Podcast Radar: New Nashville Podcast ‘Stories From The 615’ Talks Music, Culture, & All Things Music City

Madeleine Kate and Ace Coontz have teamed up to launch a new Nashville podcast called Stories from the 615.

Personal stories as well as those of upcoming legends (musical and non-musical) in Nashville are featured on the radio show formatted podcast, creating a space for the underdogs. From trivia, guest call-ins, current events, and new singles from a variety of indie artists, the podcast captures it all. Not to mention they feature non-profit organizations and small businesses, as well as have a monthly segment called “Tails From Nashville” to showcase a dog that is up for adoption from rescue. 

Having graduated with a BBA in Music Business/Production from Belmont University, Coontz is now an audio engineer at two rock bars in Downtown Nashville. Prior, they were the co-creator/co-host of the Music City Confessional podcast that debuted in 2020. Coontz also finds themself songwriting and performing and is a non-binary and active force in the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Kate is also a supporter of minority groups and is a freelance entertainment marketing expert as well as an indie rock artist. Also having graduated from Belmont in Music Business/Production, she loves to write and record her own music and was the marketing manager for the Music City Confessional podcast until its end. 

Throughout the first episode, the musical impact of Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton is discussed, along with “36 Questions to Fall in Love” answered by the two hosts. Upcoming shows will feature the Tik Tok famous Chloe Collins, and upcoming artists such as Joe Johnson and Grace O’Shea. Sharing about the heart of the podcast, Kate explained, “We are creating a heartfelt, safe space for our guests to come as they are and be celebrated. Ace and I have been through a lot together and the greatest traits we have in common are our love of entertainment and laughing through the hard times”.    

They value the voices from all kinds of people being heard, and if you are looking to get your single on their next podcast, submissions can be sent here.

So how did you two meet, and how did the idea of starting the Stories from the 615 podcast come about?

Madeleine Kate: We met at Belmont University in the fall of 2015. It was our freshman year at Belmont, and we both had the same guitar class. Ace seemed really cool and outgoing, so I went up to them and proclaimed that I recognized them from Facebook. Ace had no idea who I was but acted like they did, and we became fast friends. 

Ace Coontz: I felt so bad because she was so nice and I had no idea who she even was….so I just pretended to know her and she saw right through that….so that’s how I knew we’d be friends. 

MK: Ace was the host of another podcast called Music City Confessional for a little over a year, and I was the social media manager. With the coronavirus and creative differences, the other host decided to step away. Ace and I still wanted to work on a podcast, but we did not know exactly what we wanted to do. Ace came over to my apartment and we just started talking about new possibilities. At first, we talked about auditioning another host, and I would be the marketing manager. That decision changed when we realized that our banter is comical and we have so many funny stories together. 

AC: I mean we had so many weird things happen to both of us in college, in the industry, and so many shared experiences that after a bit of time we found comical. From our dorm being haunted, to crazy tinder dates, and finally seeing how friends have grown and changed, we knew there would be so many stories to tell. I immediately agreed Maddie should be the other host because I knew she is hardworking, diligent, easy and fun to work with! 

MK: Then, it hit us that we wanted a podcast based around storytelling. So, we started coming up with names involving Nashville and storytelling. Our goal is to lift up voices that are not always heard, so we branded around that idea.

AC: We really saw a lack of diverse voices in the industry and on different projects. How many white male producers, engineers, etc. do you hear about per day in comparison to women and LGBTQIA people? A ton. 

What do you believe makes for a good, engaging story?

MK: I think good stories come from being genuine. I think the best stories come from people that are purposeful with their storytelling. Humans want to hear interesting stories, and they also want to become attached to the characters in the stories they hear. 

AC: I agree with the genuineness, but also that some of the best stories come from first hand experiences and just living life. I have had some of the most bizarre experiences in my short 23 years that I used to share with people to make them laugh. Fellow friends, musicians, and even random people would ask for a story. I truly enjoyed just sharing experiences. No matter if you’re a construction worker, grocery store clerk, anyone; you have at least a handful of stories you can tell. The place, your reaction, and anything to make the person you’re talking to live in that moment with you helps too. 

How do you hope to stand out in a world with podcasts essentially growing on trees?

MK: I would hope our enthusiasm for our project in particular would make people excited to listen. I think we have an advantage because we sit in the middle of two generations. We were born in 1996 and 1997, so we are not quite millennials or Gen Zers. I am hoping because of this, we can engage both generations. I think there is a lot of interest in Nashville currently, and there are not a lot of podcasts that have two people still trying to make it in entertainment talking about their experiences with that. We also have some cool marketing ideas that I have not seen other podcasts do. These plans will come to fruition once it’s safer to gather. I think if people actually take time to listen to an episode, they will be pleasantly surprised.

AC: Honestly, I’ve had pretty good feedback with Nashville stories I tell to people in my hometown; where here working with some huge artists is super normal, it’s completely out of the normal there. And where everyone has a studio in Nashville, practically no one has one in Texas, unless you’re a major country artist. We have something that I know people will enjoy. There’s not a ton of podcasts or platforms out there looking to highlight people who fall between the gaps in Entertainment because major companies own most of the business and they stupidly don’t see profit in this. Which is okay; that’s more people for us to meet and vibe with and tell their story. 

As songwriters yourselves, what styles of music do you connect with most?

MK: I grew up on country music, so no matter what, I will always have a special place in my heart for it. Currently, I am really connecting with indie, rock, and alternative; Maude Latour, Ginger Rodriguez, Highly Suspect, Taylor Swift.

AC: Honestly I grew up on Eminem, Rihanna, Garth Brooks, and The Eagles due to my dad and my sister. But now I love classic blues, rock, and the line between classic and modern country. I write more blues rock right now, but that’s probably due to my current job working at a blues bar. Some of my favorite influences are The Eagles, The Pretty Reckless, BB King, True Villains, Billie Eilish, Garth Brooks, Mickey Guyton; Ashley McBryde, and Miranda Lambert. So a wide variety!

What do your different careers in music bring to the table, and how do they impact your views of independent artists and life in Nashville?

MK: I do freelance entertainment marketing and work mostly with independent creators. I understand the ins-and-outs of being an indie artist because I am one. I see opportunity all around Nashville, but I am not naive to the hard work and amount of rejection that comes with pursuing a career in entertainment.

AC: I work in live sound, so I have a TON of artists coming my way. Some are signed from back in the day, and some are younger and still unsigned. The younger artists are some of the best players in town, and it’s really opened me to new artists and connections in a major way. I too am a writer and seek to write with as many people as I can to get my music out there! My audio knowledge has helped me on the recording side for this podcast, and it’s helped me figure out how to troubleshoot and work through problems on the fly. ‘Cause at my work, you might have fellow audio engineer’s numbers….but on a show it’s just you. And that’s it. No one else is there with you; and if someone doesn’t answer their phone, you better step up and figure out a quick fix. 

MK: We bring different talents to the podcast and it works great for us! Ace has a greater strength in networking and audio production while I have a background in marketing and design. We both tend to be more interested in people that are still trying to “make it” because that is where we are at in our careers. 

Other than music, what topics and aspects can folks expect to hear discussed in the podcast?

MK: We will discuss topics from our lives like dating, human rights, Nashville life, and being in our 20s. We also have a scary stories series planned for the month of October.

AC: Really nothing is off limits, but we do respect the person we interview’s right to pick and choose what they want and don’t want to talk about. But expect some funny stories, sad stories, and even some warnings about different industries. Life is a great mix of all of these emotions, so we don’t want to limit to just one or just one topic. But definitely expect some human rights, LGBTQIA personal stories, drag queens, kings, and people, and anything that falls under 615 or the entertainment scope. 

What will the trivia be about and how can people call-in?

MK: So we used trivia as a broad term. Every week, we will have our first segment of three be about current events or what we are currently going through. Sometimes, we will play games, sometimes we will discuss a newsworthy topic, and sometimes we will share things like bad interview stories. Because of the coronavirus, all of our guests will call in. Ace is fully vaccinated now, but I’m still waiting to get my vaccination. You can apply to be a guest by contacting us on our website or messaging us on our social media (@storiesfromthe615). We will then send you a form to fill out.

AC: Vaccinations are great things; and we want to make sure everyone is as safe as possible. I mean we might try and find people (when it’s safe enough) to randomly come on and answer some questions about Nashville, or the entertainment industry. I love videos where people go out on the street and try to ask random tourists questions about the city. It’s just one of my guilty pleasures. So, that might be a trivia segment! 

Are there any guests you would love to have on the podcast or are already looking forward to talking to?

MK: All of the guests that we have recorded so far have been amazing! We are so excited for everyone to hear their Nashville stories and what they are up to now. We have had Chloe Collins and Grace O’Shea announced so far, and their interviews are so heartfelt. I would say to expect a lot of “underdogs” on our podcast. We both feel strongly about elevating voices that are unheard. I would really love to have Charlie Worsham, Devin Dawson, and Avenue Beat sometime in the future. 

AC: So the 2 guests so far have been great and are good friends of mine! It’s just been like a networking event for us where you ask questions, share jokes, stories, and contacts at the end of the day. One of my biggest things is connecting and networking; instead of one person rising up by themselves, we can all build and work together. I would absolutely love to have a ton more queer artists on the podcast, as well as BIPOC and just anyone from groups that are unfortunately looked over a lot of the time; despite being some of the most talented people in history.

I’m looking forward to having a few musicians I work with on: Ping Rose, JuJu, and Poyee. They are all some of the most talented players and absolute goofballs. They’re in a band called Ping Rose and the Anti Heroes; they always tear up the stage and put on an amazing show when they play. We also have many guests that I’m excited for waiting in the wings that I’ve either heard their stories or been lucky to be a part of them, so I’m very excited for those too. A dream guest would be Ashley McBryde or Lady Gaga as well!

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