The veteran country artist believes traditional country music is important, because it resonates with “regular people.”
Joe Nichols began his career in country music almost 20 years ago. He’s seen the music evolve through the influence of other musical genres, including pop and rock. He says its time to remember where country music came from and return to the sound beloved by its core audience.
“As a genre, we’ve forgotten who loves our music, and for the most part that’s middle America, just regular people,” he said. “I think in an effort to be cool, the fashionable thing, the hip thing, we’ve kind of forgotten that that’s our bread and butter. We’re country music; we represent the common man and woman.”
Like many other modern artists, Nichols sees George Strait as the epitome of success. Strait’s legacy spans almost forty years and includes 60 number one hits and more than 68 million albums sold in the U.S. alone. Nichols aspires to emulate Strait’s no-nonsense style and ability to engage the audience through storytelling.
“I think country was built on that kind of thing — storytelling and what your average day is like, weekend is like — and for me I think the lyric has to be meaningful to be a country song,” he said. “I think it needs to sound like a country song from a country singer, believable as a country song. If it can fit in other genres 100 percent of the time, then you should probably look at what that really is.”
Nichols has spent much of his career performing traditional country, but he has recently had two number one singles with a non-traditional sound. Last year’s “Yeah” and 2013’s “Sunny and 75” gave him commercial success, but Nichols said they were out of his comfort zone.
Nichols is currently on tour and will perform at the 2015 ACM Party for a Cause Festival.