I write about country music. Mostly.

Knock, Knock, Can We Have Your Autograph, Trent Harmon?

American Idol Season 15 winner Trent Harmon is shooting for a career in country music. The combination of his ability to tell a story with a song, unique singing voice, and likable country-boy personality seem well aligned for that. But what’s sure to help him clinch country stardom is another essential ingredient: He understands you gotta show country fans love, even at inconvenient moments.

Trent promised the army of fans he gathered during American Idol that he’d stay in touch after the show ended. So far, so good. His social media accounts (Trent has 73.7 K followers on Twitter and 140K on Instagram; 113K likes on Facebook; 2.8 million likes on Periscope, and he’s a regular story builder on Snapchat) are full of photos and posts about his ongoing media appearances, travel, music-making, and also slice of life events like playing with his dog and going to the barber. Trent also routinely answers specific Tweets from fans, and with help from his mom, Cindy, he’s gone live on Periscope to open a slew of fan mail. What a guy, what a mom.

Perhaps most thrilling, Trent has staged weekly online mini-concerts to mark Idol Thursdays. With his phone propped in front of him and guitar in hand, Trent treats fans to renditions of the songs he sang on Idol as well as other covers and classics.  After the website tasteofcountry.com posted a YouTube link to his May 5 session, 23K viewers watched it within a week.

But for this fan his April 21 session was the most fun. During that episode Trent is hunkered down in a travel camper on his folks’ farm near Amory, MS. Wearing a t-shirt, shorts and a snapback, Trent opened a Periscope stream and almost instantly, nearly a 1,000 fans tuned in to hear him sing and take requests via the website’s chat feature. We heard Justin Timberlake’s Drink You Away, Big Daddy Weave’s Redeemed, Chris Stapleton’s What are You Listening To?, Parson James’ Waiting Game and even some Roberta Flack, plus lots more.

Great songs and singing aside, the most endearing part comes when Trent isn’t performing. About 18 minutes into the concert there’s a knock at the door and Trent jumps up and out of sight to answer. It is a lady with a fantastic southern accent who is seeking an autograph. Trent patiently obliges and tries to explain about the 1,000 people waiting for him. She apologizes and keeps talking. We hear six, “yes, ma’ams” before he pries away and is back to sing.  Earlier, Mama Harmon also interrupted Trent briefly to provide some feedback as he was struggling with the online connection. She watches out for Trent and his fans!

Trent singing from a camper in his parents’ backyard after the glitz of Hollywood is kinda mind-blowing. And it is revealing to watch his southern charm and manners kick in when a fan makes a tiny, but inconveniently-timed request. Country radio host Bobby Bones recently told his listeners, “Anyone creative only gets to create because of people who consume what it is we are putting out there.” Trent seems to understand that. Good for him.

The video was originally posted by another fan on YouTube – I have no rights!





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