Five Questions with Chase Rice
Newcomer Chase Rice is quickly catching the attention of the country music industry and fans alike. The independent singer/songwriter, who moved to Nashville after playing football at the University of North Carolina and working for NASCAR on the Hendrick Motorsports pit crew, has opened for acts like Florida Georgia Line, Jake Owen, and Lee Brice (just to name a few!). In addition, Rice is a co-writer on FGL’s smash hit “Cruise” and his currently promoting his single, “How She Rolls.” The track has picked up a lot of steam on Sirius XM’s The Highway and has sold a considerable amount of downloads, despite any push from a record label.
We recently caught up with Chase to chat about his single, his new tour, and more. See what he had to say below.
CMIL: You recently re-mixed “How She Rolls” and re-released it as a single. What was the reasoning behind that?
CR: It was on the Dirt Road Communion album. We took it off ’cause we wanted to keep that whole album up, but we wanted to move forward with some better sounding material. That album is something I produced myself and it doesn’t sound as good as we want it to sound now with what we’re moving toward. So we reproduced it, remixed it, put it out, and that’s what The Highway has been playing and that’s what people have been buying like crazy. We’re probably going to remix it a little bit more because whenever my new EP comes out, which I think we’re planning on for the early fall.
CMIL: Sirius XM’s The Highway seems to be a big supporter of new and independent artists. What does it mean to you for them to take a chance playing your music?
CR: John Marks is the man behind that. He met with the FGL (Florida Georgia Line) boys. I remember the day that Brian [Kelley] came home from that meeting and he said, “Dude, we just met with John Marks. I think he’s going to start playing ‘Cruise’ on The Highway” and that was back when we were the only ones that even knew it. I don’t know what it takes for people to just want to help other people, but he’s one of those guys. He enjoys his job and enjoys knowing he can help artists possibly achieve what they’ve been working for, for so long. You can’t thank someone enough for that because they’re going out of their way to take a chance on you and help you achieve your dreams and that’s what he’s doing for me and that’s a huge, huge thing.
CMIL: Tell us about your upcoming Ready Set Roll Tour.
CR: It came about from Brian O’Connell from Live Nation. He’s just been a big fan of what we’ve been doing for a while now. We’ve just been touring like crazy. That’s how my career is being established, through touring not through radio. Not to say that that radio is not going to happen, it just hasn’t yet. I started touring and Brian caught wind of it and caught wind of how many tickets we’ve been selling. He thought it’d be a good idea to do an actual official tour through Live Nation and the House of Blues and we’re really excited about it. There aren’t a whole lot of people who have the opportunity to do a Live Nation tour without a label being involved, so I’m pumped about it. Touring is my specialty. That’s what I’ve based everything on, so I’m amped to get out there and do it.
CMIL: You’ve accomplished quite a bit as an independent artist. What’s been the biggest obstacle so far?
CR: Kenny Chesney once told Jake Owen this and Jake told me. He said, “No matter what you do in your entire career, make sure you stay on people’s radios.” He’s smart for that because it’s free. Getting on the radio is not free, labels pay for it, but you get in their ears when they’re driving down the road. Then it’s a constant reminder that you’re there. When you don’t have a label pushing your music to radio, that’s a form of advertising that’s not there. That’s a pretty huge obstacle to overcome right there. Everyone else is playing on the radio and playing a concert to remind fans that they are there, I’m not. So I decided to just go about it a different way through touring, putting on live shows and making sure those people come out. In the beginning, they were coming at a hundred at a time and now, they’re coming in thousands. A lot of people sometimes don’t take you seriously at first. A lot of people didn’t for me for a long time, and now all of a sudden, people in Nashville are taking notice. I’m getting texts from old friends like, “Dang, dude you’re actually doing this thing!” It’s kind of a little nice way for me to know that I’m actually making an impact.
CMIL: What’s it like pursuing a career and living out your dreams alongside your friends, like the guys in FGL and other buddies you’ve made along the way?
CR: I get to do one of the coolest things ever; touring and traveling and getting to do music. My brother works at BBT in banking and he calls me every day and tells me how much he hates me and how he wants my job. Not only do I get to do that, I get to do it with some of my best friends. That definitely helps, especially when we’re all on the road and at a show. When we run into them on the road it’s like “Hey, what’s up dude?” It’s nice to have a little bit of familiarity. We were out in the state of Washington and you run into one of your best friends since you were little and you know you guys are doing it together. It’s a pretty cool thing.