Interviews Q&A

Top 25 Interviews of 2014: No. 15 Jason Aldean

I sat down and spoke with Jason Aldean for nearly an hour earlier this year. While we talked at great lengths about his latest Platinum selling album Old Boots, New Dirt and career, we also discussed why he wants music fans to either love or hate his music and his honesty about it really struck me.

“I started playing clubs at 14, and by the time I was 21, I moved to Nashville. I didn’t think about a plan B,” he told me, before getting reflective. “That never really crossed my mind. Once you’re a musician it’s not something that you just one day go, ‘Oh, I’m not going to do that anymore.’ You can always play in a bar somewhere. You can always find an outlet to play music, whatever it is. I always knew I was going to do it some way. I didn’t necessarily know it was going to be on this level. The ultimate goal was I wanted to make a living doing it.”

Of his music career, he said it was important for him to do something he enjoyed and not have to get up every morning and dread going to work. And with that said, it is equally important to him that his music hits listeners at their core — whether they love what he does or hate it.

“I don’t want there to be any in-between,” he said. “I think one of the worst things somebody can say is, ‘Yeah, it’s OK.’ That means it has done absolutely nothing for you. I want it to hit a nerve one way or another. If you hate it, you’ll be talking about it, and that’s all I want.”

Aldean says that the worst thing would be if his music was just background noise.

“At that point it has done absolutely nothing for you, and it has done absolutely nothing for my career, and it’s a waste of time.”

For more of my interview with Jason Aldean, visit


Photo of the Week: Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson


I’m getting a bit nostalgic for Nashville and CMA Fest. Thousands of country music fans will descend onto Nashville this week for the annual festival. For four days and four nights bands will perform all over the city and fans will get to meet their favorite country artists. It’s unlike any festival I’ve ever been to and by far my favorite. Here’s a photo of Kelly Clarkson’s surprise appearance with Jason Aldean at LP Field last year to perform their hit single “Don’t You Wanna Stay.”


Jason Aldean Talks Music, Moving and Motivation

Jason Aldean took the stage at Billboard’s Country Music Summit in Nashville Monday (June 6) afternoon, to share the story of his long road to success. The singer moved to Nashville in ’98, but it took him seven years to see the release of his debut single, ‘Hicktown.’

“For me, as a teenager I knew this was ultimately where I had to be if I wanted to do what I was trying to accomplish,” Jason explains. “I knew it was going to take me moving to this town to make that happen. As far as moving here being what I thought, it was not at all what I thought. I figured I would come to town and be met with open arms, sign a deal, cut a record, go out and start touring, and it was nothing like that. I moved here and I didn’t know anybody and my producer, Michael Knox, took me under his wing and showed me around.”

For the complete article, visit The Boot.

Features News

CMT to Air "Artists of the Year" Special December 3

Tomorrow night, CMT will honor Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Zac Brown Band as the top artists of the year in a 90-minute special. Hosted by Kevin Costner, CMT’s  “Artists of the Year,” premiers at 8:00 p.m., ET.

Taped in Nashville, “Artists of the Year” will bring the honorees together with their peers for an evening of performances from the country world and beyond. Tune in for surprise guest appearances by Joe Perry, Maroon 5, Adele, Amos Lee and more!

This year’s acts were chosen by ranking the top five artists based on the following criteria: sales, country radio airplay, concert grosses, and activity on The rankings were then compiled to identify the leading performers across the four categories cumulatively.

Watch a preview of tomorrow night’s special below.

Related Links:
Q&A with Lady Antebellum
Q&A with Taylor Swift
Q&A with Zac Brown Band
Q&A with Jason Aldean
Festivals Interviews

Jason Aldean

Country rocker Jason Aldean is known for his energetic stage show and unapologetic southern rock. He’s toured with everyone from Keith Urban to Rascal Flatts and Tim McGraw. Many of his singles have topped the country charts and he is currently leading nominations for the upcoming CMT Music Awards. Read below to learn about Aldean’s live show, his thoughts on rap music, Kid Rock and more from last year’s CMA Music Festival press conference.

You are moving up to that next level. From the inside looking out, are you able to feel that?
I think you can feel a little bit of a momentum. When “She’s Country” was out and peaking and doing it’s thing, I knew it was different than any other song I had. It’s not rocket science, I could tell that. When you play a show and you start seeing more people coming to your shows. One thing I noticed was that they were a lot more rabid than they were before. A lot more stage jumpers and things like that. I think you feel a little bit of it. It’s not an overnight sort of deal, but gradually you can feel a little bit of a momentum there.

Is there anything that’s happened in your career that you didn’t expect?
I don’t know. I think there are a lot of things like that. I remember the first time I played an awards show I remember thinking that it was going to be so crazy. But, all of a sudden you play and it was two minutes and you’re done and I thought, “What the hell happened? That was so quick I didn’t even have time to enjoy it.” It’s like anything, you always have things set in your mind the way you think things are going to go. A lot of times they exceed your expectations and a lot of times they fall a little short, but it’s fun nevertheless.

What is it like performing live? How do you sustain your energy?
I grew up playing in clubs. I came up playing in bars in Georgia, Alabama and Florida. It was my job to go out and play. I used to have to play four hours a night so to have to go out now and only play for an hour in a half, that’s nothing. It’s fun. I love getting onstage and playing my show. It gets me excited when people show up and you walk out and you see all those people that are there to see you play. They spent their money to come watch you play, especially nowadays. It’s up to me to give them a show and make it worth their while. You want them to come back and you want to make it fun and interesting and exciting so the next time we come to town this is one of the things they want to see. It’s all about creating a fun atmosphere. Some of my best friends are the guys onstage with me every night, so that helps. We’ve got a great job so we have fun with it.

How is it sharing the stage with Kid Rock?
You know what, I’m a big fan of his. I love Kid Rock. I’ve had the chance to hang out with him a few times. Talk about things that weren’t what you expected, he’s a prime example. I expected him to be this wild head case, but he’s not. He’s really cool. Really down to earth, fun dude and I’m a huge fan.

You were really looking forward to touring with Keith Urban and did more dates than you originally expected. You’ve opened for Rascal Flatts and Tim McGraw also.
I’ll say this. His show is the best show I’ve seen in a long time by far. I love the Flatts guys, they’re great friends of mine and they put on a great show. McGraw and those guys do as well. But, Keith Urban’s show is good. I don’t throw out compliments on people’s shows very often. His is really good. It’s one of those things, if you’re going to spend money to see a show this year, whether or not  we’re the opening act on it, I would check his show out ’cause it’s amazing.

Your song “She’s Country” has more of a rock vibe to it. How much do other genres of music influence your style? (video below)
I’m influenced by a lot of different genres. I grew up in Georgia. My dad always had traditional country music in our house. His favorite singer was a guy named Johnny Rodriguez. So, I used to listen to that stuff. Hank Jr., Merle Haggard. When I got a little older, I started to get into the 80s rock stuff. Guns N’ Roses, Poison, all the really bad hair bands. Then a little later I got into the southern rock stuff. The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. I’ve listened to everything. Rap has been the only thing I’m a little dicey on. It’s either hit or miss. There’s maybe a song I like every couple of years. I think most of that is probably because I don’t understand half of what they’re saying. For the most part, I think music is music and if it’s great, I listen to it.


Related Links:
Q&A; with Rascal Flatts
CMA 2009: Six Artists to Watch
Friday Song Addiction: Country Music Edition
You Sing I Write’s Top 5 CMA Week Songs
Festivals Q&A

Poll of the Week: Which CMA 2009 Interview Do You Want to Read?

This week is country music week on You Sing I Write. I’ll be attending Lady Antebellum, Laura Bell Bundy and Taylor Swift concerts throughout the week and figured it makes perfect sense to introduce you to some up-and-coming country acts too. Stay tuned to Twitter for live reporting and recaps of each show!

As far as this week’s poll, I have some press room interviews of last year’s CMA Music Festival that I haven’t gotten up on the blog yet and I want to know which one you’re dying to read. I’ll transcribe the artist that gets the most votes for you the end of the week. (And, if you’re lucky maybe the rest next week!)

Which CMA 2009 Interview Do You Want to Read?

Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Reba McEntire
Zac Brown Band
Need You Now