Easton Corbin exploded onto the scene in 2009 with not one, but two, number one singles, “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It,” and a Top 15 hit, “I Can’t Love You Back,” which instantly made country music world take notice. He became the first country male artist in 17 years to have his first two consecutive singles reach number one. His list of achievements only grew from there as Billboard named Easton the Top New Country Artist of 2010 and named “Roll With It” the number six Hot Country Song of the Year. He was ranked number nine on Billboard’s list of Top Country Artists-Male, listed between Blake Shelton and Tim McGraw. With three American Country Awards in 2010 under his belt and blockbuster tours with Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton, Easton set the bar high for his sophomore release. The new collection—like the first, produced by top Nashville producer Carson Chamberlain (Billy Currington)—finds Easton improving upon his impressive debut. First single, “Lovin’ You Is Fun,” is an unapologetic traditional country love song in the spirit of Alan Jackson and George Strait, but with a vocal twist that only Easton can deliver. That’s not by chance. A devotee of Alan, George and Keith Whitley, Easton is the genre’s biggest torchbearer for the neo-traditional movement. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Easton Corbin to discuss the creation of “All Over The Road,” his evolution as an artist, life on the road and what the future might hold for this star on the rise!
Who were some of the influences that have helped shape the musician that we see today?
I grew up listening to the old stuff, so Merle Haggard, George Jones, George Strait – that’s who influenced me growing up.
What drove you to make music your career, as opposed to taking a different path?
I just knew it was what I wanted to do and I had to try it out. If it didn’t work, then that’s okay. But I wasn’t going to live my life wondering “what if.”
Your latest release is titled “All Over the Road”. What inspired the title?
Well, that’s one of the songs on the record, but not only that, that is what this year and next year is all about. We are going to be all over the road trying to reach as many people as we can. I want to get those new fans that wouldn’t ordinarily listen to my music to catch on to it and become a new fan. We just want as many people to listen to the music as possible.
What can you tell us about the process of putting it together?
Throughout the process you just get more and more songs sent to you to listen to. That can be fun finding songs you connect with. And then going into the studio and cutting the ones you really like and putting the finishing touch on it. Seeing your album come to fruition makes all that hard work worth it.
The album features tunes from Nashville’s A-list songwriters, including: Bob DiPiero, Ashley Gorley, Terry McBride, Tommy Lee James, Tony Martin and Mark Nesler, among others. What can you tell us about your experiences with these great talents?
All of these songwriters are so talented. They brought great material to the table and I was fortunate to cut them and have their songs on the record. I’m really happy with the songs we chose for this.
What did producer Carson Chamberlain bring to the table for this project?
Working with Carson again on this record was great. I think part of the reason we work so great together is that we have similar backgrounds. We grew up on traditional country music, both country boys. Having those similarities helps us gel and have a positive, creative environment.
Do you feel a lot of pressure to try and hit a homerun with your sophomore release or to live up to any expectations for the album?
I think there’s always a little bit of pressure to top the success of your last record, no matter what number you are on. And of course I always want to bring the best I can make to the fans. I want them to keep on enjoying my records and keep coming to the shows. I think I pushed myself with this record and I am very pleased with the way it turned out.
What do you hope that people come away with after seeing your live performance?
I want the fans to have a good time. Performing live is my favorite part about my job because I get to interact with my fans, and hopefully make new fans that may have come to a show for the first time. Nothing tops seeing your fans sing your songs along with you.
What has been the best aspect of touring for you so far?
Definitely just being able to get out there and play for as many people as we can. I have been fortunate to be on some great tours and get to play at great venues. Our live show is meant to be fun and engaging and I hope the fans think that it is that.
How do you feel you have evolved as an artist since you first started out?
Well, I was so fortunate to be able to have my first two singles go number 1 and that really helped give me a boost of confidence in my career. So I’ve gotten more confident that way, but I also think that I have grown and matured as an entertainer. And then of course I think I’ve evolved melodically with this record and I think you’ll be able to tell when you are listening to the new record.
What do you consider your most defining moment so far?
Having my first two singles become number 1 was a huge moment in my career. I think radio got me and got what I wanted to be in this industry and I am so thankful for that. I just want to keep doing my best and hopefully have some more hits with this new record and records in the future.
What is the best piece of advice someone has given you in regard to your career in music that you can pass along to aspiring musicians?
If you really want to do this, you can. Just stick with it and know that people may tell you no, but that just means work harder to find the one person that’ll say yes.
What is the best part of being Easton Corbin these days?
Just getting to travel everywhere and play for my fans. That’s my favorite part of this job!
In your opinion, what does the future hold for you?
I know that I want it to continue to have touring and making music. I truly love what I do and I hope to get to do it as long as I can.
We wish you nothing but the best! Anything you want to tell your fans before I let you go?
Thank you. Thank you for coming to the shows and buying the records and the singles. I may not be able to respond to every fan on Facebook or Twitter, but I do see their comments and appreciate their support.