Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Wyatt McCubbin

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Wyatt McCubbin

As many of you know, I love country music. For a guy obsessed with electronic dance music, that might surprise you. But being from the Midwest, where my backyard was a cornfield, I grew up on country music. Some of my favorite concerts were were country shows… Names like Garth Brooks, Gary Allan and Eric Church. Needless to say, I get excited when I am introduced to a country musician. That is where Wyatt McCubbin comes in. Wyatt is young, but listening to him sing, you would never know it. He sounds like what country music is all about, and I was excited to learn more about him. The kid spends a lot of time in Nashville and has a bright future ahead of him. I am just glad to be a small part of it. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Wyatt McCubbin.

I love your tagline, “Your new favorite country singer.” Where did you come up with that?
I’m glad you like that! (Laughs.) I came up with that when I was building my website and thinking about catchy, funny little things to sneak in here and there. I thought it would make people say, “Who the heck does this guy think he is?!” And then, of course, they couldn’t not look me up after seeing something like that…

I’ve never been to Nashville. What is the music scene like there? What are some of the best places to see live music?
Nashville truly is MUSIC CITY. ALL kinds of music… Not just country music. There is always something to do or shows to see any night of the week. Of course there are tourist sides of town and then there are industry sides of town. I’d have to recommend the Station Inn. But my favorite kind of shows that Nashville is famous for is what’s called a “writers round” where three or four songwriters get up on stage and take turns singing songs they have written recently or old hits they wrote years ago. The Bluebird Cafe is the best place to go for these kinds of shows.

Who are some of your biggest influences?
I grew up with so many different records playing around my house everyday… Everything from Merle Haggard to Bonnie Raitt. My mom and dad showed me how to appreciate all kinds of great music from an early age, but country music was always No. 1. I am a fan of anything with SOUL. Every genre of music has singers with soul who make you feel something. Even though I’m a country singer through and through, my favorite singer of all time would have to be Ray Charles… How does it get any more soulful than him?! But to be honest, when I started coming to Nashville on a regular basis and started meeting a lot of songwriters that’s when I discovered some of my biggest influences. Guys like Harley Allen, Tony Lane, Mark Nesler and so many more. These kinds of songwriters were responsible for the songs I used to hear on the school bus every morning as a kid. So imagine me, fifteen years later, getting to write songs with some of my heroes. It’s funny because a lot of my influences in the songwriter community are names that the average listener has never heard of… But I guarantee they’d know their songs!

You don’t have any upcoming shows listed on your website. Are you planning a tour this summer, or are you in the studio working on something?
I have played my fair share of shows over the last 6 years around Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Tennessee opening up for artists like Merle Haggard, George Jones, Dwight Yoakam, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Charlie Daniels Band and many more… Yes, I’ve been lucky! The greatest feeling in the world to me is standing on stage and feeding off of a great crowd. With all that being said, I have slowed down with booking shows because of how much I’ve been writing and getting prepared for my next step – a debut album. I can’t wait for people to hear this new music… But there are a handful of shows that I am playing in 2018 that people can come see while I’m still getting those things together.

What is your songwriting process like? Do you sit down to write a new song, or does it just come to you?
That’s a question that gets asked a lot and my answer everytime is that the process is always unpredictable. For the most part I schedule writing sessions with a couple other writers and knock out a song in a day, but sometimes I have to jump out of bed at 3:00 am, grab a guitar and scribble down whatever I have in my head. I still live in Ohio and drive to Nashville every other week so I have a lot of downtime to gather up ideas while I’m home. I get at least 75% of my ideas on that 5 and 1/2 hour drive to Tennessee. I’d have to say the most amazing part of the process is seeing one of those ideas come to life in a room with me and the other one to two songwriters/friends… That never gets old!

Do you ever make a mistake on stage?
Too many to count! (Laughs.) I seem to keep it unnoticeable for the most part though. I’ve had times where I’ve had to make up lines when I’ve forgot the real ones. You learn how to roll with the punches the more stage time you get in.

What’s the best concert you’ve been to?
My most memorable concert was seeing Kris Kristofferson last year in Columbus, OH… Just him and his guitar. But one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen belongs to Blackberry Smoke. Those guys knock it out every night. I’ve seen them about 4 or 5 times and they always blow me away.

How many different guitars do you own?
Oh no… (Laughs!) This is a question that makes me look like a hoarder! I love guitars. All kinds. Between acoustic, electric and everything else I probably have about fifteen. But my pride and joys are my four acoustic Gibson guitars. My 1942 LG-3, 1943 J-45, 1954 Southern Jumbo and 1965 J-50 are all dream guitars that I still can’t believe I own. And yes, every one of them has a story behind it!

Which one is your favorite?
My main guitar I use on stage is my ’54 Gibson Southern Jumbo. There is something about that guitar that constantly inspires me on stage and in writing rooms. I believe some guitars have souls that can’t be described or explained. It’s almost like they play themselves.

You are only 23 years old, but it sounds like you’ve been doing this for decades. Tell me more about your songwriter’s journey. Also, how has your style changed since you started singing/writing?
I’ve had a lot of folks call me an old soul. I take that as a compliment. My music journey started when I was thirteen after I broke my arm playing football in middle school. I had to take some kind of therapy for my arm so I figured why not learn how to play guitar. Shortly after that I decided to start singing along. My songwriting journey started when my mom’s dad, Grandpa Woody, passed away in 2009. I had never lost anyone that close to me and I didn’t know how to deal with all those feelings so I sat down and wrote my first song… Writing is where I learned how to deal with hard times, good times and everything in between. Now here I am at 23 writing songs for a living in Nashville. I can’t say it enough… I am LUCKY!

My style has definitely changed throughout the years, though. When I met my producer and main co-writer, Carson Chamberlain, in mid 2014 I was 19 and really trying to find myself as a writer, singer and guitar player. Carson is one of the few guys left in Nashville that is great at helping develop an artist and willing to invest the time that that process takes. It took about three years, but by hanging out with Carson, finding my team of songwriters and staying focused I stumbled on to the real WYATT.

That’s why I’m so excited to share my debut album with the world.

You got the chance to meet the late Daryle Singletary. Where did you meet him and what was that like shaking hands with a legend like that?
I only got to be around Daryle Singletary a few times, once at a show we did together and once backstage at the Grand Ole Opry with my friends Flatt Lonesome, but he was always great to me. One of the nicest guys I ever got to meet. And wow… What a voice. He will sure be missed.

Modern day country music is crap. It’s pop… Not country. You seem to understand that! Give me your thoughts on modern day country music… Names like Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift.
I wouldn’t say that at all. Every artist of all time in the music business started out as a dreamer just like me. I respect any artist who has a vision nd really knows who they are. I’d hate for someone to not give my music a chance just because it doesn’t checkmark all the boxes on their list.

And I’ve heard a lot of wise folks say this over my short career, “You can’t argue with success.”

When are you going to come play a show at Tiburón Golf Club here in Naples? I see you were at The Old Collier Golf Club recently.
You say when and I am there. I love Florida! And yes, I was just at The Old Collier Golf Club a couple weeks ago and did a writers round show with a few songwriters that write for the same publishing company as I do in Nashville, SNG Music. My publisher is a member at The Old Collier Golf Club. I had a blast there!

Tell me about the other guys in your band.
As of right now I’ve been doing more acoustic shows than anything, but I still do full band shows every now and then in Ohio. I love playing with a band, but sometimes it’s hard to stay rehearsed with as many new songs as I sneak into my setlists. That’s why I’ve been leaning on more acoustic shows lately.

You do a lot with YouTube. It seems like you do a lot of cover songs. How do you decide what songs to cover? Do you need to get permission from the artist to produce a cover song?
I like to pick songs that show off my voice and different guitar style. I’ve done a wide variety of cover songs on my YouTube channel. Everything from Ronnie Milsap to Bob Seger! I also think it’s cool for my fans to get a behind the scenes look of what it’s like when I sit down around the house and pick up a guitar… I practically live with a guitar in my hands. The covers have been my way of keeping my followers entertained while they are waiting on my original music to come out.

What’s next for Wyatt McCubbin?
Introducing the world to their “new favorite country singer,” of course! (Laughs.) Getting my record wrapped up is priority No. 1. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see where the music takes me from there…

Thank you for doing this. In all of the interviews I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.
Shoot, this has been my pleasure. I appreciate you taking the time to set this up! I also want to thank everybody who read this interview. I look forward to meeting you and a lot of your readers one of these days when I get back down to Naples for some more shows. I absolutely love what I do and hope that shines through in every note I play and sing. I can’t wait to share this new music with each and every one of you…

This is only the beginning… Stay tuned!

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