Big Machine Records have announced the signing of singer-songwriter Chase McDaniel to its impressive roster of artists. The announcement comes with the launch of the pre-order/pre-save (available HERE) for McDaniel’s forthcoming “Blame It All On Country Music” EP, arriving on January 26th. The Kentucky native made his UK debut at last year’s Country to Country festival where we spent some time chatting to Chase ahead of the event in London (read HERE) and ahead of the release of his new EP, Jamie caught up with Chase over Zoom to find out what he has been up to.
It’s great to see you again dude. “It’s great to see you too, how’s the weather over there?”
It’s cold! I’m doing the typical British thing and moaning about how cold it’s been here when I know you guys have been hit hard with the snow and everything. “It’s very rare over here, so we’ve got to talk about it when it happens. This is probably as bad as I’ve seen it in about seven years.”
Well apart from the weather, what else has been happening in the last what is it? Ten months? “Well, we had a crazy tour in the fall which was awesome. I had a lot of fun over there when I came to see you guys. I talk to everybody about my trip to London and that was one of my highlights, if not the highlight of last year but now we’ve got “Blame It All On Country Music”coming out this Friday. It’s my first EP and I’m excited and nervous but overall happy about it and I’ve signed with Big Machine Records. A lot has changed and mostly in a positive way so couldn’t be more happy about things.” Going back to last year, we spoke before you played the shows at the festival and we touched on that the majority of people would have had no idea who you were and people that had come across your name likely wouldn’t have known too much about you but I hope you found that the audience did give you their time and give you the opportunity to show them who you are and win plenty of new fans. “They did and I could not be more grateful for that. At both of the shows we played at the festival, we had crowds that were so receptive and were listening to the music. It’s really awesome at live shows when I play songs like “Project” and “Blame It All on Country Music” where the crowd are into it and dancing along but when I played “Your Daughter” or “Somebody Like Me” which are both on the EP, they were just listening to the words. I value that so much, it means so much to me to have that respect and after I played there huge lines of people who didn’t know who I was before the set and just wanted to meet me and say that song meant a lot to me. You don’t get that unless they cared enough to listen, that meant an infinite amount to me and I couldn’t stop talking about it for weeks afterwards because it was great.”
I saw that you did manage to head through to platform 9 and ¾ at Kings Cross whilst you were in town and tick off one of those childhood bucket list things. “Yeah for sure, Harry Potter was the first big book that I ever read so I was thrilled, I mean my whole childhood was in that fantasy and imagination of the Harry Potter stuff so, that was cool. I made a couple of videos that I thought my childhood self would be proud of.”
Well, you will have to make sure that when you next come back that you have a bit more time here and you can go to the studios at Elstree to see some more. “That was what I told everyone was wrong with the trip, that I didn’t have more time to do more of the stuff that I wanted to do.”
One of the other things you mentioned last time which you were pumped about was getting to play a couple of shows with Nelly. How did it go, what was it like to meet him and be around someone that has been in the business for so long that has had huge global success? “What was awesome about that is that a lot of Nelly’s fans are country music fans. He has so many crossover hits like “Over and Over” with Tim McGraw from back when I was a kid and I just remember everybody singing that song because it was all over the radio. It was a crazy experience, all of the shows were sold out and his fans were so good to me, they gave an amazing response and he’s a nice dude. I got to hang with him after the show and he’s just a nice guy, that loves country music, which is so cool to have that with a guy that is a superstar in the pop world.”
Then coming back to the present, there’s the two big things to happen for your career starting with a record deal with a great label at Big Machine. As an artist what makes them such a great fit for you and a family to be a part of? “I think it’s that they got my vision and were willing to fight on my behalf. When I first met with Scott and Allison, they loved who I was, not necessarily just the music but what I was trying to do with it, the stories that I wanted to tell and the kind of man that I want to be. I felt a sense of safety when I first sat down with Scott Borchetta, it felt like he got it and he cared, not just about what I was trying to do but about the message that I wanted to give to the world. I think that’s reflected in a song like “Your Daughter” and “Somebody Like Me”. We’ve got all of these tracks that make you dance and have a good time but it was important to me to have a couple of those that talk about who I really am. I don’t think anybody got that as well as Scott Borchetta did so it’s a great team, their good people and they care about music that matters.”
On Friday, we’ve got the new EP coming which firstly must feel great to have something of substance and a body of work. Coming back to talking about storybooks and using that analogy where a chapter or a book in a series can be awesome and have a lot to take away from it but you need the whole story for everything to make sense. Then going further into the six songs on there, from my perspective and people that have listened to you before, they are mainly songs that we have heard before. When you were putting the EP together, was there a thought or discussions with your team of going with six brand new songs or did you feel it was important to be able to do more of a launch and go you know what, “Project” is a banger, “Your Daughter” is a great and personal song to you so, these are the best way to show people who you really are? “That’s a great question because there were so many discussions about that. I think it’s really scary to put out a quote, unquote project where it is like a book with all the chapters in it for an artist so absolutely we had talks about it being all new music and we definitely plan to do that but I think for my first quote, unquote book we wanted to paint the picture of who I am and also tell the story of my life. I think songs like “Project” make more sense in the context alongside songs like “Somebody Like Me” or “Your daughter” and it let’s you see the full picture of me so, I thought it was important to include those songs because that’s where I came from, what I’ve been through, what I’ve experienced and those were all true stories. Hopefully they also articulate a sound that is a little bit of rock and roll, a little bit country and also the stuff that I loved growing up.”
The other thing you did last year was that you had a little bit of fun with “Drop Your Tailgate” and did a lot of different cuts where you changed the words for different college teams. Where did that idea come from and also was there a part of you that hated yourself when you recorded Florida State and Clemson versions, who are both conference rivals to Louisville? “It wasn’t my decision to do all of the colleges, I will say that ha ha. When we first made “Drop Your Tailgate” I was working with my producer and he had this sound in the last chorus, that sounded to me like what you would hear on ESPN or you know sports broadcasts. When I first played that to the team they thought that it sounded like it was made for college gamedays. I remember testing it out and sent it to a few of my buddies then my high school team said they wanted to use it so, we thought let’s see if we can change some of the lyrics around. We didn’t know if we could as sometimes it’s just impossible but we did the first one, then we did the second one and I had got my teams out of the way but everyone loved it so it was now we’ve got to do all of the teams. I was like, I’m not going to vote for it but I’ll do it and it worked.”
Well, I had to add the Auburn version as the one in this write-up as they’re my adopted college team. The University of Louisville was were you went to college and the Cardinals are the team there playing in the ACC conference, who could be shaping up for good things again especially with the playoff expansion giving a chance for a big Cinderella story for programmes like U of L rather than just seeing the same handful of teams every season. “You know, we could use a Cinderella story at this point. It’s been a few years so I think we deserve a Cinderella story next year because it’s been a long time and a lot of changes. When I was there, Teddy Bridgewater was the quarterback and after that was Lamar Jackson, so we had a couple of good runs but since then we’ve hit the dumps pretty hard.”
Are you still big on keeping up with what’s going on generally back at Louisville? “Not as much as I’d like to anymore. When I started bartending, I was working double shifts on Saturdays and Sundays so my whole weekend was taken out by working in the bar. Yeah we’d have games on the televisions and stuff but I’d be so busy working trying to earn tips and everything so wasn’t able to watch as much. Then last year we were on the road and travelling but I definitely want to get back into it as me and my buddy went to a bunch of Tennessee Titans games last year including flying down to the one in Jacksonville. I feel like that’s going to be my new thing when I have a weekend off, to fly and watch the Titans play because that was so much fun and made me feel like I was in college again but I would love to get back up for a U of L game because I haven’t been to one since I was there.”
Thanks Chase, I appreciate your time, it’s been fun and great to catch up. Fingers crossed that you can get back to see us at some point and that it is definitely something that you want to do but in the meantime, best of luck with the EP and I hope that people really dig it. “Thank you Jamie, it’s good to see you again man and I hope to come back to London as soon as possible, that place is awesome.” The brand new EP “Blame It All On Country Music” from Chase McDaniel is released on January 26th via Big Machine Records and available to listen to pre-order/pre-save HERE whilst you can keep up to date with Chase socially by checking him out on INSTAGRAMTIKTOK & FACEBOOK.
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks