also wanted to please the record label, said Hammond.

"When we first started I had a bunch of ideas, and we put down everything I wanted," he said. "And the label was 'OK, this doesn't sound like what we thought you did.' So we kind of changed it.

"It was a give and take with everybody, but Michael is really easy to work with and is a nice person.

"He flew me from Wisconsin to L.A. two years ago and let me stay at his studio and signed me to his production company," Hammond said.

Blue also got Hammond signed to the record label, which was one of Hammond's goals.

"I want to sing for the world," he said with a laugh. "I definitely wanted to get signed to a label and get marketed."

Hammond said getting to where he is now took a bit of self-examination.

"You have to give up everything else and put everything that you have toward that one thing," he said. "If you really believe in it and truthfully believe that is what you're supposed to do, then it will happen."

Hammond gave up his job and lived in a van for six months and made some cheap CDs.

He started playing some shows and getting recognized.

"I've been through a lot of stuff and sacrificed to get to where I am now," he said. "But I think anybody can do that. I think if anybody believes enough and sacrifices and gets over the fear of not having something else to fall back on and just know what they do have will get them somewhere. I think it will end up carrying them to where they need to be."

Hammond said during his musical journey he came to some crossroads of indecision and he chose to carry on with his music.

"Once you get to a point where you wanted to be, you're like 'I was right. I'm glad I made that choice.' Because if I had gone the other way, I wouldn't be here today."

IF YOU GO …

What: Kate Voegele, Kevin Hammond

Where: Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court, Salt Lake City

When: Saturday, 6 p.m.

How much: $15

Phone: 801-467-8499

Web: www.kilbycourt.com, www.smithstix.com or www.24tix.com

e-mail: [email protected]