Jim Wright (Courtesy of EB Media)
Since his departure as the front man for the popular rock band, Hootie and the Blowfish, Darius Rucker has taken the country music scene by storm. In a matter of months, the artist underwent a seamless transition from a legendary rock performer to a successful country crooner, spawning five Billboard number-one singles in four consecutive years.
As Rucker continues his winning streak with his recent release of “This”, the lead single from his sophomore album, “Charleston, SC 1966”, the singer prepares to release his forthcoming single, “I Got Nothin’”, due to impact radio airwaves on May 23. “It was time for a ballad,” Rucker says of his team’s decision.” We’ve had two upbeat singles from this record, and we had this ballad, which they liked, so we went for it.”
While the soon-to-be-released song follows a trail of successful hits, Rucker claims the pressure to top himself is no greater than usual.
“I just want to keep releasing good material,” he shares. “I didn’t expect any of this to get so big in the first place, so I’m just trying to hang on and keep making good songs. I’ve had great luck [in the past]. The way that the radios and the fans have accepted me and my songs is incredible.”
Aside from the country scene, Rucker has found time to dabble in various genres throughout his career, ranging from rock to R&B. Most recently, the singer joined forces with Lionel Richie to record, “Stuck On You”, for Richie’s duet album to be released later this year.
“Lionel was going to do something in Nashville and called me up to do a duet with him,” the singer recounts his experience. “To me, Lionel Richie is more than an idol. I’ve grown up with all of his songs and I can’t believe that I am singing with him. I told him that this was one of those moments in my life that I would never ever forget.”
The duo’s recreation of Richie’s 1984 classic meshes a country sound with nuances of pop and R&B, three genres that Rucker is all too familiar with. However, the singer asserts that the various styles of music are not as different as most tend to believe.
“I like to sing anything,” he states. “I try to believe in my head and in my heart that it’s all just music. You use the same notes, same chords, same words. We just call it different names.”
Rucker’s embracing attitude came into play at the 2010 CMT Artists of the Year special, where he performed Lady Antebellum’s anthem, “Need You Now”, alongside pop singer, Adele.
“Singing with someone so unbelievably great was huge, and I was nervous and didn’t want to mess it up,” Rucker recalls. “That was another one of those moments that were unbelievable. She’s an amazing singer.”
The collaboration earned the pair a CMT Music Award nomination for Performance of the Year, an honor which will also prove “unforgettable”, if attained.
Regardless of the outcome, Rucker insists on enjoying the ride and its unanticipated surprises along the way.
“Just a month ago, someone found out [about the nomination] and told me,” he says. “I didn’t really think I’d be nominated for anything, which is so cool because it’s so unexpected.”
Credits: Darius Rucker, Leigh Parr, photography by Jim Wright (Courtesy of EB Media)
© Veronika Tacheva, 2011. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited.