Reed Foley is redefining multi-tasking. Sure, many of us can work two jobs; however, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who hustles more uniquely than Reed does. For him, moving between his two jobs means shedding ordinances and proclamations in favor of guitar picks and singing.
Reed is an elected member of the Port Orange, Florida, City Council. When he puts that work aside, he picks up his guitar and entertains as a country music singer.
At one point, he had slipped into using different first names for the different occupations. Johnathan and Reed, more on that in a minute.
Having covered him for about a year on the political side, I thought it was high time to see his singing side. I got the perfect occasion to do so at Daytona's Original First Turn.
It was a cold Saturday night in February. Yet, Reed drew a sizable crowd that mixed seniors, singles, and families looking for some good-time entertainment.
He provided that entertainment by lacing his three setlists with a healthy mix of diverse tunes by Luke Combs, the Eagles, George Strait, Darius Rucker, Guns n Roses, and his own material. Which, by the way, is as strong as the aforementioned national recording artists. Between sets, he laps the crowd talking to familiar faces and making new acquaintances.
Reed's interest in music started in church, "I used to love to play music in my church services. Because it was something fun, right? Church services, when you're eight, nine years old, can be long and not a lot of excitement. But you could play music," Reed explained. "But really where it got started for me musically speaking, as far as like, 'Hey, I can do this for a lifestyle and an income' was when I got my first gig, I went to an open mic night and got offered a gig. It paid me more for one night than my friends could make the whole day."
He was fifteen at that time and was singing with his father. Everyone called him Johnny Reed, all well and good until about six years ago when he started going to Nashville and found out that there already was a successful country singer with the name Johnny Reed. People he met in Nashville encouraged him to change his name. He decided to drop Johnny and be known as Reed Foley.
But why use Johnathan for politics? It was a paperwork misunderstanding. Now Mr. Foley is known as Reed when representing his district and when performing on stage.
Whether in politics or music Reed is constantly being judged by the public. Do the people he represents like his voting record? Does the crowd appreciate his latest performance?
I was curious to know how it feels to work two jobs that are open to constant scrutiny from the public. His answer showed reflection, "You know, my whole life's been that way. Growing up as a pastor's son, you kind of are under that scrutiny and that microscope at your church, so I'm so used to it. I don't know how to handle not (being under the microscope) It doesn't bother me. I don't even think about it."
It is incumbent upon me to ask the tough questions, so I presented him with a choice between following his political career to the White House or his musical career to headlining at Madison Square Garden. "God, that is the hardest," Reed smiled as he replied. "That's a daily struggle for me. I would like to sit here and tell you, I'd rather be at Madison Square Garden. Because, I would like to think that probably, there's something interesting to me about music. Music is that thing that gets you away from the real problems. It's that escape from the day-to-day."
However, he doesn't rule out a life in political office because "I like serving," Reed said. "If you do it because you enjoy helping people and making an impact, then your gonna constantly be looking for more ways to do so. And eventually, one of those ways is to have a bigger number of people to serve."
As many bands do, Reed has about six people who rotate in and out as bandmates. The night I saw him at First Turn, Andre Vargas was on bass and Jordan Reading was on the drums. At one point, Reed got behind the drum kit for a few songs as Jordan sang. In fact, Reed plays multiple instruments; he said almost any instrument that is picked or plucked he can play. Plus the drums and piano.
In October, Mr. Foley released Beer Needs Drinkin' to much critical acclaim. Recent social media posts indicate his next single will be titled "Ain't the First Time."
Reed Foley Music
Reed Foley Politician
Reed Foley plays many instruments and handles multiple career paths
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