Cincinnati Native Raleigh Keegan Continues to Make a Name for Himself in Nashville

The country music singer/songwriter’s tracks have accumulated more than seven million streams, and he’s opened for artists like Eric Church and Thomas Rhett.

Country music singer/songwriter Raleigh Keegan was just a little kid when he walked into his kindergarten classroom at Robert E. Lucas Intermediate School in Sharonville, Ohio, and discovered a love for music. “My kindergarten teacher had a piano in his room, and he noticed that I would go over to that piano and play some stuff a kindergartner shouldn’t know how to play,” Keegan says with a laugh. “The teacher told my parents, and next thing I knew, we were driving seven hours to Michigan to pick up a free piano that my mom had found. I learned to play the piano on that old, out of tune piano. And I’m pretty sure that it’s still out of tune.”

Photograph by David McClister

Currently living in a little farmhouse outside of Nashville with wife Shelby, Keegan is building quite an authentic country music career via songs such as “Way Back,” “Another Good Day,” and his latest single, “Long Line of Lovers.” His unique style of blending elements of classic American music with modern country while letting his piano always take a starring role has certainly grabbed the attention of many, including the artists he has opened for: Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, and Brothers Osborne. Thus far, Keenan has accumulated more than seven million streams across his catalog to date. But make no mistake—Keegan’s life could have easily taken another, very different direction.

After being born in the Columbus State Penitentiary to a father he never met and a mom who was doing time for drug charges, Keegan was put up for adoption at just three days old. “I never thought about being adopted, but it was always something that was celebrated,” Keegan recalls. “My adoptive parents would always tell me, ‘Your parents made an awesome choice and because they couldn’t take care of you, now you get to be with us.’ ” His single “Long Line of Lovers” pays tribute to his unconventional upbringing.

Raleigh Keegan (left) with his family.

Photograph courtesy of Raleigh Keegan

His father worked as a bus driver and his mom worked as a nurse, and at night, when the day was through, Keegan would listen as his dad sang him and his brother songs by James Taylor to help them fall asleep. And as Keegan got older, he would play basketball and football, but music always seemed to be tugging on his soul. In high school, he was even first chair in the state of Ohio in trombone.

“My mom still wants me to find a way to bring the trombone on stage,” says Keegan, who sold his house in Lexington, Kentucky, to be able to afford recording his first record, One of These Days and move to Nashville in November 2017. “And if you ask my parents, they probably would have loved for me to pick a bit more stable profession, but I’ve just always been the black sheep in the family. I’ve always been a little different.”

Although Keegan doesn’t get to visit his parents in Cincinnati as much as he would like anymore now that he finds himself on the way to country music stardom, he continues to crave a little Skyline Chili on a fall afternoon. And no matter how high his star rises, his love for home will never truly go away.

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