C2C: Country To Country 2015! - Kip Moore press conference

On the second day of Country To Country I was able to attend two press conferences, the first of which being Kip Moore's. Read on for all the questions and Kip's answers.

Maybe you could talk a little about your journey from Georgia to Nashville, how you got into music and made the decision you really wanted to go for it?
It's one of those things that I never know quite how to answer that because my journey was such a long journey. I wasn't one of those guys that was like I know I want to do music and moved to Nashville and stepped off the bus and got a record deal. My dad turned me on early in life to the greats, what I think are the great songwriters like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson, Bob Seger, those guys were my heroes at an early age, long before I could understand a lot of, I was so drawn to the lyrics those guys were writing. My whole life was sports until I was eighteen years old or so. I still went to college playing sports but music took over around the time I was like seventeen, I had my first guitar and was playing constantly and writing music right away. I didn't want to play other people's music, I wanted to play my own music. When I got done with school I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life so I moved out to Hawaii and lived outside for about half a year, writing songs every day and surfing and backpacking and I was realised that I wasn't going to be fulfilled unless I was doing music. I'm a pretty weird guy to be honest most of the time [laughs] but I've learnt a lot about myself in solitude because I've moved to so many places by myself and started over. I've just learnt that it would have been a fight for the rest of my life if I wasn't doing music and I wouldn't have been a happy person. Sometimes I hate to admit that....so I moved to Nashville and got kicked in the teeth for many many years. I'd already been playing at the bar scene in South Georgia for two or three years, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday night, playing cover songs, trying to sprinkle in my originals but down there they do not want to hear those in bars, they wanted to hear "Sweet Home Alabama" and all those things which I didn't feel like playing any more. When I got to Nashville it was very trying times, lots of song writer rounds, a lot of shows. I developed a following and we travelled round the country playing every dive in the US as a band for many years, before we were even heard on the radio, before we even had a record deal, anything like that. I got a publishing deal like five years into the process, a record deal three or four years after that, it's been a long road, it's been a really long road to get to where I'm at right now. 
I know you've not performed yet today but when are you coming back? 
I'll be honest, I can feel that something is happening with us over here, I say us, it's my name but we've been a band....in Nashville there's a lot of revolving doors, bands are put together and there's interchangeable musicians constantly, we've been thick as thieves as a band for a long long time and we've grinded together and I think people can see that on stage, the thing between me and the band, and what we're trying to do, we're not trying to follow a curb, we're not doing what the trend is doing in town, we're doing our own thing. We can feel something happening, we played Glasgow recently and we went out to a park with a lot of the fans after the show, it was kind of a docile crowd during the show, we got out there and it was like they knew everything we had. It was a special moment, we played acoustic and had a good time. My management have been talking all day with my agent trying to figure out when's the best time to come back. I'm trying to plan on headlining and coming back as soon as possible. 
How important is it for you to be here as part of the Country To Country Festival in the UK?
I've been secretly dreaming of coming over here for a long time. I've seen numerous concerts, the only station that I watch back in the US is Palladium and it's non stop concerts in the UK. I'm a passionate person, I have to be surrounded by passionate people, I get very bored around people who aren't. It doesn't matter if it's music, whatever it is be passionate about something. I feel it from the fans here and their knowledge of music, there's just this thing where I've been itching to get over here for a long long time and now we are finally here so it means everything to me.
How did it feel the very first time an audience sung a song back to you that you had written?
About like you think it would. For someone like me, like I say, where it's been such a long road, nothing's come easy for me. So many people turned me down for so many years. I remember my dad telling me a long time ago, who I miss dearly, I looked up to so much, I remember him coming to a show years ago. I think a lot of acts, especially newer acts like myself, they fool themselves by playing a ton of covers in their set and you're just fooling yourself because you get a crowd singing and it's not your music. You walk off thinking like you're a big shot and all you did was just sing Jimmy Buffett. I've always stuck with my guns in my show, if I'm playing a two hour set I might play one cover. I've only had one record, I stick to playing all my own, even the underground music. I remember my dad telling me a long time ago, he came to a show early on in my career where nobody knew the music, he could tell some people were paying attention, people weren't, this and that, they wanted to hear that stuff, tell me you've got to play cover songs. I said no, I'm going to make a living doing my own music. With that being said, it was actually a lot more heated than I'm making that sound, we butted heads really bad on that. I told him I'm going to prove to you what I mean by that. So the first time that happened, I can't remember where that was but I remember it started happening, there's not a better feeling in the world. It's been a trying road for me.
So the next stage, is there a new record coming quite soon?
Yeah, around summertime.
Do you have a title yet or is it a secret?
I do but I'm not telling you! [laughs]
You've been playing a couple of shows, Glasgow, Dublin, while you've been over here, how do you find the response has been from a British crowd rather than an American?
Very different. I don't BS about anything, I don't give politically correct answers, I'm not going to sit here and tell you what you want to hear to your face, 'ah it's been great' and everything. It's been different, very different for us. We're used to people knowing the music back in the States, we're used to rowdy crowds and we come in slamming pretty hard. With us renting all of our gear over here and not getting sound check so you're walking on stage with everything going wrong that you could possibly think of with your musical gear, the crowd never knows it but we're fighting awful stuff on stage and then having an audience that you can't tell with the look on their face, kind of if you look at me right now, where it's kind of like you just don't know what they're thinking, they're just kind of looking at you. But every night every single CD has been gone. They're investing in the music so that's telling me something when I'm beating myself up after the show like 'they couldn't stand this' I'm realising they actually loved it. I'm having people come up to me that had that look on their face throughout the whole show where I was like 'this person hates me right now' and then their coming up to me after the show and saying that was the most amazing thing I've ever seen and I'm like what? what just happened? It's just a different thing for us and I think that the crowds really absorb, they're figuring you out. Just because somebody else says they like you doesn't mean they're going to like you so it's just a different thing but I feel like there is a connection being made, even past the blank stare [laughs]
Your album Up All Night sounds very rock, I'd like to know your influences?
Like I said, I was drawn to the, what we consider, American rock and roll guys, Bruce Spingsteen, not rock but like the heartland American rock and roll. Then at the same time I studied Bob Dylan for years, "Buckets Of Rain" is possibly my all time favourite song, so mixing those two, early on Springsteen got compared so much to Dylan, the lyrical arrangements and those kind of things. Sam Cooke is one of my all time favourites from the Motown era. I like powerful singers and I like, even the people that didn't have the powerful voice like Jackson Browne, you felt every once of it in their gut when they were singing it. Those were my heroes growing up, the singer song writers, the Willie Nelsons, you hear "Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground", it's heart wrenching. When I was seven I had no idea what he was singing about but it was making me emotional as a kid listening to it. So those are the people that got me early on.
If you had to do a cover on stage, which one would you pick?
"Tracks Of My Tears" Smokey Robinson. I'm going to start incorporating that in my set this summer. I've had many a Jameson's and sung that late at night, many times [laughs]
We've been asking people who they are most looking forward to today and the first name that comes out is always Kip Moore, everyone is so eager to see you today.
Wow, I'm flattered. I don't want this to come out wrong , people are always like 'are you surprised by the success of "Up All Night", are you surprised by what's happening right now'. Surprised is not the right word. Destiny's kind of one of those things where for me it's always been like you feel like you've known something for a long time, maybe not everybody around, everybody around you was against it and they're like thinking you're crazy but it's like even when I was poor as poor could be, I couldn't keep my heat on in Nashville, I can remember almost feeling like I was physically going to die some nights, I put all my chips in the ride when I moved there, I see all these singer-songwriters like 'yeah I came here to be a songwriter and I came here to be an artist' and they're working a full time job and yeah but I've got to have this job because I want this car, this house that I'm living in, I want to write inside a little bit and I've always been like bullshit you don't want anything, you're just going to be run of the mill like everybody else. I moved to town and that was my only thing. I worked just enough, I worked odd jobs, crazy hours at night and I'd write all through the day. I lived in a place that was $180 a month if that tells you anything, it was awful, it should have been condemned. My car was constantly breaking down, I had to skip meals for a whole day but I always knew where I was going so when you say that yes I'm surprised but at the same time I think it's more grateful. I'm grateful that the vision I had in my head is finally coming together. 
You'd mentioned earlier that there's a current trend in Nashville and that you do your own thing, is it difficult to do that sometimes rather than to conform to what's popular?
Yes [laughs] You have everybody around you....people are scared of the thing that's different, they want what they know works. There's a formula, when you're outside of that formula it doesn't matter if people believe in it. They might believe in it but they'll quickly lose their backbone, 'we don't see it working right now so why don't you cut this song, why don't you do this, why don't you dress like this, why don't you do yada yada' and I have from day one been like hell no, I will die by my own sword before I die by somebody else's. I'll go down by my own accord knowing that I did it my way. That's the way I'll always do it. 
Kip is clearly passionate about his music (you can read my separate, earlier, interview with him here) and just comes across as a really sweet, humble guy. I can't wait for him to return to the UK!