Category Archives: Interviews

INTERVIEW: CMA Award Winner and Grammy Nominee Deana Carter

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She is likely best known for her debut single, “Strawberry Wine,” but singer/songwriter Deana Carter has a plethora of albums, songwriting credits, award nominations, and a CMA Award on her shelf. Admittedly, I bought Deana’s first album in 1996 (with the hologram cover, thank you very much!) and I couldn’t resist kicking off our interview with a play on the CMA Awards Album of the Year Nominee Did I Shave My Legs For This? So, to answer the burning question you all have, no, Deana did not, in fact, shave her legs for our interview. She also did not imbibe any strawberry wine because “it’s not Friday yet!” After I got these (likely) very much anticipated references to Deana’s breakout project out of the way, I was able to hone in on what this talented, poised, hardworking, and unbelievably sweet musician has been doing as of late.

Exclusive Interview: Ross Cooper

Ross Cooper

In today’s country music, it is common to find new artists putting a pop/rock twist on tracks, sometimes blurring the lines between what is truly defined as country music and what is more often referred to as “Top 40.” Enter Ross Cooper, a native-born Texan who couldn’t have the heels of his cowboys boots dug deeper into classic country in every sense of the word.

Ross grew up in a rodeo family, so, naturally, he became involved with rodeo at a young age. However, his mother, albeit a rodeo lover herself, was also involved in music. Growing up, Ross’s mother had a guitar, but, for some unknown reason, he (like many kids) took piano lessons. Finally, Ross reached the end of his rope with the piano, put his cowboy boot down and told his mother he wasn’t playing piano any longer and wanted to take guitar lessons instead.

Once his mother agreed to let Ross make the instrument switch, he also began writing songs. The first song Ross wrote was when he was ten years old and it was with his mother on piano, and, admittedly, the song was “terrible.” In junior high, Ross decided he wanted to start a band, “because that’s what you do!” and he got together with a few friends, one of whom’s mother owned a local blues bar. The group would sneak into the bar and play their Sunday night jams. By the time the group entered high school, they had a well-groomed band.

While Ross was making music with his friends, he was also becoming more and more involved with the rodeo. Ross was a bucking horse bareback rider through high school and even quit football during his sophomore year to focus on riding. He continued on this path through college and then started to pro rodeo. In an unfortunate twist of fate, Ross tore his knee, not once, but twice, and was required to take time off from rodeoing. At that point, he had to figure out what path to take moving forward, as he was still playing music regularly. “Music kinda filled the gap, so much to the point that I had to make a choice between the two. So, here I am.”

Exclusive Interview: Introducing The Brodie Stewart Band

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While hailing from California, Brodie Stewart still has some southern roots. As a young child, some of Brodie’s favorite things to do were attending the Rodeo, listening to country music, singing and playing the guitar. This is what influenced Brodie to start his own southern rock band, where he got to tour the country opening up for big artists in sold out arenas.

After this, Brodie returned to his love of country music. He wrote tracks for his own band, and also wrote and produced songs for various other artists. It wasn’t long until Brodie was signed by Martin Kierszenbaum, the president of Cherrytree/Interscope Records, for a song/production deal to their label. Not long after that, Brodie signed a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music Publishing.

While gearing up for the release of their debut album, “Born American,” The Brodie Stewart Band has been touring the west coast opening up for big names such as Lee Brice, Thompson Square, Easton Corbin, Joe Nichols, Blues Traveler, Lonestar, Chris Cable, Jason Michael Carroll, Terri Clark, Josh Gracin, Casey James, The Farm, Moonshine Bandits, Greg Bates, Christian Kane, Chuck Wicks, and many more!

Exclusive Interview: Catching Up with Brandon Chase

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We first had the opportunity to chat with Brandon Chase last April, long before he caught Blake Shelton‘s eye on The Voice or had legions of loyal “Chasers” eagerly anticipating his every musical move. Since our very first interview, we’ve kept our tabs on Brandon, chatting with him periodically throughout the show, and now, we can’t watch to catch you up on what the future has in store for this Texan talent.

Since leaving The Voice, the ever-humble Brandon admits that his life hasn’t changed all too much. “As soon as The Voice ended, I just kept doing exactly what I was doing beforehand – working on my craft, doing everything I can to create new music and get it out to the fans.” He says, “Through all that, I’m trying to start up a tour to travel around and meet fans in different states and whatnot that haven’t had the chance to see me live. It’s been kind of usual, just working hard and doing what I do, which is music. There’s definitely been some doors that have been opened that might not have been without The Voice being there.”

One of those doors include the opportunity to bring new music to his constantly growing and loyal fan base. He’s currently working on an album, which he describes as “higher quality and just more me,” as well as “ten times better than anything I’ve ever put out.” Brandon admits that he can’t wait for fans to hear the new tunes. “I’m extremely excited. I feel like it meets the standard of where music’s out today and it just gives me hope to be a success on radio and I just hope that people will accept it and receive it.”

Exclusive Interview: Paul Jolley

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If you know the name Paul Jolley, chances are you were introduced to him by a little show named American Idol. If you don’t know the name Paul Jolley yet, it’s time we change that for you.

Upon chatting with Paul, he’s astonishingly humble, earnest and grateful for each opportunity that this crazy journey has afforded him. Although he’s already accomplished much, he’s got big dreams and even bigger talent.

Growing up in Tennessee, Paul was the kind of kid who always had a microphone in his hand. From organizing bedroom performances for his parents to appearing as a special guest performer during his school’s choir concerts in Kindergarten (he was too young to actually join the choir), it was immediately evident that he was bound for big things. As soon as he was able, he joined the choir, competed in talent shows and performed anywhere people would listen.

These performances included opening gigs for some legendary country artists, including Aaron Tippin, Billy Dean, Chely Wright and Lorrie Morgan. It was one of these opening gigs with Billy Dean that would change his life, as shortly after opening for the legend, he received a call from a radio station in Bowling Green, Kentucky, inviting him to come audition for American Idol.

Initially, Paul was hesitant, admitting that he auditioned three times previously and never made it past the first round. “I said I’d audition if I was off work,” Paul recalls. “It ended up that I was off work that day, which was weird because I never got off. I guess it was all just part of God’s plan getting me off work that day.”

Exclusive Interview: Dave Barnes

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The name Dave Barnes is synonymous with awesome. By day, he’s an independent musician who just recently released his eighth studio album, Golden Days. By night, he’s a bit of a Nashville superhero, moonlighting as a mentor, award-winning songwriter, standup comedian, husband and new father.

We recently had the chance to chat with Dave about his new album, writing country hits, his incredible 12 year journey in the music industry and his big plans for 2014.

KIC: This is your 8th studio album – what can fans expect from Golden Days?

DB: Hopefully a subtle combination of more of what they hopefully like about what I do, while pushing the boundaries a bit musically and lyrically from what I’ve talked about and how I’ve done that before.

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Kari & Billy

Image courtesy of Kari & Billy

Kari Nelson and Billy Arnold (collectively referred to as Kari & Billy) are a couple bound by love and marriage, as well as their talents for music. Kari has toured with John Rich and Big & Rich, and has also played with artists such as Gretchen Wilson, Steel Magnolia, Trace Adkins, and Joanna Smith. Billy has played shows with Craig Morgan, Tracy Byrd, Daryle Singletary, Rhett Atkins, Mark Wills, Vern Gosdin, Aaron Tippin, Confederate Railroad, Chad Brock, David Kersh and more. Despite their successful pasts and distinct backgrounds, the two crossed paths and decided to travel down one road, hand-in-hand, and take the journey through music as a pair.

Exclusive Interview: David Fanning

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Although you may not know the name David Fanning just yet, chances are if you’ve turned on country radio recently, you’ve heard a song he’s had his hand in. Since arriving in Nashville seven years ago, he’s been working behind-the-scenes, but now, he’s confidently making the leap from one side of the microphone to the other.  And he’s got Justin Timberlake‘s endorsement.

Before moving to Nashville at the age of twenty, David Fanning grew up in Admore, Alabama, which is on the Alabama/Tennesee line, and was always surrounded by music. His family sang 50′s & 60′s Acapella music on weekends, while it was his older sister who listened to country music. In typical younger sibling fashion, David idolized his sister and wanted to be just like her. “She was in the Bryan White fan club, so I had to be like her and be in the Bryan White fanclub.” He laughs, recalling his intro to country music.

David tells us that he played shows whenever the opportunity arose, and at the age of twenty, he packed up and headed to Nashville. Upon arriving in Nashville, he met Rich Redmond, Tully Kennedy, and Kurt Allison, members of Jason Aldean‘s touring and recording band. The foursome began New Voice Entertainment and began writing and producing for new acts. Together, they’ve produced hits such as “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?,” which David describes as one his first steps into professional production.

Exclusive: Interview with The Herrold Sisters

Herrold Sisters

Hannah and Abby Herrold, collectively The Herrold Sisters, are a sibling singer-songwriter duo from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Fifteen-year-old Hannah and twelve-year-old Abby may be young, but they certainly have big dreams and they are determined to make those dreams a reality.

We recently had the pleasure of getting to interview the girls, and they seem well on their way to achieving their goal of making a name for themselves as country artists.

While Abby has had a life-long love for music and performing that rubbed off on her sister, their quest for a career as a duo commenced a couple of years ago. Abby had received a guitar as a birthday gift, and began taking lessons. In true sister fashion, Hannah started stealing the guitar. In no time, however, Hannah got her own and the girls began singing, playing, and harmonizing together. As Abby told us, “the rest is history.”

The girls have been traveling to Nashville for the past several months in order to further the pursuit of their dream, and they both agree that it has been their favorite part of their journey thus far. They are very thankful for the opportunity, and know that this business takes an immense amount of hard work. “We have been going to meet with an artist development manager to work on our playlist, guitar lessons and we do some song writing. It’s really a great opportunity!” shared Hannah. “We have really learned what the music business is like – it’s hard work! When we go there, we get to do what we love doing – playing music.” added Abby.

While the siblings admit that it is not always easy spending so much time together practicing and honing their craft, they truly love performing together and happily find their sisterly bond growing stronger. Abby said, “I feel like we’ve become really close to each other because of the time we spend together.”

The girls have videos ranging from original to cover songs on YouTube and their website. With inspirations including The Dixie Chicks, Carrie Underwood, The Band Perry, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, they really enjoy performing other artists’ material and trying to make a song their own. Their favorite song to cover is “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash, and Hannah thinks that it is their best one yet.

The sisters are currently co-writing new songs and getting ready for the album they will be recording and producing this summer. “We’ve been working with Johnny Garcia (Swat Music Group) in Nashville and are really excited about the next CD!” said Hannah. As they continue to work towards their goal, they are “going to keep working on getting better!” noted Abby.

These talented girls certainly do not let their age hinder them in any way. “Just because we’re young doesn’t mean we can’t dream big! We have big dreams and we want them to happen soon!” shared Hannah. “What Hannah said!” Abby adorably added.

With The Herrold Sisters’ drive and passion, we think the dream is right within reach!

Exclusive: Interview with Brent Rupard

Brent Rupard

“I remember telling my sister when I was very young, ‘I either want to be like Alvin and the Chipmunks or Garth Brooks.’”

That is my favorite quote from my interview with Brent Rupard.

Brent is a proud Kentuckian who took the leap of faith and headed to Nashville in 2010 to pursue his dream and passion – music.

Rupard (pronounced Rooperd he jokingly noted) is from the small town of Shepherdsville, Kentucky. He took a liking to music early in his childhood. After his dad taught him his first guitar chord at age 10, an artist was born as they say and he started writing songs a few years later.

After he made the move to Nashville to pursue his dream career, he soon found a home for his songwriting. With the help of Leann Phelan (ASCAP), he signed a publishing deal with Sea Gayle Music Publishing which is owned by Brad Paisley, Chris DuBois and Frank Rogers.

After about a year of focusing on his writing, he started and is currently working on his debut album. He is hoping for it to be released sometime this year. When asked about his album, he says: “Working on this record has been the highlight of my life. This is a record I’ve always wanted to make. I’ve been fortunate to work on this album with Bryan Simpson and Justin Niebank producing. This record will have the elements of a “rootsy” back porch style with a big ol’ slice of Rock n’ Roll. According to my producer Bryan Simpson, ‘It’s kind of like Garth Brooks meets Levon Helm.’ I have really poured my soul into this project and I hope people get a clear picture of who Brent Rupard is from this debut album.”