Mark Chesnutt Interview

Mark Chesnutt is one of country's fastest rising stars. Just consider, that going into 1991, Mark had one hit single under his belt, but by the end of 1991, he had 3 sin-ties reach the number one position. His album, "Too Cold At Home" was certified Gold (for sales of 500,000), and he was nominated for the Country Music Association's prestigious Horizon Award. Mark also won the AMOA Award for Rising Star of the Year — over Chris Isaak, Vanilla Ice and Gerardo. That's not bad for an eleventh grade drop-out from Beaumont, Texas. Mark's second album, "Longnecks and Short Stories" (M.C.A. Records), produced another hit — "Bubba Shot The Jukebox."

Q. How did you know that you wanted to be a singer?
A. Well, all I ever wanted to do was be a star. I wanted to sing all my life. At the time I got into high school, I was so serious about it, that it was hard to focus on anything. I was going back and forth to Nashville even then. I was singin' everywhere they'd let me sing. I didn't see anything else I wanted to do. I lost all interest in everything, even girls. I didn't even want to date. I was so wrapped up in music, and tryin' to learn all I could. I wouldn't advise anybody to quit school. If I could go back, I'd probably finish out that last year. (Laughs)

Q. How has success changed your life?
A. The only adjustment I've had to make, is in my time when I'm off. I love to fish, hunt, and do things outdoors. So, everything I do has to be scheduled now. I don't wake up in the morning and say, "What can I do today?" I know exactly what I'm gonna do when I go to bed at night. Everything has to be planned now. I love it. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Q. Your father was in the music business. Did that give you an advantage that most people don't have?
A. Yeah, I had an advantage, 'cause I had a daddy that cared, that really loved the music business. He loved singing and songwriting. He didn't try to discourage me. Hetold me how tough it would be. He was always there to help me. He had the same love, that I did. He wanted to do what I'm doing now. He spent a lot of his money to help me make my little independent label records. I was real lucky. My mom and daddy were both real supportive.

Q. Why is there this tremendous boom in country music?
A. Well, the only thing I can see is that the other forms of music are just no good to tell you the truth. (Laughs) I've talked to a lot of young people at our shows, when I sign autographs, and a lot of 'em say they never liked country music before because they were always listening to heavy metal or other stuff and they just got burned out on it. Country music was real. They found out what these hillbillys' been knowing all along, that country music is real and we're not trying to fool anybody. It's about real life, everyday people, and everyday problems. We're not singing about inner city crime and gangs and all that bull. They get enough of that on the news. And, it's fun. The people are wearing really good lookin' clothes. You know, western wear is really popular. We're moral people. We're not a bunch of phonies. It's real life situations. Also, what's made them discover that, is all the new people, all the young stars that are coming out now, that are singing traditional country and using fiddles, and steel guitars, and putting on good shows. The shows are not corny. A lot of young people they can identify with on stage. Plus, it's everywhere now. A lot more people are paying attention to it.

Q. Is Branson, Missouri a threat to Nashville?
A. Well, as far as the tourist industry goes, probably so, because people that come from all over the world go to Nashville. The only thing there, is Opryland. That's about it. They don't get to see any stars. A lot of people are walking up and down Music Row looking for stars. There's really not that many stars that hang out in Nashville, except just to record. As far as the recording industry, it's gonna stay in Nashville.

Official Website: Mark Chesnutt

© Gary James All Rights Reserved