Sam Hunt is a singer-songwriter originally from Georgia who now calls Nashville home. His single "Raised On It" is currently being played on Sirius XM The Highway as a Highway Find. This fun, highly addictive song is about just that: the things you are doing when you are young and having a good time. Sam has also written songs that were recorded by other artists such as Kenny Chesney's "Come Over" and Keith Urban's "Cop Car." Sam was kind enough to call in from the road as he was travelling to Indianapolis to perform opening for Chase Rice on the Ready Set Roll tour. He talked about his influences, writing and performing and what's ahead. Take a listen to the interview and then head on over to www.samhunt.com You can also follow Sam on Twitter @samhuntmusic
TDC: Hi Sam Thanks for taking the time to call in and talk today. I know you are originally from Georgia and used to play football. Can you give us a little bit of background on yourself how you went from football to writing, singing and performing.
Sam Hunt: Sure, I played ball growing up and that probably took up the most time in my life, all of the time because I played year round sports. About the time I left for college, a friend of mine gave me a guitar. I was a huge music fan but I never understood playing an instrument. After I got the guitar it sort of took over a lot of the time in my life. I played ball at UAB in college but every free minute I had I was learning to play the guitar, broaden my horizons in music. But by the time I finished college, I decided wholeheartedly to move to Nashville to do music in someway. When I got there I started writing all the time and I have had a few couple breaks like with the Kenny Chesney song. That's about how it went down I guess.
TDC: You have written songs recorded by Kenny Chesney, Billy Currington and Keith Urban. Was it your intention to write for others or did you want to write and perform as well?
Sam Hunt: I has never really given much thought to idea somebody may wanna record a song of mine. In Nashville there are a whole community of songwriters who make a living writing songs and having other artists record them. A lot of songs on radio came from that pool of songwriters in Nashville. I did become more and more interested in other artists recording my songs never full thought about putting out own record. It is very hard to get another artist to record song and I wanted to get songs out there so I thought maybe I could get more songs out if I was an artist. I guess this is how it turned into the artist thing.
TDC: You played a great medley of country songs at your show in NYC last Saturday night. Is that what you grew up listening to and is country the type of music you were always drawn to?
Sam Hunt: I would say until I got guitar I really was only exposed to country music on the radio, so I basically listened to people playing on the radio during that era. That is always gonna be the main source of influence on the type of life I lived. When I got a guitar l listened to other things. With sports, I spent a lot of time in locker rooms where the music that is played is more urban, more conducive to athletics: the hype nature of hip hop. R&B, soulful and gospel music in Atlanta there was a lot of that type of music and I was not far from there.
TDC: You are currently out on the road with Chase Rice on the Ready, Set Roll tour. How has that been?
Sam Hunt: We have been out 15days. Playing with Chase, he draws a great crowd, one that is passionate about country music & real receptive to what we are doing.
TDC: You seem really comfortable on stage and the crowd seems to positively respond to the music. Is that what you have been feeling?
Sam Hunt: Yeah it felt great. What we are doing musically and aesthetically is a little bit different than the traditional model. A lot of that is due to travel, not able to bring a full band so we try to pick up the slack with that a little bit with the beats on stage. Perhaps the show to traditional fans can be off putting at first, but once people realize that I am what I'm singing about is authentic this is who I am, not in a arrogant way, but unapologetically presenting music the way I have interpret it and the way I want to convey it convey it has gone well so far. Any reservations before hand we can win them over by end. So far everyone's been really receptive and its been great.
TDC: You have a song "Raised On It" which is currently being played as a Highway Find on Sirius XM. Congratulations on that I imagine it must be a pretty big deal as they have been known to break newcomers in a big way.
Sam Hunt: It means a whole lot to me. I've seen what they can do with guys like FGL, Cole Swindell and Chase. I really respect what they do for new artists in the fact they find music they like and play it and care what people think about it. When I got chance, I'm not really sure how made its way there; my management team knows some of those guys and through the grapevine song made its way to them. I am really appreciative of them playing it and championing it for the past couple of weeks. It means a lot because they believe in the project and the team and the people behind the scenes. They'll be a part of whether it is successful or not.
TDC: That song is a part of your acoustic mixtape on your website. Tell us about those.
Sam Hunt: Sure, it got to point where a lot goes into making record, there are a lot of ducks I guess that have to have to be put in a row and it takes time before an actual record comes out. I knew it would be several months before a record releases & I really wanted to get some music out there. So my producer and I would go play 4 songs, record them, bundle them up and put on internet for free. We did this in June, July, August and in the end we combined them and put it out as this acoustic mixtape. I know a lot of people when they think of a mixtape they think of a cd you might make for a girlfriend with a bunch of love songs on it. This represents sort of a non formula body of music that can be anything. A lot of those hip hop artists put mixtapes out for free, so it's sort of model for me. It turned into this 'Between the Pines,' and it is a good way to get music out before the album next year which will probably have a few of the same songs but a lot more new songs.
TDC: I know you said you travel around in a van, which you named Giselle right? Knowing a lot of artists have bus trouble lately, how is your van holding up?
Sam Hunt: Yea we named our van Giselle, it's been awesome. I'm very low maintenance, if I have good people around me and can get a good nights sleep and especially when I play music I'm happy as can be. I can be antsy, I was in Nashville a little over 3 years writing every day in a routine, so I'm really excited to break it up. It's not monotonous because I enjoy writing but I enjoy playing as much, so it's a contrast by playing, traveling, & being out here with Chase. I appreciate it because I am taking the music I have been writing for several months and playing it out here on the road. It's great, I love it.
TDC: Being out on the road maybe you listen to music a lot. is there one cd, any genre, doesn't have to be country that you are wearing out?
Sam Hunt: Um lets see....I'm really anxious to get, I really like the song Drake put out. Yesterday we were listening to this guy, Krispy Kreme, a rapper who might have had to change his name because he was infringing on the donut trademark. He had an interesting song the band and I have been listening to the other day. Also bought Sam Cooke 'Live at the Harlem' and it inspired me to look up his story and learn about his interesting life and death.
TDC: I know you are on the road until November, what do you have in store for 2014?
SH: The good thing about the world wide web and the enthusiasm so far is that it has stirred up a lot of cool things in Nashville. We are talking about a game plan for spring and how we could maybe facilitate a full length record and who we could tour with and how we can put out music a little more proper. By Christmas I'll have a good plan and good idea what next year is going to hold. They're be a lot of really cool opportunities that'll come up here in the next couple weeks.