JC musician offers more than a stereotype during Saturday’s Slaglefest

Published 1:20 pm Friday, September 15, 2023

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By Angela Cutrer
Star Correspondent

R.E.D. Worth It is counting on you to attend his set during Slaglefest Saturday. He promises a great show full of music and lyrics that expresses the passions most everyone has felt at one time or another.

He also thinks his words might kindle something in each person in the audience. Yes, he has a lot to say, but he thinks he’s worth at least an initial chance to impress.

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R.E.D. Worth It – real name Preston Worth – has so much music in his head. He always has, but now he hopes to share that music with others. The lyrics, too.

It started back in the fifth grade for him, when he started listening to a lot of music because his dad had a record label. “I listened a lot and I had a dream to be like Tupac and Eminem,” Worth said. “I started writing lyrics of my own and kept on at it. All my music is all my own work.”

Worth said it’s hard to sum up his music in mere words. “It’s rap, rhythm and blues, country, rock – it’s all in one,” he said. “Every word I say has meaning to it. I want to inspire people to make more genuine music.”

That’s because Worth’s own experiences and passions breathe life into the music he creates. What happens to him usually ends up in a song, so the good and the bad can both contribute to meaningful expressions that might touch others, as well.

“I sometimes write a song a day, so I’ve written hundreds, probably thousands,” Worth said. “I feel like music is something that really connects people and I want to make that kind of difference. Music can change how people think and act.

“That’s why I have a serious take on stuff – it’s about my feelings and what I’m going through. I write about what I have experienced. I have a lot of anxiety, so I write about that. I write about things If it inspires an emotion.”

There is one thing you should know about Worth, and it might be a shocker: He’s only 16 years old. Though he’s young, he knows what his passion is – music.

Originally from Mansfield, Mass., he and his family now call Johnson City home. “My family moved to Tennessee after COVID-19 kind of ruined everything,” he said. “We needed something new, something better. And so far, it’s been really good. I’m really liking living here. Just seeing the mountains – I can see them outside of my window and it’s the most beautiful thing.”

Though Worth has fewer years on him, he says he brings a lot to the table. “I can definitely put on a show,” he said. “I want to show people my music so they experience the passion so we can really connect. I want them to have fun and experience new music. And I hope to make those kinds of songs that people will remember later on.”

He mentions the cover of “Hurt” by Johnny Cash as the kind of memorial he hopes to leave for others. “That was amazing,” Worth said quietly. “It really spoke to me. I hope I can do that with my music.”

Worth has a new album that you can get via streaming media and you can search social media for his “Real Red Music.” He’s busy learning piano and guitar, and he promises that though he doesn’t perform with traditional instruments, he has an agenda to keep evolving, learning and writing.

“I want to get my hands on everything,” he said. “I hope people will attend Saturday at Slaglefest from 7-8 p.m. and find out what I’m about for themselves. I know that stereotypes are in people’s heads. I don’t look like a rapper, but when I sing something, I’ll see how people look when they take a second look at me and they seem surprised.”

SlagleFest 2023 is set for Saturday beginning at noon at 265 Slagle Road in Elizabethton. In addition to Worth, other performers include The Kindest People, Strangers When We Meet, Taylor Joel, Clayton Potter Band, Servility and Appalachian Sojourn.