There’s a good chance you know Niko Moon’s songwriting even if you don’t know his name — though you will be learning that as he is breaking through as a performer.
The Texas-born, Georgia-raised, Nashville-based singer-songwriter has had a hand in penning over 40 songs for the Zac Brown Band, including some of their biggest hits such as “Heavy is the Head,” “Beautiful Drug,” “Keep Me in Mind,” “Loving You Easy,” and “Homegrown.”
Earlier this month Moon performed an acoustic version of the latter in his Behind the Mic session for American Songwriter. He also told the story of how he and Brown first met.
“I’m from Georgia, and Zac is from Georgia too,” Moon explains in the video, featured below. “We actually met each other when we were both playing the country club scene down in Georgia. We were both playing at the same venue at the same night–that’s how we met each other. I watched him play, he watched me play, and there was a mutual respect that formed that night. We decided to try our hand at writing songs together, and we’ve been writing songs together for over ten years now, so it’s been a really cool, collaborative friendship writing songs for him and the Zac Brown Band.”
Moon goes on to discuss his inspiration for writing “Homegrown” in particular: “What led to writing this song was I was at my house by myself, and I was living down in Georgia at the time, and I had been traveling a lot–playing on the road–and I got to thinking about home,” says the singer-songwriter. “I was thinking about how much I love being home. Especially if you grew up in a little bit of a smaller town, it’s just a certain culture, a certain vibe. Everything’s a little bit slower-paced. More people know who you are. They take time to say ‘hey’ to you if you run into somebody at the grocery store or something. It’s like a blanket–like an emotional blanket–when you’re in your hometown.”
For Moon, “Homegrown” was borne of a desire to remind people what matters most. “I wanted to write a song that other people could really identify with, that would make them think of where they’re from and their hometown, their people, their family and their friends and the things that are important to them,” he says. “Because when it really boils down to it, your family and your friends and where you’re from are some of the most important things in life, if not the most important things. So that’s what this song right here’s all about.”
Moon–who just released his debut EP, GOOD TIME, back in February–credits the Zac Brown Band with inspiring him to embrace his own voice as an artist.
“Being around the ZBB has impacted me because they’re really unapologetic about doing what they want to do,” says Moon. “They kind of dabble in all different kinds of genres, and they’re unapologetically honest with themselves about who they are and what they want to do with their music. It’s inspired me, with my music, to be as honest as I can about the kind of music I want to make, which is very much country music of a positive vibe. So I stick to that very firmly, and I’m not swayed whatsoever in making the kind of music that I feel in my heart is honest to who I am and genuine to who I am.”
You can check out some of Moon’s originals in his Behind the Mic session, and check out other Behind the Mic sessions here.