Newcomer Joel Crouse shoots from the belt with his new rock-flavored single "If You Want Some," a song he co-wrote with talented tunesmith Luke Laird(Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats," Little Big Town's "Pontoon"). Admittedly, Laird's impressive songwriting pedigree intimidated the rising star in their first writing session, Crouse recently revealed to Nashville Gab. The singer-songwriter has also gained quite a following over the past year, leading to an opening slot on Taylor Swift's sold-our Red tour for a collection of shows, an opportunity he is still reeling over.
In a candid interview, Crouse dishes on the tour, his forthcoming debut album and his love for Chipotle (and much more).
Nashville Gab: So, you’re out on the road with Taylor Swift. How's that going?
Joel Crouse: Yes. We just started it last week. Man, I’ll tell ya, I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve had some of the greatest moments in my musical career so far, [and now], I’m on stage opening for her. I’m making tons of new fans, which is great, and I’m just blessed and thankful to be on it.
NG: Do you get to hang out with her backstage?
JC: Yes. She’s cool. She does this Club Red thing where she meets the fans. She’ll take me in and introduce me to new fans. She’s super sweet.
NG: Has she passed along any helpful advice?
JC: More of the advice has come from engaging fans. I’ve only been on for three shows [at this point]. I’m on for about 13 more. It’s going to be fun. I’m going to be able to learn a lot from her.
NG: Your new single is “If You Want Some.” What inspired it?
JC: It’s actually the last song that we did for the album. At the time we were writing and recording in the studio every single day, I was taking breaks from it. I was living with three other guys in a two bedroom apartment. So, when I’d leave the studio, we’d throw some parties and have some fun. I guess that’s sort of where the song came from. I was going in to write with Luke Laird, who wrote “Pontoon,” the dude’s got tons of hits. He asked me what I was doing. ‘Lately, I’ve just been writing and recording.’ He goes ‘what are you doing outside of that?’ I was like ‘honestly, just hanging out and having parties.’ It’s honestly my only party song that I have. That’s how it came, just writing from personal experience.
EX: The song has some definite rock influences. What was your upbringing like? What did you listen to?
JC: Originally, I’m from Massachusetts. How I got into Country, my grandfather was from Alabama and moved in with me when I was eight years old. He was big on the outlaws, like Waylon Jennings. So, I had that influence. My father was a pastor; he came from a small town. For the longest time, we were only allowed to listen to Christian and Country music. Also, my brother and sister were going to Keith Urban and Brad Paisley concerts. I wasn’t old enough to go, but growing up [I was exposed] to a lot of classic rock stations. I kind of dug the Fleetwood Mac and Eagles…melodic harmonies.
EX: You’ve performed at the Grand Ole Opry, right?
JC: Yes. That was such a trip. I went to the Opry when I was 12. I’m 20 now. To be able to perform on that stage was such a warm feeling. To be on that stage and looking down at that circle and seeing where the legends have stepped, it’s the best part of my career.
EX: When was the first time you performed? And who else was on the lineup that night?
JC: It was May 11. Charlie Daniels was playing, too, which was funny. The first time I [ever] went, he was performing then, too. Old Crow Medicine show was there. It was great.
NG: As far as current music-making artists go, who are you most impressed with?
JC: Eric Church. He’s a great songwriter. His album is killing it. I love Zac Brown Band. Keith Urban has always been a huge influence on my life. I’m [also] really digging Kacey Musgraves’ new record.
NG: Do you ever get starstruck?
JC: Actually, I was when I met Keith Urban. I was freaking out man. My manager introduced me to him. “Somebody Like You” came out when I was, like, 11. So, I grew up with [him]. It was awesome to meet him.
NG: If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
JC: I really dig Adele. I think she’s a great singer-songwriter. If it was a Country artist, I would love to do something with Eric Church or Zac Brown Band. If I could do an older artist, I would obviously want to do something with one of the Eagles. That’d be crazy.
NG: With your fans, have you had any strange interactions?
JC: The cool thing lately is they’ve been bringing me Chipotle gift cards. [laughs] I’m a big Chipotle advocate.
NG: What’s currently on your playlist?
JC: I’ve got a little Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Blind Melon, Bob Marley. Then, I’ve got some current stuff. I have some Bruno Mars on there, Charlie Worsham (he’s a new artist), Kacey Musgraves.
NG: If you had one question you wished people would ask you, what would it be?
JC: I think it would be ‘why am you doing what you're doing?’ If I had to answer that, it would be because what it comes down to is I just love music. I love writing songs, and I love the way music makes me feel inside when I hear a song and how it can change my mood. I want to be able to do that for people.
NG: What sets you apart from everyone else?
JC: A lot of it will come down to the sound of the record. I’m just writing about real things that have happened to me. My main thing is I hope people relate to the music.
Read the full interview here.
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