How and when did your first break in the music industry come about?
My first break, I was a songwriter. I got out of the Army and was writing songs and singing my own demos and a gentleman by the name of Bryan Switzer at Atlantic Records heard a demo through a buddy. I had been giving the demos to a buddy of mine who raised quarter horses and Bryan had horses at his place. And my music was playing, he heard it and asked my buddy and the guy called me and offered me a record deal.
When you recorded "That's What I Love About Sunday" did you think it would have as much success with the fans and radio as it did?
I hoped it would. I felt like it was a hit from the first time I heard it. It was everything that I thought a hit needed to be. But the reality is, nobody really knows. If we did that's all we would ever do.
Your CD, My Kind of Livin', created so much buzz in the country music scene How do you follow up to that?
Little Bit of Life! (laughs)... A bunch more of the same stuff. Only I feel like we're singing better, producing better and writing better.
How did you make the decision to bring Keith Stegall on board as another producer for your latest CD, Little Bit of Life?
I was forced to do it. I don't even like the guy... I'm just kidding! (laughs). He's made a lot of great records and we wanted to try something a little different. And, bringing someone else that might have a different perspective and Keith had the great track record. So, it only made sense... And, I had already worked with Buddy Cannon who I love. So, I just wanted to try something different.
In what ways do you feel you have changed (if any) since your previous CDs?
I think we wrote better songs. I think we received better material that we didn't write. I feel like our production was better in the studio. Phil and I have learned a lot over the last three records. And having Keith there, we had that additional perspective - that additional set of ears. I just feel like we made a stronger, more solid album of kind of what Craig Morgan is all about.
What do you like most about being on an independent label?
I don't really know... To me they're all the same. Especially in today's time. Our record label, even though it's an independent has all the same tools and elements that a major label has. And then Curb records is still an independent record label. But once you have enough success, you kind of have the same things in front of you that a major label does. And thankfully, thanks to the radio industry they're really focusing on artists and songs as opposed to labels, because the reality is, when someone goes to buy a record, they don't go to the record store or Wal-Mart or K-Mart or Target and go, "I want a Broken Bow Records record." They say "I want this song or this person."
How would you describe the whole process of recording your latest CD and what is a typical day in the studio like for you?
Typical day in the studio starts about 9 am and runs until about 10 or 11 at night. And, I absolutely love it. There's a creative process that takes place in the studio that doesn't take place when you're writing or singing or performing live. There's a completely different element within the industry that takes place in the studio and I absolutely love that. I hope that in years to come when I'm finished as a recording artist and I'm not doing near as much touring, I hope I'm producing other people's records because I love to produce.
Do you have a favorite song on your new CD? If so, what is it and why is it your favorite song?
I have like 10 favorite songs on the new CD! These are my favorites that we listen to over the years trying to get material ready for this record.
Where do you find the ideas and inspirations when writing songs?
Life - henceforth the names of my previous albums. Little Bit of Life, My Kind of Livin' - Just everyday life. I think that's the important stuff and that's why people have gravitated to this music and country music in particular because we talk about real, everyday relatable material.
I read that you recently shot the video for your new single, Tough. How long did it take to shoot and when can fans expect to see the video on CMT and GAC?
It's a full day just to get all the footage shot. From about 6 am til about probably 8 pm. Took all day to get all the footage. We just got a final edit so everybody should be able to see it on CMT and GAC in the next couple weeks. [as of May 3, 2007]
What goals have you accomplished and what do you still hope to accomplish with your music career?
Well, we've received a gold album for our sales on My Kind of Livin'. I hope that Little Bit of Life could be a platinum record. I'm nominated for the Best New Male Vocalist for the ACMs. I'd love to get that award. I tell you if I don't, I'm not going to be sorely disappointed I won't be as excited as I would if I did (laughs) but I hope to get that award and have other awards follow because that's rewarding for not only me but everyone that's involved in my career. We hope to continue doing what we're doing... keep making country records, keep touring and singing and making a living at it.
With the ACM Awards coming up in a few weeks, what are you looking forward to the most and how does it feel to be nominated again for New Male Vocalist?
It's an extreme honor to be nominated. I'm very humbled by the fact that people consider me one of the best new male vocalists. That's a huge honor and I'm humbled by that. I'm looking forward to probably the Motorcycle ride and hanging out and spending some time with my wife. She's coming out to the awards show. We'll have a couple days together that we don't normally get.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life (music related or not)?
I thank my Lord, my God because He's influenced everything I've done and He allows me to do this.
If you could collaborate with anyone else musically, who would it be and why?
Probably Reba or Dolly Maybe even LeeAnn Womack. I want to do a duet with a female. I had Brad Paisley play on my previous album. I had John Conlee sing on the album with me and Brad sang some stuff with me. On my next album, I'm going to do a duet with a female and I'd like to think we could do that with Dolly or Reba. Like I said, I just love LeeAnn Womack. I don't know... I just love these people; I love the industry and I'd do anything with any of them but one of these females would be a lot of fun to do a duet with that I've written.
You've played on the Grand Ole Opry several times now. What is your favorite memory so far of playing at the Opry?
Every Opry appearance is a favorite memory of mine. If I had to pick a couple, I couldn't pick just one. I've been able to perform with George Jones, John Conlee, Ray Price... just being on the Opry with those caliber of artists has just been an amazing, amazing thing.
What do you like about touring? What do you dislike?
I love every aspect of touring. Hanging out with my buddies, working on the road, meeting the fans, singing... I write a lot on the road; we play a lot on the road. We work very hard but we play hard too. The only thing I don't like about being on the road is being away from my family.
When you're out on the road so much, how do you balance your career with your family and friends?
I don't do it very well. It's hard because we are so busy. It's a lot harder than I thought it'd be. I don't get to call my friends as much as I'd like to. I don't get to play with my kids and see all their ballet recitals and soccer games, baseball games, motorcycle races that I'd like to. So, I just try and make good as best I can with the time that we do have when I'm home.
Do you have a favorite song to perform live?
Whatever big hit we have at the time (laughs)... No, I have a song that was a hidden track on my album - called If I Had My Way that's probably one of my favorite songs to perform.
What do you like to do on the road in your free time?
Ride my dirt bike... and hunt.
You've had the opportunity to tour with several great artists like Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, and now Trace Adkins What is one thing that you've learned the most from being on the road with other artists?
I think just being appreciative. They're in the same boat that we are. We're all doing the same thing. Being respectful... they've earned their right to be where they're at. Just be respectful what they're doing. And, it's a lot of fun. All three of people that you mentioned, I've had great relationships with and become good friends with all of them. I look forward to doing more and more work with them throughout the years.
What advice would you give to those who plan to get into the music business?
Be appreciative. Be thankful because there's a lot of people trying to do this business. And, there's a reason why you're here... just enjoy it and try not to get so wrapped up in what's going on. Remember who you are and what you're doing. This isn't brain surgery but you can have a huge impact on people's lives. Don't forget that... Don't take it for granite.
What is the most difficult part of the music industry in your opinion?
Being away from home. The hours, the time, the commitment that's required... It wears you down to nothing. You can't even think hardly sometimes after awhile of touring, making records, and interviews, and on and on and on... But if you take a day here and there just to glance and remember what you're doing and be thankful - It ain't so bad.
Finally, is there anything you would like to say to all your fans and all our readers?
I'm just extremely grateful, thankful, and ask them to continue to pray for the men and women of our armed forces and their families because they're the ones who are making huge, huge sacrifices so that we can all live the way we live.