Chris Stapleton doesn’t want to be seen as the new savior of country music.
In a recent interview with the Nashville Scene, the breakthrough singer-songwriter explained why he believes there’s a place for all kinds of artists inside the world of country music.
“I don’t think country music needs saving from anything,” Stapleton said. “Whether you like modern incarnations of what country radio hits are, or you like what I’m doing, or you like something really off in folk, poetry Americana land, it’s all just music, man. If you like one of them, great, go buy it.”
Although many have praised Stapleton as the leader of a return to more traditionally-based country music, he doesn’t see that movement as a personal mission. Instead, he simply wants country fans to listen to what they like – just like he does.
“I like all kinds of music. But I would rather people stop caring about lines,” he explains. “Nothing gets on my nerves more than somebody else spending all their energy and time talking about something that they don’t like, and trying to convince you [that] you shouldn’t like it, and this thing over here is better. It’s the dumbest thing ever.”
Many of his supporters have also criticized mainstream artists like Sam Hunt, who have brought in electronic and hip-hop influences into the genre. Although his sound is vastly different, Stapleton says there’s no reason why his fans should be slammed for also enjoying the more pop-leaning side of the genre.
“I think it’s OK if somebody likes my music and likes Sam Hunt’s music too. And I think if we’re both selling records, it’s good for everybody. I think it allows other records to get made.”
Both Stapleton and Hunt have been tapped to perform at the 2016 Grammy Awards, which will be broadcast live from Los Angeles Feb. 15 on CBS.