Interview with Trace Adkins
By CSO European
Contributing Journalist, Christian Lamitschka.
Adkins, a multi-platinum
selling artist and Opry member, is a showman of the first rank and has
developed a huge fan base all across the U.S. Adkins says that
performing his music is his passion and something he absolutely lives
for. With his basement-deep baritone voice, Adkins exploded on the
Country music scene in 1996, with his very first album selling more than
a million copies. Since then, he’s sold millions more and has
registered a string of hits including, "Every Light In The House Is
On," "(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing,"
"Chrome," "I’m Tryin’," "Hot Mama,"
and "Rough & Ready," to name a few. Trace Adkins has truly
become one of Nashville’s consistent hitmakers.
Ch.L.: How was the last year for you? Where there any highlights?
2004 was a very big year for me. We’ve been on a real hot streak lately -- in the past year and a half, I’ve become a member of the Grand Ole Opry, which was a huge highlight for me. We’ve had four Gold and two Platinum album certifications and racked up five big hits -- "Then They Do," a special song that dedicated to my five daughters and subsequently inspired a book published by Rutledge Hill Press. There there was "I’m Tryin," and "Hot Mama," that were both Top 5 hits. "Chrome" led to my very own NASCAR Busch Series race called "The Trace Adkins Chrome 300" and "Rough and Ready" was featured during a scene on the hot new show, "Desperate Housewives." Our latest single, "Songs About Me," is already burning up the charts and hopefully will soon be our next big hit.
Throughout 2004, Trace was featured on covers of national magazines such as American Profile, CMA Close Up and TALL Magazine -- with features and reviews appearing in Billboard, Goldmine, People, Entertainment Weekly, ESPN Magazine, R&R, Rolling Stone, TV Guide, and USA Today. Already in 2005, he’s appeared on the cover of the January 17 issue of Country Weekly and is slated for cover story in May issue of CMT Magazine.
He appeared on numerous television appearances including, Access Hollywood, After Hours With Cal Thomas (FOX), CMA Music Festival (CBS), CMT Insider News (numerous features), CNN Headline News, Best Damn Sports Show Period, Dennis Miller Show, Emeril’s Thanksgiving Special for the Troops, Fox & Friends, Hollywood Squares, Nashville Star (USA) Pyramid, WGN Morning News and more. Most recently, he performed during the 2005 Orange Bowl Halftime Extravaganza. He has also done some acting and voice-over work – playing a prison escapee in the CBS comedy, Yes, Dear and provided the voice of a redneck truck driver on FOX’s animated series King Of The Hill. Additionally, he hosted dozens of television specials on The Food Network, HGTV, and CMT and served as narrator on the successful independent film, "The Dance." K F C also featured him on their national television and radio commercials.
Ch.L.: What did you do before you got into the music business?
I studied Petroleum Technology at Louisiana State University; played football for them a couple of years until I had too many knee injuries to play professionally. After college, I worked on offshore oil rigs.
Ch.L.: Country Music has many new fans in Europe who may be learning about you for the first time. How would you describe the music you play to someone who's never seen or heard you before.
Its pretty straight ahead country music – songs that deal with more adult theme subject matter and real life stories.
Ch.L.: What is your current CD and how is it doing?
Comin’ On Strong was released in December 2003 and was recently certified Platinum, selling over a million copies. And a few months previously in July of 2003, my Greatest Hits Collection, Vol. I entered the country album charts at #1 and was certified Gold (500,000 units) just weeks after its release. I think it’s also about to become Platinum.
We will have a new album released on March 22nd, called SONGS ABOUT
ME. It is my seventh studio album for Capitol Records.
Ch.L.: How did you find the title for the CD and what inspired you?
We called the last album COMIN’ ON STRONG for the mere fact we felt like it was appropriate with all the success we’ve been having. SONGS ABOUT ME is a no brainer, because all the songs on this album are exactly that – songs about me!
Ch.L.: How much creative control do you have over your music?
I pretty much have all the creative contol i want on any album i record...we do run a lot of the songs by a few people at the label and my manager to get feedback and their input. But at the end of the day, it’s my final decision as to what makes the album.
Ch.L.: Who do you look up to musically and where do your musical roots come from?
My early musical influences pretty much ran the gamut – from Ed Bruce to Merle Haggard to Waylon Jennings to 38 Special!
Ch.L.: As an artist you have to do so many different things such as recording, touring, doing interviews etc. What do you like best, what's your favorite activity?
Performing on stage... I pretty much live for that hour or so we get to play for our fans. Its the only time I truly feel like I’m completely in control. We try to give people who come to our shows 110% at every show we do and we don’t leave nothing on the bus!
Ch.L.: Before you became a star, were your friends and family supportive or was it a struggle?
It was never a struggle. As far as i know, everyone around me pretty much believed I had talent and could do whatever i set my mind to in this business.
Ch.L.: Has your journey to success been a hard or an easy road?
Its been a lot of hard work and perserverance...you have to have a lot of patience and determination to remain in this business for the long haul. And, you’ve got to really LOVE what you do.
Ch.L.: What does it take to be a Country Star?
You have to be in this business because you love what you do – be in it for the music – not for the money. And, it also helps to surround yourself with a team of people who really believe in you and know what they’re doing.
Ch.L.: What has been your greatest challenge in music business?
Ch.L.: What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you're proud of?
Becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry is pretty much as good as it gets for a country singer. It’s like the Country Gods have looked down and smiled on you. Its a real validation.
Ch.L.: Who's your biggest critic, yourself or others?
I’m definitely my biggest critic.
Ch.L.: When you get time off, how do you like to relax?
I like to spend time out at some farm property I have outside of Nashville. I enjoy doing work with my hands – things that at the end of the day, you can see the results from all the work you’ve done.
Ch.L.: Many European fans travel to Nashville for Fan Fair because of the opportunity to see so many of their favorite stars at the same time. Will you be participating and how will the fans be able to find you?
I have performed at every Fan Fair there has been since getting my record deal in 1996. This year, we will also be performing. Its now called the CMA Music Festival and I usually sign autographs for a couple of hours on two or more days of the week – or as much as time allows.
Ch.L.: Can your European fans look forward to seeing you in concert in the future?
Right now, we don’t have any plans to tour Europe... that could change someday – you never know.
Ch.L.: Many music fans today get their information about artists via the internet. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?
Ch.L.: Tell us about your fan club and how people can join it.
All of that information is on the website.
Ch.L.: What are your plans for the future?
To keep doing what i’m doing – only better!
Ch.L.: What is the latest news in your career?
You can also go to my website, www.traceadkins.com
and get all the latest news and tour information. We keep that pretty current.
Christian Lamitschka ( Christian@CountryStarsOnline.com