Tammy Vega got the opportunity to snag a few minutes from Chase Rice’s day to talk to him about where he’s come from, where he is now, and what his touring plans are for the next few months. He is one of country’s fastest up-and-coming musicians and a total powerhouse, writing his own music, releasing his EP “Ready Set Roll” on his independent label Dack Janiels, all while selling out shows night after night, delivering one big party to his fans.
On Stage Review: It’s safe to say you’re one of country’s newest rising artists right now … how does it make you feel? Did you ever think this would be your life?
Chase Rice: No, not at all. When I was a sophomore in college my buddy that I played football with had a guitar in his dorm and when he would play it, every now and then I would sing. We would just kinda sit in the dorm room and mess around playing music and one day he was like “Dude you should be a country singer, you’re good.” And I was just like “Alright okay… that’ll be the day.” I didn’t think it’d become a reality.
On Stage Review: That must be crazy thinking back on it now.
Chase Rice: Yeah, that kid actually came to my last show in Denver, which is where he lives now, it was a sold out crowd, and he was like dude what the hell is going on! I can’t believe all that turned into this! It’s pretty cool to see where it came from.
On Stage Review: It all started when you were attending University of North Carolina then, huh? You were in school, a line backer on the football team but your destiny changed after an injury while playing.
Chase Rice: Yep, I got hurt and if I hadn’t I probably wouldn’t be doing music now so it was a blessing in disguise.
On Stage Review: In what other ways did that downfall change everything?
Chase Rice: It sent me to work in Nascar because football wasn’t working out and I wasn’t planning on music full time yet.
On Stage Review: What was your job in Nascar?
Chase Rice: I worked in the pit crew.It was a really, really cool job. I worked with Hendrick Motorsports which was the best racing team in the entire world and working for them was sweet.
On Stage Review: When did the whole music thing come into action?
Chase Rice: Doing the Nascar job was the perfect job for me; it was the best team in the world but the whole time something was missing. Every day I’d go home and play my guitar and start messing around with songs. I actually had a weekend off and just happened to come visit Brian from Florida Georgia Line – he and I grew up together from the time we were little kids.
On Stage Review: Really? No way I never knew that. That’s pretty cool.
Chase Rice: Yea, so I came to visit him in Nashville and the first weekend we were going out he was like, “Yea man, me and my buddy Tyler are gonna meet up at the bar later. We’re starting this new thing called Florida Georgia Line and it’s kinda cool, it just happened naturally.” And I was like “Oh, that’s cool,” and then we all just partied. Then the next time I came back was a whole year later. I was back from Survivor and had lost all my weight and my boss from Nascar said, “Dude you can’t work here now, you gotta put your weight back on,” and yea I just technically couldn’t do the job anymore.
On Stage Review: How much weight did you lose?
Chase Rice: 40 pounds.
On Stage Review: Whoa! So then what happened with the boss man?
Chase Rice: He told me to gain the weight, come back and then I would get back to work. So the next day I went to visit Brian in Nashville again and he told me he had a room available in his house. I thought this was my one shot to move there so I moved into his house that day. Then we just started writing songs, and now here we are selling out shows and it’s pretty cool.
On Stage Review: Yea I’m sure it is! I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and this seems like total proof of that.
Chase Rice: There’s a plan for everything and I still don’t know what it is, but up until my EP and “Cruise” I have no doubt everything happened for a reason and is all a part of some plan. God is treating me way better than he should have.
On Stage Review: What inspires you when you’re songwriting?
Chase Rice: I have a lot of ideas rolling around in my head because I haven’t written this year yet. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to sit and write, but usually just whatever is going on in my life. My Ready, Set, Roll EP is a big party cause that’s what I want my live show to be. My live show inspires me the most when I’m writing songs because I want something that I know I can sing live. So yeah, whatever is going on in my life inspires me pretty well. That’s probably why there’s not a whole lot of love songs out there from me cause that’s not really going on for me right now, haha.
On Stage Review: There’s gotta be a girl out there to inspire a sappy love song out of you!
Chase Rice: Everyone keeps telling me to write one
On Stage Review: Here’s an idea – let’s find a girl to break your heart so you can start whipping out some love songs!
Chase Rice: Haha yeah, we’ll stay away from that!
On Stage Review: Ready Set Roll came out in late 2013, and you co-wrote every song on the EP?
Chase Rice: Yeah, I co-wrote wrote every song on that. I’m trying to co-write every song on the album coming out too.
On Stage Review: There are so many successful artists in Nashville who don’t write their music at all … How important is it to you to write your own material?
Chase Rice: I think it’s real important for me because when I’m up there singing a song I gotta feel like it’s mine – I gotta live the song, you know? If there’s an outside song that I hear and I’m like “Wow, I couldn’t have written that any better myself” or “That’s me, that’s me all over it” then I’ll cut it, I’m just not inspired yet to sing outside songs. There are a lot of really great songwriters in Nashville I just haven’t had that song hit me yet.
On Stage Review: It seems like you’re really sure of yourself and know just what you want, especially by the fact that you have your own independent label. Because of the politics involved in music, do you feel that’s the reason why you decided to do your own thing with your Dack Janiel’s label?
Chase Rice: Yeah, I just don’t think any of the labels stepped up when we were looking to sign. When we were talking to them none of them had the same vision as I did. We were one of the various few and blessed enough to have the ability to tell a label no because we were going to go out and sell out venues anyway. I do think a label will help eventually but it’s gonna have to be someone with the same vision as me – someone who understands my brand.
On Stage Review: I love that you stand by what your vision is! Do the people on your team stand behind you as well or do they sometimes try to manipulate you to do things you don’t want to do?
Chase Rice: It’s my career. It’s my album. It’s my name and I’m not getting anywhere without those people – they are very smart. The coolest part is that it’s not like they try to change me or try to get me to do something that I don’t want to do. They basically have the same vision as me. My management came up as Texas managers; they did the whole underground Texas thing, which is the same exact way that I’ve done it. We haven’t had to disagree really. We all have the same vision in this thing, and it’s working.
On Stage Review: I agree, it’s totally working. Do you plan on remaining independent or is this just where you want to be for now?
Chase Rice: For the moment that’s where I am, but like I said just as I’m not opposed to recording an outside song, in that same way I’m not opposed to signing with a label either – as long as they have the same vision.
On Stage Review: What song from Ready Set Roll are you most proud of?
Chase Rice: Ready Set Roll is by far the most fun to play live. I’m not most proud of any of them honestly… if there is one song I’ve ever written that I’m most proud of it’s “Jack Daniel’s and Jesus.”
On Stage Review: Nice! That song is pretty deep, man – what’s the story behind it?
Chase Rice: Yeah, it’s real deep. Everyone has that one time in their life and that happened to be one for me. I don’t hold back at all when I write. I like to write what’s honest and if I’m gonna cuss here, I’m gonna cuss there, ya know? I’m not going to have it cut out or edited, I’m just gonna put that out there. Same thing with the truth of any song – I’m gonna tell the truth about it. For that one I kind of thought people would really get it like I did. It seems a lot of people have gone through a lot of the same stuff I have.
On Stage Review: Totally, it must be great knowing that so many people can relate to it. Speaking of reaching out to people, how excited are you to hit the road for the We Are Tonight tour with Billy Currington and Brett Eldredge??
Chase Rice: We’re actually rehearsing for that today – it’s cool! I’ve headlined shows my entire career up until now so it’s gonna be a nice change of scenery to get out of the clubs and into the arenas. I think we needed that; we’ve been doing this for two years non-stop. Being in clubs and venues like House of Blues is great but it’s gonna be really nice to get into an arena. I’ll be able to move around a little bit more on a bigger stage.
On Stage Review: Doin’ it big baby, right?!
Chase Rice: Haha, that’s right!
On Stage Review: So with all that extra room to move around in now, how is your show going to be different?
Chase Rice: The party’s going to be turned up even more, it’s going to be louder, there’s gonna be more lights, there’s gonna be me playing less guitar and running all over the stage more! For the most part though, there’s gonna be a lot more room for fans that don’t know who we are. It’s time to grab those new fans and show them what we do. For the ones who don’t know who we are, if they’re expecting something pretty calm and tamed, they’re probably gonna be walking away like “What the hell just happened!?”
On Stage Review: Even with that warning I’m sure new and old fans are in for something wild! I’m really looking forward to the show later this month! Thank you so much for taking some time to talk. Best of luck to you this year, Chase!
Chase Rice: Thanks so much, I really appreciate it!
Chase is currently on tour with Billy Currington and Brett Eldredge for the “We Are Tonight” Tour. As soon as that wraps up in May he plans to hit the road with Dierks Bentley for the “Riser” tour. The whole country will have a few opportunities to see him live in the upcoming months, and we highly recommend any country fan get their tickets now. After our conversation with him we can’t wait to see him and the rest of the artists at The Rave in Milwaukee March 22! Make sure to check back for a show review!
2014 We Are Tonight Tour Dates:
3/6 – Tulsa, Okla. | The Joint
3/7 – Shawnee, Okla. | The Grand Casino Resort
3/8 – Little Rock, Ark. | Verizon Arena
3/14 – Biloxi, Miss. | Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
3/15 – Tunica, Miss. | Harrah’s Tunica – Event Center
3/20 – DeKalb, Ill. | NIU Convocation Center
3/21 – Rochester, Minn. | Mayo Civic Center Auditorium
3/22 – Milwaukee, Wis. | The Rave
3/27 – Bethlehem, Pa. | Sands Bethlehem Event Center
3/28 – Johnstown, Pa. | Cambria County War Memorial Arena
3/29 – Troy, Ohio | Hobart Arena
4/10 – Pikeville, Ky. | Eastern Kentucky Expo Center
4/11 – North Charleston, S.C | North Charleston PAC .
5/1 – Austin, Texas | ACL Live
5/2 – Bossier City, La. | Horseshoe Bossier City Riverdome
5/3 – Ft. Smith, Ark. | Fort Smith Convention Center