East Tennessee artist shares love for music while social distancing

HUNTSVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Jordan Hughett of Scott County has had a love for music since he was three-years-old. His dreams are becoming a reality after he was recently granted a $5,000 fellowship from South Arts, an organization serving artists across nine states.

Jordan Hughett has been playing the banjo since he was 3-years-old. /Source: WVLT News

"I was three-years-old when I got my first banjo," said Hughett. "I told my mother I wanted a banjo for my birthday, and she got me a toy banjo and I looked at my mother and said 'I don't want a toy. I want a real one,' and she and my dad looked around and found a friend who had one for sale."

The artist finds his inspiration from a country and folk artist from the 1920s, Buell Kazee. He never got to meet his favorite artist, but he has formed a relationship with Kazee's son Phillip, whom he calls a mentor.

"I read a saying that when words fail music speaks, and music is not just something you hear, it's something you feel," said Hughett.

After being granted the fellowship from South Arts, Hughett is now eligible to win the 'Southern Prize' of $25,000.

Although social distancing is the new norm for Americans, Hughett is still finding a way to share his love for music with others by performing songs on Facebook live from his living room with his family.

"People commented to let us know if they had a song in particular they would like us to play, and we hope to do it again maybe to just spread some positivity in the community and let everyone know that this is not the worst we've ever had and everything is going to be better,"said Hughett.

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