Stephen Thomas Azar or as we know him, Steve Azar, is a hit country music singer-songwriter, with multiple hits that were released in the early 2000s. The Mississippi native is passionate about his hometown, helping those in need, and music.
Azar was born in in Greenville, Mississippi in 1964. Like many other successful artists, he started young, writing songs when he was just 10 years old. He even had his first Nashville recording session when he was 14. He continued playing music while he attended college at Delta State University. Azar played the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans where fellow Mississippi native, Faith Hill was in the audience as his fan.
After releasing an album called Heartbreak Town that didn't match Azar's style, he and his "Delta Soul" style music (i.e. a combination of country, rock, and blues) traveled around the southern United States performing over 200 shows a year, playing country songs wherever he got the chance. After moving to Nashville and signing a record deal with Mercury Nashville, Azar released his debut album, Waitin' on Joe. His single "I Don't Have to Be Me ('til Monday)" reached number 2 on the country Billboard chart and the title track, "Waitin' on Joe," reached No. 1. The video for "Waitin' on Joe" features actor and Mississippi native Morgan Freeman.
The singer's most recent album is Down at the Liquor Store which was recorded as Steve Azar & The Kings Men and released in 2018. It was the first album recorded at the historic Mississippi landmark, Club Ebony which is part of the B.B. King Museum. It was transformed into a recording studio just to record the album. How cool is that?
As if music didn't keep him busy enough, Azar is also a passionate philanthropist. He founded the Steve Azar St. Cecilia Foundation with his wife Gwen in 2006. The foundation works to raise money for charity organizations, namely in the Mississippi Delta region that help children as well as promote the growth of art and music programs. The main fundraiser is the annual Delta Soul Celebrity Golf & Charity Event that is held in Azar's hometown of in Greenville, Mississippi. He's an avid golfer himself, making guest appearances at various celebrity golf tournaments over the years.
Azar even donated the proceeds of various songs to particular causes. "The Sky is Falling" proceeds went on to support anti-trafficking efforts and "Our Castle is Your Home" was recorded for the Sanford Children's Hospital.
In 2017, the recording artist was appointed by Governor Phil Bryant as the Music & Culture Ambassador of Mississippi. When he's not supporting the Mississippi arts, you can hear from Azar on his podcast, "In A Mississippi Minute." He also continues to perform at various charity benefits and golf tournaments.
From Azar's studio albums Slide On Over Here, My Mississippi Reunion, and Indianola, you can add these popular songs to your playlist: "You Don't Know A Thing," "Doin' It Right," "Sunshine," and "Midnight."
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This article was originally published on Oct. 11, 2019.