Local Indie Music goes Country. Guitar Justice Magazine interviews HICKS, a solo artist singing country music straight from the heart.
I’m a solo artist singing country music straight from the heart.
I’ve been a songwriter for a lot of years. Writing songs for Jimi Jamison (Survivor) Bobby Kimball (Toto) Little River Band, Giant (Dann Huff), W.E.T featuring Jeff Scott Soto (Journey, Talisman) Eclipse and many more. Alongside writing to all these amazing artists I wrote a lot of country songs that I didn’t know what to do with. I’ve had this burning desire to be a country artist for almost all my life. But coming from Sweden and pursuing a career as a country singer you’re climbing a pretty steep mountain.
When I was in Nashville four years ago a very good friend ofmine, Ronnie Thomas told me: “Do it yourself. You got the voice and the sound. Nobody sounds like you. And the songs are great. Just go ahead and do it.”
I thought about it for five seconds and then I decided to takes his advice. So I went back to Sweden started recording all the songs and put Mamas Kitchen, my first single, up on YouTube just to see what kind of response I would get. And man did I get a response…
Holy h-ll… It took off like crazy. Radio stations all over the world started to mail me wanting to play the song. I found the song on charts I didn’t even know existed. So it was a no brainer to keep going.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU AS AN ARTIST?
My biggest inspiration to write music is to write better songs. To challenge myself to be better all the time. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel when I write (well sometimes that happens). But I always strive to push the songs to its limits.
When the song is done and you have that feeling: THIS IS THE BEST SONG IN THE WORLD. Nothing beats that feeling. And I must say working on my album I’ve had that feeling on every song. Just love it.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
It started when I was two years old. I was playing air guitar on my grandpa’s big shoehorn just wearing diapers. I fell in love with music first time I heard it. I just knew that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I’m self-taught, but I learn a lot from all the amazing musicians I play with.
I played in a band some years ago and we refused to rehearse. And we made up songs live asking people in the audience what kind of genre they wanted to hear. Then ask the next guy what the lyrics should be about. Then we jammed and wrote the song while we were playing. That was crazy fun, and sometime we really hit home with the song and sometimes we did not (laughs) but I learned so much playing in that band.
WHERE HAVE YOU PERFORMED?
My first gig with Hicks was in France at a huge country music festival. That was just mind blowing… Me and the band got all the 18 000 in the crowd to sing along to every song and having a party with us.
After that I was invited by CMA and Aristo Media in Nashville to represent Sweden at CMA Fest last year. That was a real dream come through. I did five show during that week. Global Stage, Bridgestone Arena, two shows at CMR Nashvilles International Party and a fundraiser for the veterans.
My favorite venue is thus far American-Journeys in France. They took so well care of us. And the crowd was totally crazy… CMA Fest that is just so special to be a part of. I met fans that travelled all the way from Canada just to see me play. Amazing. Least favorite is honky tonks where the owner or the guys in charge don’t have a clue: Where’s the stage? Oh you can just put up your gear in the corner over there. Where’s the PA system? What’s that? We don’t’ have one. And so on!
IS LOVE OF MUSIC EATING UP YOUR FUNNY MONEY?
I still have my day job. I work in the fitness industry. I am truly blessed to get to work with the two things that I love. I used to compete in bodybuilding back in the day when I was a whole lot bigger than I am today. But I still love to train and stay in shape.
HOW DO YOU WRITE?
I write all the songs either alone or with some co-writers. I started out as an artist then fell in love with song writing and decided just to write songs. But I missed being an artist so much and now I get to doboth. The writing-process can start with a title, a melody or just the need to say something about a certain subject.
When I write alone I usually write the song in my head first before I pick up the guitar and put chords to it. For me that feels really good, ‘cause the song can go wherever it wants to go. I try to let the song write itself if you know what I mean.
IS IT IMPORTANT FOR BANDS TO BE ALL-ORIGINAL?
I don’t think so. I think it’s ok to play covers if you play covers make them your own. Put a spin on them so it fits you as an artist and fits in with your own songs.
There are so many talented songwriters in the world. And what many artist forget is its one job to be an artist and a completely different to be a songwriter. There are some artists that insist on writing songs even though they’re not that good at it. Some of the album fillers are just that: fillers.
I think an album should be filled with great songs. If you can’t write them yourself. Get help… or call me!
ARE YOU PLAYING THE FAME GAME?
I don’t need fame for the sake of it, but I don’t mind being famous for being a great artist/songwriter. It’s hard to sell music and shows if nobody knows who you are, right?