Andrew Pope (no relation to Cassadee, The Voice fans!) is a country musician from Alabama who isn’t afraid to dig deep into the roots of country music in his blooming career. Andrew’s first two singles, If Waylon Could See Us Now and Rowdy Side, were released in 2012. Andrew, who was signed to MillTown Music, released his first full album at the end of 2012. Andrew hopes to release his sophomore album in 2014 and we wanted to make sure that our Keepin’ It Country readers were able to meet Andrew and get to know the artist behind the music before his next big project. So, without further adieu, we introduce you all to Andrew Pope!
KIC: For those readers who may be ‘meeting’ you for the first time in this blog, can you give us a little bit of a back story as to how you began performing?
Andrew Pope (AP): Well I had piano lessons when I was a young child and through my early teenage years, I learned to play guitar a little bit. Oddly enough, I never sang in front of anyone until I was 24 years old. Started playing acoustic shows for tips with a buddy of mine and it just catapulted from there pretty much.
KIC: You have been compared to Waylon Jennings, Jamey Johnson, and Hank Williams, Jr. What artists have influenced your sound?
AP: Waylon is probably the biggest influence. Obviously, being from North Alabama and being raised 15 minutes from Fort Payne, AL, the band Alabama is a huge influence as well. The Muscle Shoals sound is also a huge influence of my sound. I love bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker Band, Allman Bros, Wet Willie, and others.
KIC: You have collaborated with Confederate Railroad and Jeff Cook of Alabama. Other than these collaborations, who is your dream collaboration?
AP: I’d love to work with Hank. That’d be really cool. Billy Gibbons would be another really awesome collaboration. And Jamey Johnson.
KIC: How has your background influenced you to channel the classic voices of country music, rather than taking the more modern approach to the genre?
AP: Well for me, I like to kinda blend it all. I’d love nothing more than to educate the young people on the great ones. And what country music is supposed to be about. And I understand that in order to do this, I have to put out more modern sounding music. But if (IF?! Of course we will!) you ever buy an Andrew Pope album in the future you might hear a hit song on there but I guarantee you that album will have some good ol country music on there as well. That’s who I am and its a part of me so I am not going to cover it up for the sake of some label.
KIC: You have promised to deliver “real” country music to generations to come. What is your definition of “real” country music?
AP: Country music these days, in my opinion, has gone way out of the box. Music is always going to go through changes and if you want to have a career, as an artist you have to adjust to that. Some adjust better than others. The real factor is getting further and further away though. You don’t hear songs anymore that talk about real life and real situations that people can relate to. Not many. Now, it’s all about the hook. Make it catchy and the young kids will sing it and come to the shows. Well the way I look at it, why can’t we write a song that is catchy with a great hook but also means something? You know? So real country music to me is guys like George Jones and Merle Haggard. They lived what they sang about. It’s just a whole different ballgame these days.
KIC: What is the writing process like for your music? Where do you get your inspiration from?
AP: It really just depends on the day and how I am feeling. If I have an idea come to mind, I could be in the shower, driving, sleeping. Haha. It comes when you least expect it. I’ve been co-writing so much these days, so a lot of times if I have an idea come to mind, I will jot it down in my iPhone and then at co-writing sessions we will work on finishing it. Now I’ve been known to write the entire song before I really even know what happened as well. I wrote 9 of the 12 on my debut album so it really just depends on the situation and how much it actually inspires me.
KIC: You have written songs with Nashville greats. What are some songs our readers can identify that you have had a hand in writing?
AP: I’ve been really blessed in this business in the short time I’ve been in it. I haven’t had a cut on a major artist yet, but some of my co-writers have written songs such as “I Swear”, “My Front Porch Looking In”, “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow”, “Chattahoochee”, “Tomorrow”, and others.
KIC: How does it feel to write with some of the biggest writers and artists in country music?
AP: Oh it’s amazing. When you sit back and look at how far you’ve come and all of the opportunities God has put in your life in just 4 years time, it’s really humbling. And to get to know some of these people on a personal level is just the ultimate. God has truly blessed me and I thank him for it every day.
KIC: What’s been the best moment of your career thus far?
AP: I’ve had some very cool moments. I guess the best moment thus far would be singing on stage with The Oak Ridge Boys. George Jones recorded a song back in 1982 and the Oak Ridge Boys sang on it with him. It was a #1 hit for them, called “Same Ol Me”. Singing that song with them, was one of the coolest things ever.
KIC: Have you had to work any super odd jobs while pursuing music?
AP: Well I’ve been lucky enough the past couple of years to stay busy enough to do this full time. But before I got in to music seriously, I was a maintenance man at a chicken plant. I was also a male stripper. Just kidding on the last part.
KIC: You can tour with two other artists – who do you put on the bill with you?
AP: Hank Williams Jr and Miranda Lambert
KIC: So, what’s next?
AP: I hope to release a new album in 2014. I’ve been writing a LOT and have a lot of stuff to say. So I hope the fans are ready!
KIC: What’s one thing you’d like our readers to take away about you after reading this interview?
I’m just a simple country boy trying to make a difference in country music.
All time favorite country song: Hard one but I’d have to say My Home’s In Alabama or He Stopped Loving Her Today
Favorite song to sing: Another hard one. I really love singing Can’t You See, and any George Jones song.
Dream duet partner: Hank Williams Jr
Last song listened to: Out Of My Bones by Randy Travis
Favorite place you’ve visited: It’s gonna sound odd, but Troy Alabama. It’s down in South Alabama. I really love the land and the atmosphere out there. Hank Jr and Kid Rock both have a place out there. I’ve had lots of fun down there. haha.
Thank you so much to Andrew for taking the time to speak with us and introduce yourself and your music to our readers! There is undoubtedly a bright future in country music for Andrew, and we cannot wait to follow his journey and share it with all of you!