Music & Culture Ambassador of Mississippi, Steve Azar is a modern-day Renaissance man, hit songwriter, recording artist, music producer, consultant, golfer and philanthropist. Steve likes to call his own breed of music “Delta Soul,” a mixture of country, rock and blues.
His debut album Waitin’ On Joe was released in 2001. The title track went to #1 on CMT and featured Academy award-winning actor Morgan Freeman. From the same album the hit single “I Don’t Have To Be Me (‘Til Monday)” received three BMI Million-Air awards for over 3 million in air plays and is one of the top five most played songs of the past decade on country radio.
Indianola, the follow up album to Waitin’ on Joe, was the debut release from Azar’s own independent music label, Dang/Ride Records featuring the singles “You Don’t Know a Thing” and “You’re My Life”. The video for “You Don’t Know a Thing” starred PGA player, John Daly, and was an instant favorite at the country music video channels. “You’re my Life”, is still a strong seller and fan favorite to this day. Indianola also received strong critical reviews and landed the album at #1 on the XM Radio “Country Outlaw” channel, bumping Willie Nelson out of the #1 spot, and then giving up the #1 spot to John Mellencamp the next week.
In People Magazine, Taylor Swift said that her favorite song of the year 2010 was Steve Azar’s “Sunshine.” The album Slide On Over Here, featuring the hit single “Sunshine,” was spotlighted in Oprah’s O Magazine in her Oprah’s Favorite Things edition in 2011. “Sunshine” was also featured in US Weekly Magazine in June 2012 as one of the most popular celebrity wedding songs.
Steve has written, and recorded songs for film and has been the music supervisor for a number of movies. “Doin’ It Right” (Delta Mix) off the album Delta Soul Volume One, was the feature track for Sony Pictures 2013 movie Here Comes The Boom starring Kevin James and Salma Hayek Steve wrote “Fly”, the official song for the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail. His performance at the opening ceremonies reached an audience of one billion households. “Fly” was also used as the feature song for Sony Pictures movie: Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 starring actor Kevin James.
As a songwriter, Reba McEntire, Danny Gokey and others have cut his songs.
In 2007, Azar was personally chosen by Bob Seger to perform 46 shows on what has been rated the #1 Tour in America by Pollstar Magazine.
An accomplished golfer, Steve has been ranked one of the top five musicians that play golf by Golf Digest Magazine numerous times. He is a frequent guest at charity golf tournaments across the country. In 2006, Steve and his wife Gwen started the Steve Azar St. Cecilia Foundation, and annually host the Delta Soul Celebrity Golf & Charity Event. Since its inception, the foundation has channeled nearly $900,000 to many worthwhile causes in the Delta and beyond. Steve has additionally raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charitable causes through the auctioning of songs. These songs are written for the highest bidder’s charity of choice.
In April of 2016, Steve became the first artist to record a full-length studio album at the legendary Mississippi landmark, Club Ebony. A long time in the making, and his first record in 5 years, Steve cut 13 new original tracks. The club, now belonging to the BB King Museum, was turned into a recording studio capturing the rich history and vibe of the room and in turn inspiring incredible performances on the record. The album was made with the participation of The Kings Men, a group of musicians who backed BB King, Elvis Presley, and other musical kings. The combination of Steve’s Delta songwriting approach and the band's musical background has created a unique and soulful sound that audiences will be hearing in the later part of 2017.
Steve Azar & The Kings Men made their live debut headlining 2016’s BB King Homecoming Festival. The band headlined both the Mississippi Night at The GRAMMY’s in Los Angeles during February 2017 and the Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration in Jackson in December of 2017. The new record is accompanied by a full-length feature documentary combining the making of the record with the musical trajectory of The Kings Men and the Mississippi Delta’s important musical influence on the world music scene. The film, titled Something In The Water, was released in 2017.
Steve has been honored with “Steve Azar Day” in the states of Mississippi (on March 13th) and South Dakota (on August 10th).
He is the co-founder of Ride Records and in 2013 co-founded the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival, dubbed “A Southern Gem” by the American Blues Scene magazine and included in Acoustic Guitar magazine’s 2014 Roadside Americana: 50 States 50 Must-Attend Events.
With a keen interest in mentorship and giving back to the Delta, Steve enjoys being the artist in residence at the Delta Music Institute, part of Delta State University.
Governor Paul R. LePage has requested that all the Governors in the United States use Steve’s song, “The Sky is Falling,” as a way to spread awareness about the serious issue of human trafficking in America.
Steve is an in-demand keynote speaker. His speeches highlight the importance of giving back and that it is never too soon to start. From the sports world to the world of entertainment, Steve has had success and has also had his share of trials and tribulations; his speeches are full of the lessons learned.
Steve narrated "Second Crossing: The Making of The Mississippi Bridge" for Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) back in 2007. Later in 2016 his voice was used for a series of 12 short documentaries celebrating MDOT’s 100th Anniversary.
In 2016, Azar began his consulting company All Access Azar offering a wide range of consulting services in the areas of artist and songwriter development and coaching, music production, festival and special events production, music publishing and licensing, and talent buying.
2017 marks the bicentennial of the state of Mississippi. Steve has been appointed Music & Culture Ambassador of Mississippi and is working closely with the State of Mississippi in his official role. This position enables him to continue making a positive impact on the State’s tourism and economy. His Delta Soul Celebrity Golf & Charity Event and Mighty Mississippi Music Festival have added millions in economic impact to the state. As ambassador Steve is making an even larger impact.
Steve is the recipient of the 2018 prestigious Mississippi Arts Commission “Governor's Choice Award”.
In January 2018, Steve began hosting his own radio show and podcast “In A Mississippi Minute with Steve Azar”. Steve takes on the other side of the interview asking the questions and talking with friends from all walks of celebrity sharing their stories
to success and what’s going on in their lives now. The show is broadcast throughout the state on SuperTalk Mississippi radio network and available nationally online and via podcast.
In February of 2019, he co-founded and hosted his first Mockingbird Music Series. A bi-monthly musical dinner series featuring intimate performances with some of Nashville’s best and prolific award-winning songwriters, telling the stories behind their hits and performing them as originally written. The first annual Mockingbird Songwriters Music Festival was held in 2021, co-founded and produced by Steve.
He was named to the 2019 class of Mississippi Top 50 in the Business, Media and Culture category. Mississippi Top 50 is an annual list of the people who are judged to be the most influential leaders in the state. This bipartisan selection of leaders comes from the ranks of elected and appointed officials, economic development professionals, business, media and government affairs.
In October of 2019, Azar was enshrined on the Mississippi Country Music Trail as the trail’s 32nd marker was unveiled in Greenville, Mississippi. Governor Bryant was in attendance and spoke at the marker unveiling ceremony. Azar's class also included the legends Jerry Lee Lewis (Nesbit, MS) and Marty Gamblin (Philadelphia, MS) as well as Johnny Cash’s “Starkville City Jail” track and Jimmie Rodgers’ Bristol, Tennessee music sessions.
Also, in 2019, Azar officially released the bicentennial anthem “One Mississippi" after a request from then Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant that Steve write the official song to commemorate the state's bicentennial anniversary. From slug burgers to The Muppets to the Natchez Trace Parkway, “One Mississippi” highlights the charm and history of the Magnolia State. The song was recorded at The Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience (The Max) in Meridian. The official music video, filmed and produced by Azar’s son Strack, documents the recording session.
In 2020, Azar co-founded The Mighty Roots Music Festival. The inaugural event will be held October 1-2, 2021 on historic Stovall Farms, just outside of Clarksdale, MS and 70 miles south of Memphis, TN.
In October 2020, Azar released a compilation exclusive vinyl, CD and digital release titled “My Mississippi Reunion” featuring a collection of new and remastered songs, all about home.