Artist of the Week

Artist of the Week: Kristian Bush

Kristian Bush

Not many people have heard Kristian Bush‘s upcoming solo album Southern Gravity, which is due for release April 7. So, when I sit down with the country singer in Nashville for an interview and tell him I love what I’ve heard, he jumps out of his seat, a smile beaming across his face, and gives me a big hug.

“So very people have heard it, and I’m freaking out because fans are pre-ordering now, and it hit me two days ago,” he says excitedly. His voice is softer now, like he’s sharing a secret between friends. He’s genuinely excited about getting his new music out into the world, but also, understandably, a little anxious. This is, after all, his first solo album since his band Sugarland went on hiatus.

Fans, apparently, are excited to hear the music, too. As Bush relates, “When all those orders came in, they called me and said, ‘We’re out of the pre-orders. We need to reorder again.’ And I was like, ‘OK! That’s good news.’ And 20 minutes later I was like, ‘Oh no, they’re all going to hear it!’ It’s all starting to sink in.”

While country fans know Bush very well as one-half of Sugarland, many aren’t too familiar with his voice (his Sugarland partner Jennifer Nettles handles lead vocals). This fact is not lost on him. And the excitement for an album release isn’t, either.

“In a weird way, this is my third first record,” he says with a laugh. “I remember the first record with Billy Pilgrim, and I remember the first record with Sugarland, and this has the same energy. Most people who hear the music now, they don’t know it’s me because they’re not very familiar with it, because I didn’t sing very much in Sugarland. So it truly is, ‘Hello, my name is Kristian.’”

Bush says his new music will be a discovery process of sorts for people, as they’re now just figuring out what part of the DNA of the band he is.

“If you’re just a complete stranger and you’re like, ‘I love that song. Who’s that?’ That’s fun for me,” he admits. “It’s nerve-wracking and kind of fantastic.”

Interestingly enough, Bush said not even his closest friends have put his voice and his current single “Trailer Hitch” together.

“They don’t connect the dots yet,” he says. “That’s the piece I think that’s interesting about that song. As soon as they start to go, ‘Oh!’ Then it’s the fun and the stories and the grooves you expect from Sugarland, except it’s me singing.”



Read my complete interview with Kristian Bush on His debut solo album, Southern Gravity, will be released on April 7.

Interviews Q&A

Top 25 Interviews of 2014: No. 17 Kristian Bush

Kristian Bush was such a delight to talk to. The writer behind many of my favorite Sugarland songs, I was excited to sit down with him and hear how being a solo artist is different than being in a duo and where his song ideas come from.

“You’ll notice that it’s me singing and that will really tie it together,” he said with a laugh.

The first single off of his debut solo album Southern Gravity is “Trailer Hitch,” which came to be after a writer friend of his walked out the door and said, “I’ve never seen a hearse with a trailer hitch.” Kristian knew immediately they had to work on a song that discussed that exact sentiment.

“As we went through it, it was very easy to walk into the shoes of, ‘Let’s write a song that’s fun that has a message that also matters. Let’s just not bang over anybody’s head with it.’ We probably have one too many things in our life. All of us. We can probably give at least one of them back or away,” he said. “You can’t take it with you when you go. It is a question and it isn’t an answer of a song. It’s just a question, why do we all want to die rich? Isn’t there something we can do with that?”

In addition to making the listener ask questions, Kristian hopes to cast a spell on his listeners.

“I would say the spell that I’m casting is love the life that you’re in. Stop wishing for it to be something else. Be comfortable with who you are and then watch dreams explode on you,” he said. “Anything is possible.”



You Sing I Write's Weekly Wrap Up

Boy bands seem to be making a comeback this year. With the hysteria that UK’s One Direction is currently bringing to America, I can’t help but to remember growing up in the era of Backstreet Boys, N’ Sync and 98 Degrees. Two weeks ago One Direction performed at Radio City Music Hall. Since I work across the street, I learned firsthand that this is not just another music fad as girls lined up hours before the show and I heard screams from 44 floors up throughout the day.

On Wednesday I interviewed the boys of One Direction and got a behind-the-scenes look at what life is like for the current music sensation. With back-to-back interviews lined up with little but a second break in between, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the guys. Just a glimpse into their daily life made me thankful I never became a rock star. Stay tuned for my interview with One Direction later this week.

The Wanted are another UK band currently heating up the charts. After the success of “Glad You Came,” the group revealed details behind their next single, “Gold Forever.” Meanwhile, the All-American Rejects released the title track off their upcoming album, Kids In the Street while Lady Gaga’s ex continues to promote his book, The Drunk Diet: How I Lost 40 Pounds…Wasted.

Rihanna finally broke her silence about her recent collaboration with Chris Brown. “I reached out to him about doing ‘Birthday Cake’ because that’s the only person that really made sense to do the record,” Rolling Stone reports. “I thought about rappers, and I’ve done that so many times, and the hottest R&B artist out right now is Chris Brown. So I wanted him on the track.”

While I’ve been covering pop music more closely as of late, I’m always happy to learn more about collaborations in the country world. For details behind Matt Nathanson and Sugarland’s latest hit, “Run” watch my video interview with him here.

Features News

You Sing I Write’s Weekly Wrap Up

Just when I thought I was done hearing about Chris Brown and Rihanna, the rumors turned out to be true. On Monday night, Rihanna re-released “Birthday Cake” featuring Chris Brown and the music industry was abuzz. You can listen to the track here. What do you think about their collaboration?

This week, it was confirmed that former “American Idol” runner up Adam Lambert will be Queen’s frontman for a festival performance this summer. During an interview with New York radio station 92.3 NOW, one fan asked if he would channel Freddie Mercury. “I think it would be disrespectful to Freddie Mercury to try to copy him. I don’t think that’s the idea of any sort of tribute. I think the idea is to bring the songs to life with an energy that maybe he would be approving of,” he said.

Tuesday, I caught phenomenal sets by Mary Bragg and Nic Cowan at The Living Room and Rockwood Music Hall, two of my favorite venues in New York. What I love most about live shows is the power the singer has on the audience to connect. Cowan hushed the crowd at Rockwood after telling a story of meeting an artist pursuing his passion. After he told the tale, I had the song “Reno” stuck in my head for days. Listen to it here.

Matt Nathanson released the lyric video for his latest song “Run” featuring Sugarland. Being a country fan, I was surprised to learn of their collaboration. The beautiful track showcases his sensitive side and continues to expand his fan base.

My favorite story from this week was about a New Jersey teen asking Taylor Swift to his prom. Battling cancer for the second time, Kevin McGuire told his sister that no one would want to attend prom with him when he loses his hair. When she suggested Taylor Swift, his eyes lit up for the first time since being diagnosed. Fast forward to Friday night, Taylor couldn’t attend McGuire’s prom but instead invited him to be her date at the ACM Awards.

What music stories did you enjoy reading most from this week?


ACM Awards Performances: Collaborations Steal the Show

It was a night of jaw-dropping collaborations, surprises and new music at the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.

“Alright Mandalay Bay, ready to see a little music history?” Sugarland’s Kristian Bush asked the audience before bandmate Jennifer Nettles and R&B/pop sensation Rihanna took to the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino stage.

And music history it was. Rihanna appeared alone in a knock-out white dress, singing the first verse of her new single, ‘California King Bed’ as Jennifer’s vocals could be heard in the background. Soon, Jennifer appeared side stage and the two alternated singing lead and harmonizing throughout the remainder of the track. The vulnerable ballad showcased each artist’s incredibly powerful vocals and was just one of the many unexpected collaborations of the night.

Brad Paisley kicked off the night of collaborations at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino with his current single, ‘Old Alabama.’ Wearing blue jeans, a black Alabama concert t-shirt and his classic white cowboy hat, Brad wowed the crowd with his guitar skills for his tribute to the iconic country band before they came out and joined him mid-song. Alabama walked onstage with their guitars in hand to screams and helped Brad close the song with a fast-paced guitar jam.

For my complete review and photos of last night’s ACM Awards, visit The Boot.