Newcomer Austin Webb strikes a balance between commercial viability and artistic excellence, as evidenced by his debut single "It's All Good," which cracked at No. 53 on Billboard. As he heads into the release of his next single, expected in July, he keeps a level head and keeps trucking on, despite any pre-conceived notions about him or his music.
Nashville Gab recently spoke to Webb about his musical style and influences, hanging out with Little Big Town, Florida Georgie Lineinspiration and what fans can expect next (and much more).
Nashville Gab: Your current single is “It’s All Good.” What’s that about?
Austin Webb: It was written in about 45 minutes over a pack of cigarettes and chicken alfredo. [laughs] It was a fun song, and it was my debut single. It debuted at No. 53 on Billboard with an independent label. So, that was great. They still play it sometimes on radio, and CMT still plays the video. My next single comes out in July. I’m just excited to be a part of all this [CMA Fest].
NG: What is your next single?
AW: It’s called ‘Raise ‘Em Up.’ It’s a good, fun song to come out for summer.
NG: As a songwriter, is it typical to write a song in 45 minutes?
AW: Each song has its own way of coming sometimes. I’ve written a song in 10 minutes. Sometimes, I’ve taken four years to write [one]. There’s never a set standard. Usually, I can get a song done in a day.
NG: Country Weekly called you ‘One to Watch in 2013.’ How does that feel?
AW: It feels really cool. I couldn’t believe it. I just went in there and played them some songs. They kept in contact with me, and I was walking in Wal-Mart and picked up a magazine and saw it. I had to tell them about it. I was like ‘are you kidding me?’ It was weird.
NG: Growing up, were you exposed to music early on?
AW: Yes. I grew up in a small town in North Carolina in the country. We listened to Country radio, but I was listening to Motown records and Kris Kristofferson when I was a kid. I got very into that.
EX: What’s your favorite Kristofferson song?
AW: It’s gotta be ‘Here Comes That Rainbow.’ It’s like ‘Grapes for Wrath.’ It’s just an amazing song. He’s my favorite.
NG: I hear you have a guitar that has photos of Guy Clark and Kris Kristofferson on the back.
AW: It is a $300 Martin that I bought a long time ago. It’s beat to hell now, and it’s got holes all in it. It’s scratched up. It’s in horrible shape, but I love it. It has autographed photos on the back since I was a kid.
NG: Are there any currents artists that have impressed you?
AW: I’m a huge Jason Aldean fan. Eric Church. Luke Bryan. Florida Georgia Line. Little Big Town. Thomas Rhett. Charlie Worsham. Tyler Farr.
[Adding:] It’s a great time for Country music right now. There are a lot of new artists coming out. It’s very inviting.
NG: Have you ever thought about doing a show like ‘The Voice’ or ‘American Idol’?
AW: I don’t know if I would have ever done that. I never thought about being a singer really until I moved here. I just wanted to be a songwriter. Then, I got a record deal after being here a little over a year. I was just like ‘OK, well, I’ll do that.’ I would have. I have no opposition. I think those are pretty cool shows. That’s just one road to the same place. There’s a thousand different places to get where you need to be.
NG: If you weren’t doing music, what would you be doing?
AW: Construction. Or going to school to be an English professor.
NG: You have a song called ‘Losing You.’ What’s the story behind it?
AW: It’s a song about an ex-girlfriend. When she went to college and I stayed home, she cheated on me and went out with some other guys. This is a song about a very common breakup that happens with young couples when one person goes off to college. It’s a very anthemic song [with] a Lady Antebellum kind of sound. I play it live a lot, and people seem to really respond to it.
NG: There’s an old saying that goes “you have your whole life to record your first album.” How do you decide what songs to cut and what story you want to tell?
AW: There’s a lot of different ways to go about it. Mine is staying as honest and earnest as I can and mixing a blend of commercial viability and artistic integrity. It’s very difficult, but I think I have a grasp on it. [The debut] is gonna be 10 or 12 songs. It’s gonna be my proudest moment.
NG: How many songs did you write for the record?
AW: Oh, man. I still have songs that I might put on the album. I’ve written probably 6-700 songs in my life. You put 12 on a record. It’s an amazing thing.
NG: You’re working with Byron Gallimore on the album, right? What’s that like?
AW: He’s like a second dad to me. I talk to him about every other day for like 30 minutes because you can’t get off the phone with him. He’s great. He’s fun to work with. I love being a part of his legacy.
EX: You recently opened for Little Big Town. Did you get to hang out with them backstage?
AW: Yes. They’re really sweet. Kimberly [Schlapman] is not too far from where I live. She’s from Georgia. They’re still so happy to be a part of all this and doing this.
Read the full interview here.
Photo Credit: Facebook