Singer-songwriter Nolan Sotillo moved to LA after completing one semester of high school with the support of his family to pursue a career of acting in Hollywood. He starred in Disney’s 2011 feature film Prom and the Steven Spielberg produced television show Red Band Society that aired on FOX. “I spent so much time out there and I really loved chasing the dream,” he tells us. “I felt like it was what I was called to do, but after a while it felt like music was something I hadn’t gotten the chance to fully explore.” His eagerness to dive into music led him to Nashville.
The transition from acting to music was natural for Sotillo, but it also posed a big change in pace. When it comes to acting, there is much time spent reading scripts and preparing auditions. “In the music world, you’re writing so often. You’re always creating a story that you have full reigns over and that’s kind of where, as a writer, I excel,” he explains.
Influenced by Elvis, George Strait, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys, Sotillo says his music, in his own words, is classified as “soul-country-rock.” “ I list soul on the front end of the phrase, rock on the other end, on purpose,” he says. “I think those are the two goal posts of my musical variety. Country kind of falls somewhere in the middle.”
His latest single “Stop” was released at the end of May. He wrote and produced the track with legendary producer Keith Stegall who has worked on records with Alan Jackson, George Jones, Clay Walker, and Zac Brown Band. The lyrics tell the story about a relationship falling apart but both parties pausing and trying to figure it out how to fix it and not throw everything away. The song features soulful guitar sounds and drum sounds with fervent vocals as he sings, “Let me make it crystal clear, don’t wanna go on if you’re not here. And what about all these feelings I got that I can’t stop.”
His next single, “Prove Me Wrong,” is set to be released Friday, July 23rd and contrasts “Stop” with a grittier, hard-hitting feeling; it was the perfect follow-up and lets Sotillo showcase his range. “Going back to how I describe my music, this is the rock side of the spectrum,” he exclaims. “It’s a love song but I don’t know if people necessarily hear it as a love song right away. I think when you really dive into the lyrics you realize it is regardless of the fact of how rock-sounding it is.” The song is upbeat, edgy, and has a standout guitar solo towards the end.
This year, he’s had the opportunity to perform live at numerous country music festivals. “There’s a certain energy that you receive from a crowd that you can’t replace any other way,” he tells us. To Sotillo, one of the most rewarding aspects of live shows is seeing the look of joy on people’s faces in the crowd as well as the energy that emerges from the rest of the band onstage.
Moving forward, he is set to play at Country Thunder Florida and Country Thunder Arizona. He also plans to get back in the studio to record music he’s written throughout quarantine.