Taking His Personal Struggles and Making Country Music: an Interview with Country Singer Kip Moore
Dec 01, 2016 04:00PM ● Published by Nicole Gould
Courtesy of The GreenRoom PR.
After constantly writing song lyrics, Moore realized it was time to ditch Hawaii and head to the place where he belonged. So, he packed up his bag, headed back to Georgia, hopped in his pickup, and traveled to Nashville … and good thing he did.
Moore was awarded the 2014 American Country Countdown Awards’ very first “Breakthrough Artist of the Year” award, which is the only fan-voted category.
Most recently, he released another EP, Underground, consisting of five tracks that were recorded live, giving fans more of the raw talent and raspy voice that is Kip Moore.
The release follows Moore’s second album Wild Ones and his debut album, Up All Night, which was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and produced three number one hit singles including the Gold-certified "Beer Money," Platinum-certified "Hey Pretty Girl," and the Double Platinum breakout hit "Somethin' Bout A Truck."
Kip Moore, with special guest Jon Pardi, will be performing Friday, December 2nd, 8 p.m. at The Fillmore Silver Spring as part of his “Me and My Kind Tour 2016.” Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased here.
“I just tell myself at all times to stay true to myself and this whole journey, and to not let people influence me on how to do and write my music. I trust my gut and my instinct. So far that’s managed to keep me separated. So, I’ll just continue to do that. I just stay true to myself.”
– Kip Moore
Was music something that you always wanted pursue or was it something that developed later on? What pointed you in the direction of country music specifically and when did you decide it was time to take your career to the next level?
That’s a difficult question. Music was always such a big part of me. I didn’t start playing guitar until I was 17. I was writing lyrics to songs when I was 13 years old, but I couldn’t put music to them; I could sing melodies though. When my brother finally got a guitar, that’s when I learned to play. I became obsessed with it. It wasn’t something I was doing at an early age. My mom played organ at the church and my dad had a good voice. I think music was just in my blood. College. I was doing the bar band scene in the south every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night playing lots of country music. Tons of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Black Crows, people like that, American rock and roll. I think the two kinds of music infused in me and both of those genres speak a lot in the music I do.
When I was 23-years-old, I was living in a little hut in Hawaii spending my days backpacking, hitch hiking in the beach, surfing, and writing a lot of music. That’s when I started writing a lot of my old songs. That became my focus and I realized that I wouldn’t be happy until I pursued it. I packed my one backpack, flew home, got in my truck, and went to Nashville.
With popular songs, such as “Somthin’ Bout a Truck” and “Hey Pretty Girl,” your debut album, Up All Night gave you three number one singles. What was the story you were trying to tell behind your debut album, Up All Night?
That debut album was just a nostalgic record from growing up in South Georgia. I hadn’t seen or done a lot before that and I want my music to constantly grow and mature. I don’t want to stay stuck. That particular record was my life and that’s all I knew…to draw on how I grew up. I love that record and it did great for me. But, that was life in South Georgia, how I knew it, and what I learned as a man.
“Hey Pretty Girl” developed from just watching people in my life that were a part of something bigger than themselves. Me being aware of that at that age and knowing at 24-years-old, I’m living, but I’m looking forward to the other part too.
After Up All Night reached great success in 2012, why did you wait until 2015 to release your second album Wild Ones?That wasn’t my choice. I had written a whole other record that got shelved, so no one will ever get to hear that record. I ended up writing Wild Ones and people got excited about that record. It was very depressing when that second record got shelved. It was a very dark time for me. But, Wild Ones kind of pulled me out of that darkness.
That ended up being the one that came out and hasn’t sold and had the hits as [much as] Up All Night, but its quadrupled my fan base. It blew up in Australia, Europe, and Canada. I can’t just look at it in the U.S. I can’t compare it to the success from Up All Night because it sure has been a success for us.
The lyrics throughout your music express raw emotion and real life experiences. What was your inspiration behind one of your most recent songs, “Running For You?”
Just learning. Learning what love was from a particular person a long time ago in my life that could have been selfish and made me feel bad for what I was trying to achieve and go after. I love you, but I know I’m not going to be able to have you. Us being so far away from each other. I learned a lot about selflessness from that particular relationship. A lot of that song derived from that.
Country music is a popular and competitive industry to be a part of. How do you continue to take your music to the next level, making it stand out from other country artists?
I don’t think about that to be honest. I just tell myself at all times to stay true to myself and this whole journey, and to not let people influence me on how to do and write my music. I trust my gut and my instinct. So far that’s managed to keep me separated. So, I’ll just continue to do that. I just stay true to myself.
From what I’ve seen, you traveled to Nashville with nothing but your truck, guitar, and a bag of belongings. Is it difficult to maintain modesty and a sense of your roots when success starts to accelerate?
It’s not hard for me. I’ve never really had a lot and I’m okay with that. I don’t need or desire things. People are built differently. When I go surfing somewhere, whether it be Costa Rica, Maui, Dominican, I can stay somewhere fancy but I choose to stay either camping out or in very modest places because those are the people I want to be around. I never desired material things so it’s not difficult for me.
What has been your most memorable moment while performing?
I would say having a sold-out tour in the UK. Everyone singing every word to the Wild Ones record. I think that’s pretty special. It shows that it’s not about having hits all the time, but it’s about people connecting to your music and having people sing to your record is a pretty special thing.
Tell me a little more about your most recent EP, Underground. What brought you to release this five-track collection? What are you hoping to gain with this surprise release?Just knowing that there was a fan base that wanted it. I wanted to start doing that every fall, where I release four to five underground songs just to say thank you for always sticking with us. I wanted to do it live because I wanted it to be raw, I wanted it to be like we play it live and for you to hear the mistakes and for everything not to be perfect. It’s one take. If my voice cracks, you’ll hear it. I also like how it puts you on the edge, knowing when you record it, you have to get it right.
Outside of writing and performing, what else do you enjoy?
I love to surf, rock climb, skateboard, snowboard. etc. I’m an outdoor junkie to be honest. I like things that really stimulate me in the outdoors. Surfing’s my favorite though.
What can fans expect in the future from Kip Moore?
I never know how to answer that because I never know how I’m going to feel. I’m kind of all over the place. They can always expect me to be honest with my music and that’s the only thing I can guarantee.