10 Questions with ... Craig Morgan
April 6, 2014
1) Craig, thanks so much for taking the time out to talk with us! Your new single "Wake Up Lovin' You" is top 20 and climbing at Country radio. Two of the three writers on the song are a part of the band Old Dominion that play here in town. Was that how you discovered the song? Was it pitched to you?
That actually is how I discovered the song! I saw a version that Old Dominion had done and I fell in love with the song and went in and recorded it.
2) Upon hearing the song, what stuck out to you that made you want to cut it and release it as a single?
I wanted people that know Craig Morgan and have been fans of Craig Morgan for a long time, to have something that resembled the stuff that they expect from me; but, at the same time, I wanted the songs to have a quality that allowed me to grow and that's really, really difficult. This is one of those songs that I felt that way about. That's the bottom line. I felt like it was a song that I could show off a little bit vocally and let people see a side of me that they might not have seen or heard on radio in the past; while at the same time maintaining some of those original elements. Also, what's great about this song is that you don't have to be that person. You don't have to have felt that heartache. When you hear this song you automatically feel compassion for that individual going through that. Those were the selling points for me.
3) We heard you had a little incident on the day of the video shoot for "Wake Up Lovin' You." Do you want to tell us about that?
Oh yes! I have a bee hive, and the morning of the video shoot I went out and was checking my bees and I got stung right on my eyelid. I've been stung a bunch, so I didn't think anything about it. I went to the house and was washing up, getting ready to leave for the video shoot and noticed it was a little red. By the time I got to the video shoot it was completely swollen shut! I flipped out and was like 'Oh my gosh, what am I going to do?' We did a lot of things and got the swelling down enough, but if you watch the video you can see that they favor my right side because I was stung on the left side. Every now and then you can see me turn and see the swelling.
4) You're currently on "The Journey Tour" through April. Are there any funny "on the road" stories or memorable fan encounters from this tour or past tours that you can share with us?
There has definitely been some fan moments in tours past, but the amazing thing for me on this tour is how impacting this song is. The shows are sold out and I attribute it to the song. I've been doing this for 14 years and I'm always amazed because this year people come up to me and go 'Man, I've never seen you before and I'm a huge fan now.' They know the words to songs like 'Redneck Yacht Club,' and 'International Harvester' and all my hits, but they didn't really know ME; and this song brought them in and made them want to know me. It's cool. But yeah, there hasn't really been nothing crazy happen this trip, thank God! We've got stalkers, but we like that. Haha!
5) We all know you're an outdoorsman and have a show called "Craig Morgan's All Access Outdoors" that's getting ready for its fifth season. How did the show get started? Did you approach them, did they approach you? Where did the idea for it come from?
I was in the outdoor business a long time before I was a Country singer. I was what they considered a "pro staffer" for some companies. Being a pro staffer and then becoming a singer, I was on a lot of other people's shows and one of the shows I was on, the producer said to me 'Man, you really should do your own show. You'd be great on TV.' I blew it off for two, three, four five years. I got to thinking about it as I had more success in my career and in my music, so I called him up and asked him what he thought about doing a show again. He said 'Man, I've been waiting on you;' so we got together and did some brainstorming and came up with this show and started filming. Here we are about to air the fifth season starting in July!
6) Where are some of your dream hunting destinations that you'd like to take the show to?
I've never hunted Africa and had never been to South Africa for any extended period of time. I'd only been North and into some bad areas. We're excited because this year we're getting to go to South Africa for the trip. That's gonna be pretty cool to do that.
7) You're playing the Opry tonight. You've made over 170 appearances there and became a member in 2008. Do you remember the first time you played the Opry? Can you tell us about it?
Absolutely! I will be honest, I don't remember a whole lot about that night because I was so excited and so nervous. I grew up in Nashville, so Country music has always been a big part of my life. The one thing I do remember was going into the Opry backstage and that was a point early in my career, but I felt like I had attained a level of success. To be on the Opry, you had to be somebody. That's what my mentality was, so it made me feel like I had done something. Here we are many years later and I feel like I'm still trying to be a part of this business. Every day I wake up, I feel really blessed and fortunate to be doing this.
8) You've had a varied career. You've been a soldier, an EMT, worked with the Sherriff's department in your hometown, a hunting television show host, and a Country star. Do any of your kids want to follow in your footsteps of any of those career paths?
Only one. My oldest daughter went to college and got a degree in Children's Services. She did it initially because we have a charity called "The Billy's Place Charity" that she would like to run. That was her whole reasoning behind that. Now, she's got her a great job making good money, but she's writing a lot and writing great. She's singing as well. She's come out on the road with me a couple times and I've brought her up to do a duet with me and the response has been overwhelming! So much so that I'm going, 'Okay, It's probably time.' I'm supportive now because she's done all the other stuff first. I told her that the industry is wonderful if you're not solely dependent on it. It keeps it fun.
9) You recently became the spokesperson for Kidde Fire Safety's "Be A Safety Hero" campaign. Tell us about that project and what inspired you to be involved.
I was a former first responder and having been that I've seen the impact that fire has. I also know, because I've been that person, the importance that a smoke alarm makes. It literally cannot only save the lives of the people there, but the lives of the firemen as well. If you come up on a house fire and know that there's no one else in the house and the family is all out, you don't have to jeopardize the life of the fireman just to save the home; but if someone is in there they will jeopardize their life and put themselves in harm's way to save them. I know that and can communicate that, so it was kind of a no brainer that we work together. We get to give away 5,000 Kidde smoke alarms at various stops on our tour. It's a nice thing to be a part of.
10) There are a lot of new Country acts popping up that would love to have the music career you have. Any advice for them?
If you're in it and it's working then keep working and work hard. You just got to remember a couple of things as your career grows. It's easy to not do certain things that you have to do in the beginning, but it's a payoff if you continue to do it. For me, it's rewarding and I enjoy it. I'm talking about visiting Country radio. A lot of guys, as their career develops, don't see the need to go and visit radio stations. I see the need. I tell new artists all the time to remember that Country radio is just as big a part of your career as your record label. It's that simple. I have a lot of friends in Country radio and I think it's important to maintain those relationships. And also don't forget, the people who come and see your shows are spending hard earned money that they could have spent somewhere else, so always be grateful for that.
First thing you bought when you hit it big?
The last time you did a household chore and what'd you do?
This morning! Me and my boys are building a smokehouse at my house and I unloaded a stainless steel top that my son picked out on Ebay all by myself. I take the trash out, I gather chicken eggs when my wife doesn't, I clean out the chicken coop. So yeah, I do a lot! Haha!