Feature Interview: Kristian Bush
Tue, 01 Sep 2015 10:35:32
The singer/songwriter and out Artist of the Week is one-half of country duo Sugarland and he's finally getting the attention that he deserves with his solo effort 'Southern Gravity.'
Kristian Bush has spent more than a dozen years as the creative yet largely silent force behind Sugarland, the country duo also featuring powerhouse vocalist Jennifer Nettles. Bush has stepped into the spotlight with his solo effort, Southern Gravity, which is both a joyous and inspirational album. Still, the album was born out of tumultuous and tragic event.
Four years ago, a stage rig collapsed during a storm prior to Sugarland's show at the Indiana State Fair. The accident was one of several public and personal challenges that Bush would come to endure. Given all the drama that the artist has weathered since 2011, the album allows him to purge the demons and to share his soul.
Essentially, Southern Gravity is the artist's musical assurance that everything will be okay.
"These songs are like Post-it notes that you might put around your house as inspirational reminders," Bush has said. "I listen to them for that reason sometimes — to remind myself that no matter how hard it gets, you can make things out of the pieces that are smashed."
ARTISTdirect spoke to Bush about where he is today and in this moment and where he is going!
How are you doing now that you've weathered many storms and have your solo album to show for it? We don't mean 'How are you?' right not but overall and in general. You've been the quiet strength in Sugarland but now you are here, with your own album.
I would say that I am past sitting in front of people shocked and humbled at what's happening with my record. I wasn't sure how it would be received. In a lot of ways, I was aware, but not truly cognizant, that few people knew how I sounded when I sing. I looked for other artist's stories to see if anyone had been through this. There are very few people who have come from duos that have succeeded when you didn't know what they sounded like.
Wynonna? Ronnie Dunn? You always knew what they sounded like [when they went solo]. With country music duos, you did a solo album since people would recognize you from your duo. I was quick to realize that no one knew what I sounded like. It was kind of weird. I am a brand new artist to some fans. I am standing on stages next to Maddie & Tae and Kelsea Ballerini, and other artists releasing their first albums and singles!
It is ironic that you have all this history and success, yet you are presenting yourself as a new artist.
It makes [the album] very different than what a listener might expect. A fan might not understand what is really going on. I am starting at the beginning. I have my guitar on my back. I am playing songs for people who have legitimately paid for my mortgage. They are being so kind.
Clearly, they have a fondness for what you have done and are doing but it's requiring a little clarification, it seems.
It is a re-education. I wrote and produced almost every Sugarland song. The demise of liner notes [in the music business] coincided with the rise of Sugarland. People don't know. There is joy in watching people discover that. I will play [Sugarland's] 'Baby Girl' or [my solo song] 'Trailer Hitch' and people are like, 'You totally wrote those.' It is beautiful to watch. Being a fan is about discovery. When you find a band or a song that touches you, it's not because it was pushed on you, but because you discovered it organically. Those attachments last for a long time.
Watch the music video for "Trailer Hitch" from Kristian Bush: