Chase Rice has obviously been someone on our radar to interview, because as you may have guessed already, we’re big fans of country music. We had a chat with Chase while he was here in London, and found out all about his journey into the legendary country music industry.
Touring is hard work for many artists, as they often tell us. But, Chase is a bit different. He tells us that he doesn’t really feel the stress of touring. In fact, he loves it: “If I just get a couple of days at home, then I’m good. If I’m gone for a month straight, then that wears me down. But, two days at home and I’m happy. I don’t have a family, I’m not married, I don’t have kids. Being at home is nice to rest, but I don’t need to be there necessarily,” he tells us.
Not only did he tell us a little bit more about his experience on the road, we also found out about how the song-writing process works for him, and even that, one day, he hopes to perform with Ed Sheeran…
“Do what you want to do, and that’s for anything in life, not just music. I feel like, for whatever reason, no one should tell you how you should live your life.” – Chase Rice
Taylor Magazine: How did you get into country music to begin with?
Chase Rice: Well I grew up listening to Garth Brooks, but I got into playing music in a weird way. I didn’t start playing the guitar until I was 21 – one of my college roommates had a guitar, so I learnt on his, then bought a cheap one for $300 or something. I just liked it and was doing it for fun, learning to play and that was all it was. Then someone said: ‘You should be a country music singer – you have a cool voice’. That was like someone saying you should be an astronaut, it was that far from what I thought about doing.
The next year, when I was 22, my dad passed away and so I wrote a song about that, but just for me. Then, I took a trip down to the University of Georgia with a friend and wrote a song about that too. From there I just started to write songs about everything that was happening in my life. That was around ten years ago, and now I’m playing the O2 in London. It’s pretty crazy! It was that simple though – I just started recording songs and waited to see what happened. I didn’t even mean to move to Nashville – I know Brian from Florida Georgia Line and went down there to visit him for the weekend. He had a spare room in his house, so I moved in and started writing songs.
Taylor Magazine: What were you doing before? What was your dream career path, before you found country music?
Chase Rice: Probably a contractor or something – I did the Survivor thing, but I didn’t like reality TV so I didn’t want to do anything with that. I was working for NASCAR before I got into country music, so maybe I would have started my own contracting company or something – that’s what my dad did, so something along those lines. When I moved to Nashville and started writing, it was like: ‘Ok, this is what I’m doing then!’
Taylor Magazine: You’ve been in the industry for a while – how would you say your musical style has evolved?
Chase Rice: A lot of it is chance: who you meet, and who you start writing songs with. Chris DeStefano changed my sound completely – it was more acoustic before and then I met Chris and it went really pop-style, particularly Ready Set Roll. It sounded so cool, and I loved writing with him, so I immediately wanted to produce with him too. Then it stretched out between Jacquire King, who’s worked with Kings of Leon, but now this record is going back to acoustic with a beat. I don’t know what’s that called, but it’s just what me and Chris have made. I’m now going back to the beginning of my career, with the person who changed it. It’s weird, but it will have evolved more from anything I’ve ever done.
“That’s how it works sometimes – you and I could just be talking, I hear a melody and then I’ll go back to my guitar and start making a song.” – Chase Rice
Taylor Magazine: What’s the songwriting process like for you? Do you have to be in a certain mood?
Chase Rice: If I’m not feeling it, I’ll stop writing. There is no reason to waste my time. When I’m onto something that I think is really big, I’ll start it and record it on my phone and then save it for a writer that can help me finish it and make it a good song. One time I was snowboarding in Val Gardena, Italy and I heard this melody, so I recorded it while I was snowboarding down the mountain – and that was it! I got home, and wrote that song straight away (which is on the latest record). That’s how it works sometimes – you and I could just be talking, I hear a melody and then I’ll go back to my guitar and start making a song.
Taylor Magazine: Do you have a favourite song that you’ve written?
Chase Rice: Jack Daniels and Jesus, as well as Carolina Can – they’re two of my favourites. Right now, what I’m writing is some of my favourite stuff too because it’s fun.
Taylor Magazine: What is one of your favourite songs that someone else has written?
Chase Rice: The Dance by Garth Brooks, for sure!
Taylor Magazine: You’ve said that you’ve really enjoyed playing in Europe before – what do you think it is about country music over this side of the world that makes it so great to perform here?
Chase Rice: I love travelling, so that’s definitely one part of it. The fact I get to do that as part of work is badass, it’s awesome. Fans are very attentive over here as well, but this will be the first time that I’ll be performing with a band behind me, so I’m going to ease my way in and just have me and my guitar on stage before the band comes in.
Taylor Magazine: Have you had a chance to see London and explore?
Chase Rice: I’ve done all of the standard tourist stuff, but I also got to see an American Football game at Wembley, which was cool. I’m a huge Manchester City football fan too, so I went over to Manchester and explored there. I went to Buckingham Palace last time I was here – we actually got to see the Queen because she was doing an event there at the time, so that was pretty cool! I did do one cool thing with Twinnie last year, when she was opening or me. She took us to a karaoke bar – it was a really local spot, which was awesome. Everyone there was way better than me! It was crazy how good they were. The best karaoke bar I’ve ever been to!
Taylor Magazine: What is the hardest part about being on tour for you?
Chase Rice: If I just get a couple of days at home, then I’m good. If I’m gone for a month straight, then that wears me down. But, two days at home and I’m happy. I don’t have a family, I’m not married, I don’t have kids. Being at home is nice to rest, but I don’t need to be there necessarily.
Taylor Magazine: What’s next for you in the short-term and long-term?
Chase Rice: We just put out the Worldwide Deluxe of Lambs and Lion – we gave that as a thank you to you guys because the response was so great here. In the next month or two, I’ll put out a new song to follow Eyes On You, which will probably be called Breathing Room or Lonely If You Are. But that’ll give you a taste of what is to come with the record. T
“To me, Eyes On You is the biggest song I’ve created to date – but I want to go bigger than this – and I think we can beat it.” – Chase Rice
Taylor Magazine: What are you hoping to achieve in these early stages of the next record?
Chase Rice: I want it to sound different to anything else I’ve done. The way the songs are written and the way it’s produced. To me, Eyes On You is the biggest song I’ve created to date – but I want to go bigger than this – and I think we can beat it.
Taylor Magazine: Who would you love to collaborate with?
Chase Rice: Ed Sheeran would be fun. Him and I have similar styles, but so different too. I think we could get together and do something crazy, and I think it’ll happen. I genuinely think we’ll write together someday. I don’t know if we’ll ever do a song together, but I think we’ll write together.
Taylor Magazine: What advice would you give to young, aspiring artists?
Chase Rice: I would just say do what you want to do, and that’s for anything in life, not just music. I feel like, for whatever reason, no one should tell you how you should live your life. If you enjoy playing one type of way, then do it a lot. Listen to your favourite artists, and learn their songs. Stick to your style and go after it.