Who is SixForty1? Since moving to Nashville two years ago, SixForty1 has made quickly made a name for themselves. As more people hear their music and see these guys perform, their fanbase is increasing. Since moving to Nashville, they have played Whiskey Jam and opened for Brantley Gilbert. It is safe to say these guys are killing it in Nashville, especially in the last year. Keep reading to learn more about their background, their experiences in Nashville, and their music.
Austin Gee and Brooks Hoffman make up the duo SixForty1. The duo met during their sophomore year at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. However, their experience with music began much earlier.
Brooks Hoffman began his musical journey in Louisville, Kentucky. Brooks said, “I got my first drum set when I was about 5 or 6 years old, but I didn’t learn to play until I was 9 or 10. I also learned to play the guitar around the same time.” The first song Brooks wrote came after being challenged by his guitar instructor. Hoffman said, “My guitar teacher told me I was going to write a song and play it at my grandfather’s 4th of July party. I thought, okay, I’ll write it.”
Hoffman would put his guitar down for a while, but he came back to it in high school. Brooks said, “In high school, I started writing songs again, but not country songs. I recorded them in my basement.”
Austin Gee began his journey in music in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Gee said, “I was in the church choir and did musical theatre and plays in community theatre since middle school. The acting bug got me excited to be on stage, and the choir helped me learn music theory. I didn’t play an instrument until after getting good at guitar hero. I decided to learn to play guitar in 7th grade.” Austin continued, “I took guitar lessons for about six months, and learned the rest by watching YouTube videos. The first song I wrote was during my senior year of high school to ask out a girl out. It didn’t work very well, because we only dated for two weeks. So I wrote my first real song after my freshman year of college.”
The Formation of SixForty1
After meeting, Hoffman and Gee began working together and writing. However, it was during the summer between their sophomore and junior year of college; they would start their partnership as SixForty1. Their name comes from Highway 641, which runs through Murray, Kentucky. A local bar agreed to let them play, and they would play a show every couple of months. Austin said, “Nobody took us seriously. I am not sure if we took us seriously. We were playing for fun.” Brooks followed up with, “We were just those guys who could sing.”
The Decision to Move to Nashville
After Austin and Brooks graduated from college, Austin moved to Knoxville, TN, and Brooks moved back to Louisville, KY. However, the duo would continue to write over Facetime. I asked them what the tipping point was to move to Nashville. Brooks said, “Working for a year, honestly. If we were going to work, we might as well do something we could turn into a full-time gig.”
Austin said, “We couldn’t take it anymore, being away from music. I remember sitting on my floor in Knoxville because I didn’t have any couches. I would get home from work and Facetime Brooks and think I don’t know if I can keep doing this. He continued, “We wrote “Plane Crazy,” which became the first single we released after moving to Nashville.” The duo felt they had to give it a shot in Nashville, and many are glad they did.
SixForty1 to Nashville
Austin moved to Nashville in October 2017, followed by Brooks in December 2017. For most singer/songwriters, there is a learning curve when you get to town. Austin said, “After six months, we wondered what we were doing. We were writing all these songs, but we had no outlet for them. We weren’t playing writer’s nights until after a friend invited them to play at George Jones.”
Brooks said, “Nashville became what I thought it was after a few months and wet met some people. We began playing more and getting out more.” It is natural for songwriters to feel overwhelmed after moving to town and experience self-doubt. However, Brooks said, “The first time we heard “Plane Crazy” finished, I thought we could do this.”
Thankfully, the duo persevered. SixForty1 has made significant strides and has caught the attention of many, which included their manager, Aaron Keiser. Keiser also manages Brantley Gilbert. Upon the release of “Plane Crazy,” the duo made a $100 Instagram ad to promote the single. It was that song that began opening doors for them, including opening for Brantley Gilbert several times this year.
Songwriting and Performing
Singer/Songwriters have different passions; some love writing, while others are passionate about performing. However, many love doing both. Austin and Brooks continue to improve their writing. Brooks said, “Learning from others is something we try to do. We have been able to write with very talented writers.” When discussing their writing process, Austin and Brooks said, “Sometimes it’s a cool phrase that sparks a write or other people’s stories. We also start a lot of the songs we write with a cool melody.”
When you see SixForty1 live, you are immediately taken in by their energy on stage. You can feel Austin and Brook’s passion for performing. Austin said, “I love performing; it gives you such an adrenaline rush. Brooks said, “I first fell in love with songwriting, but playing live in front of a large crowd gives you such a rush. The duo often plays in Louisville, where people know their music. Austin said, “Seeing people singing along to your music gives you validation for what you are doing.”
New Music Alert
SixForty1 has released three singles in 2019. The first single of the year, “Next Kiss,” which is a song about wanting to be the next person to date, someone. The duo’s most recent releases are “I Get That” and “Show You Around.” “I Get That” is a double meaning about a relationship that has ended. It is about the understanding of why someone left you, but also the pain felt being left alone. “Show You Around” plays on the idea of opening your heart and sharing your life with someone.
Every song the duo has released is an absolute banger, in my opinion. If you have yet to hear these singles, download them or stream them today. Their previous releases include: “Picture This,” “Plane Crazy,” and “Maybe I Might.”
SixForty1 in the Future
While 2019 was a good year for the duo, they hope 2020 will be even better. SixForty1 plans on hitting the road in the coming year and work toward the goal of playing music full time. We expect the new year also brings more new music. Undiscovered Nashville is patiently waiting for each new song the duo releases and will be looking for announcements for shows in Nashville. Follow us on social media for news about new releases and show lineups.
Follow the guys on Instagram and Facebook: @sixforty1
Check them out on the web at sixforty1.com