Nashville by way of Buffalo singer-songwriter Eric Van Houten has been writing and performing for almost a decade, winning over audiences with his high energy, emotion filled shows . On April 1st, Van Houten released his new EP, a three-song project which gives fans a taste of his rock infused country sound. Ahead of a busy Summer, Van Houten called to speak about his roots, his new single "Do You Wanna", and more.
Originally you’re from Buffalo, New York which is a ways from Nashville. When did you make the move to Music City?
I had been coming to Nashville since I graduated in 2010, but made the move to live here full-time about a year ago. I opened for Kelsea Ballerini in Buffalo and some of her team encouraged me to move to Nashville, so in about three months later, I did. Things have been moving along quicker than anticipated, but I’m more than thrilled about that. I think anyone who comes to Nashville has to have the right mindset knowing that it’s going to be a lot of hard work, but if you put yourself in the right situations, make opportunities for yourself and perform your ass off, people will begin to notice and things will start happening for you.
Growing up in Buffalo, which has a large country music loving population, did you listen to country?
I grew up with a wide variety of music – my first concert was Poison! Mom listened to the big women of country like Reba and Shania as well as Garth Brooks, Brooks and Dunn, Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban, but we also had the music of Bob Seger, Marshall Tucker, The Allman Brothers, James Taylor, and Aerosmith playing in the house.
When I was eighteen, and already playing out, I had a couple come to my show three weeks in a row. They asked me to play a country song and I didn’t know any at the time, so I told them that if they came back the following week I would have a song for them. I learned Keith Urban’s “Somebody Like You” and that was it. I realized that was what my style of music had been building to this whole time.
"Do You Wanna” is the current single from your recently released EP. What can you tell us about the song? Did you write it?
I wrote it with my friend Adam James who is also a songwriter in Nashville. We did a show out of nowhere, became buddies, and got together with the intention of writing a rock and roll anthem. The song was still a bit unfinished by the time we got to the studio, but when our producer Bill McDermott heard it, he encouraged us to finish it because he really thought it could be a fantastic song – and sure enough he was right.
The EP was released on April 1st and you returned to Buffalo to play a sold-out show in front of a 1200 people.
That was pretty incredible. The fan base in Buffalo helped me build my career, so I love that city and am very grateful to be able to go back, sellout shows, and play for the people who love my music and helped me catapult to where I am today.
In addition to selling out your own shows, you’ve opened for a who’s who of artists which besides being amazing, fun experiences must also be wonderful learning experiences?
Absolutely, one thing I love about the country music industry is that everyone is so open to talk and offer advice. Everyone wants to help one another out and pull the next guy up on the ladder - it’s a great thing to be a part of that.
As fair and festival season is upon us, will Summer be keeping you busy?
For the past couple years, I have been playing Jam in the Valley and I am so honored to be a part of it again this year. And for the past six years I’ve been going to the Taste of Country Festival to watch as an audience member, and to now be a part of it this year is a blessing and I truly can’t wait.
Ending on a lighter note, do you have a current guilty pleasure song?
I’m a sucker for NEEDTOBREATHE. I could listen to every single one of their records ten times over and still not be tired of it. And the same goes for Johnnyswim – they’re my go-to’s.
For more information visit his official website
Find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify
Purchase Do You Wanna HERE