The Greatest Fan of your Life: Edwin McCain Could Not Ask For More.
Sep 08, 2016 04:00PM ● Published by Nicole Gould
Originally from Greenville, South Carolina, this singer/songwriter never planned for the 1997 hit to reach the level of popularity it has today. Unlike some artists who prefer not to be defined by a single song, Edwin continues to embrace the “Hail Mary” that saved his career.
What’s Edwin doing now? The self-claimed procrastinator has decided to release three songs EP every few months, starting with his most recent release, O Edwin, Where Art Thou?.
Catch Edwin on Wednesday, September 14th, at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $33 and the event is 21 and older.
When did you start your career in music and what made you continue to pursue a career in it?I was dyslexic when I was a kid and I had a really hard time in elementary school. But, at the same time I was in church choir and I could sing, so I got put in situations where I was a soloist and I did some operettas for the children theatre in Greenville. Naturally the first thing you seem to start achieving at becomes a lifeline. It seemed to balance out any of the struggles I was having personally. Singing was it.
I was in bands in high school and in college some girl way out of my league liked me because I could play a John Mellencamp song, so I was totally set then. Acoustic guitar got me out of the friend zone.
What is your favorite part about performing live?Occasionally there will be a moment where everyone is in the same molecule. The musicians are raiding each other non verbally and the audience understands that’s what’s happening and between the way the music is being played and the emotional element of the song content, there’s like a sigh.
Occasionally that’ll happen and its bigger than everybody there. I can’t describe it other than that. Its sort of that moment when we become the ambassadors of possibility. That’s the thing were going for and we chase it all the time. Its a random reward. It happens when you least except it and it’ll happen at a gig. Over the course of 26 years it happens enough times, I believe its what every musician chases.
What would you say separates/makes you different front other singers/performers?Nothing. I don’t think I’m partially unique in anyway. From my perspective, that’s the same for writers, the thing that makes them different is their unique life perspective shaping the way they write and perform. I think that would be the only thing that separates me. I’m bringing my personal life experience to the songs, so that would be the only unique thing.
When people hear your name, they immediately think of the song, “I’ll Be.” Obviously you have plenty of songs out there, but what’s it like always being associated with that particular song?It’s a miracle beyond miracles. It’s such a lucky thing to have a career in music to begin with. The seemingly impossible thing that has to line up to make that happen is hard enough, but then to have a song that becomes this staple in weddings, it’s just a brilliant lucky thing that happen to me. Every night when I play the song, I try to play it like the first time I ever played it.
Its an honor for what its done for me, my family and lots of people in my sphere in our band and their families. Its allowed me to keep mostly my same band and crew for 26 years. That’s an incredible thing that a song could provide jobs and well being for that many people.
“I’ll Be,” along with “I Could Not Ask For More,” has become two of the most well known wedding songs. Was it originally intended for “I’ll Be” to be a love song? Where did the inspiration come from when writing that song and what’s your reaction to it becoming such an iconic song?No, it was a Hail Mary shot at the buzzer. The president of Atlantic called me and said “Your about to be dropped from the label, the first record only sold a couple hundred thousand records,” which was a pour showing. “Look man, you better come up with something neat.” So I holed up in my apartment and wrote this song. It was a half court shot at the buzzer and because of that I’m forever blessed. It’s amazing.
The primary inspiration was a girl I was dating at the time was an actress on her way; the relationship wasn’t going anywhere. I kind of felt I didn’t know what the future was going to hold for us. I always told her whatever happens I’m going to be your biggest fan and that was kind of the inspiration for it.
What has been your all-time favorite moment throughout your career?God that’s hard to point to. I have some good ones along the way. Playing gigs with Michael McDonald and Ray Charles, that was a highlight for sure. I think having my family at a gig I played at a music festival in Euphoria, Greenville, we were playing there 3–4 years ago. I was on stage and my daughter joined me on stage and the whole family was there in my home town. That’s probably my favorite. My daughter was five at the time. It was pretty fun.
What is one of your favorite songs that kind of got pushed under the rug and why?I like the rhythm of life. I think that song from the time we made it to now wouldn’t be that impressive, that time when we made it in 1996, we had a recording of a tribe of Aboriginal Australian kids playing on the surface of a river that eventually become the rhythm of the song and I was like 26 years old and I feel like for me that was a stretch artistically and I like what the song has to say.
It touches on raw things and real personal things specific to my grandfather and my family. It has kind of everything I want in a song. A larger sort of peaceful purpose. It’s rooted in my personal experience, typical earth wind and fire song. That was what I was hoping to achieve.
What are your favorite things to do outside of music?Oh gosh. I’m a hobby farmer. I love working with dirt and driving a tractor. I have a heavy equipment problem, not a small heavy equipment problem. I’m going to have to find a new meeting to go to. I do some land management stuff on the side for people and I love it. I’m obsessed with it.
I love developing properties for wild life. It’s a lot of fun. I’m kind of new at it, but I’m under the wing of some pretty smart guys that run preserves in South Carolina. It’s fascinating. Plus, you get to run heavy equipment and be outside. I’m also a chronic restorer of old tings. I have two jeep projects going on and three boat projects. There’s that.
What’s one thing that not many people would know about you?Oh gosh. I ran two marathons. That was a stupid thing to do though. I loved running in the NYC marathon because it was cool and a neat experience. A lot of people don’t know that I’m a pilot. I learned how to fly gliders a long time ago. It was always something I wanted to do.
You had some nice long flow (hair) back in the day, ever wish you could get it back?None of it. My two sons, they’re seven months apart. They were probably two, standing up in their cribs waiting for one of us to come; I went in early and my hair was down to my butt and it was dark and I came walking in the room and both boys went “momma.” I cut it that day. I told my wife I’m not going to be ugly momma in the story of our lives together. After I cut it, I was like what was I thinking. It’s dead easy now.
What can we expect from you in the upcoming months?We just released the first of an ongoing three songs EP. Every month I’m going to release three songs. I decided to do it because I’m a terrible procrastinator. “O Edwin, Where Art Though” is the title. When it came time to name it, it felt weird calling it anything else.
It consists of three song batches with different people I’ve met along the way. It’s a good excuse to hang out with people I love and a way to show how different people influence you musically. It also gives me that deadline I can work towards so I don’t get lazy.
Rapid Fire Questions:Favorite Food - Steak
Favorite Desert – Chocolate Ice Cream
Favorite Movie – Star Wars, Episode 4
Favorite Animal – Wire Haired Pointing Griffon
Favorite Color – Blue
Favorite Sports Team - Patriots