Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ I am very excited to bring you an interview I recently did with Eric Stuart. If you don’t already know, Eric is a voice actor, voice director, and musician who has entertained us for years. He has had prominent roles in cartoons and anime such as: ‘Pokémon’, ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’, ‘One Piece’, ‘Slayers’, ‘Viva Pinata’, and so many more. Eric is also an extremely talented singer/songwriter who has released 9 albums with The Eric Stuart Band. In this interview Eric and I discuss the voice acting industry, which characters are the most memorable to him, what he wished he had known before getting into the entertainment industry, and so much more! So if you are a fan of great show/music then please read on. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
Celinda: So how did you first get into the entertainment industry?
Eric: I’d always been a musician and I loved performing, but I never did much theater or acting. When I got out of school I really wanted to pursue music. I was offered a job at a recording studio, which I thought worked on music stuff, but it turned out that they produced radio and TV commercials, voice-overs specifically. So I was introduced to that whole other world, and I ended up working at that studio for 10 years, and then I ran that studio for a little bit. During that time I learned all about voice-overs, I ended up being a casting director and producer, and I started doing some of the voices myself during casting sessions when I had a two character spot and one of the guys didn’t show up. So I would read with one of the women that were waiting to read with a partner and the clients would end up picking me after hearing the tape. So it started to make sense to me that maybe using my voice as a voice actor would allow me the anonymity to continue pursing my music career and be taken seriously as a musician, while still using the same instrument I use a singer to make a living as an actor. So I kind of stumbled into the entertainment world especially with the voice acting side.
Celinda: Wow that’s a really interesting story, so you basically began on the other side of the acting industry.
Eric: Right, I think we learn a lot by watching. I also used to play tennis and I was a good tennis player. I would find my tennis rating and it would be pretty good. But I could watch somebody’s form and explain to them what they were doing wrong, and make them a better tennis player than I was. There rating would be even higher than mine. What I mean is I think you learn a lot from listening and watching, which made it easier for me when I stood behind the mic, because I knew what it took to produce and assemble the commercials.
Celinda: So, what’s one thing you wish you had known about the entertainment industry, whether it be acting, music, or both, before entering it?
Eric: The biggest lesson I learned later, which could have been helpful earlier, is that the decision making really isn’t personal. You may do an audition and really feel like you nailed it, and then you don’t get the job. Of course, in film, there’s a lot of speculation about how the bigger films select their cast. Some people believe that there are auditions, whilst others assume it’s a word of mouth process. Due to this, a lot of people ask themselves is backstage a scam or is it worth trying to make some connections within the film industry? Of course, making some connections with people in the industry is always beneficial. However, there are still auditions that may have to be done. When auditioning, being able to not take it so seriously and put that pressure on yourself every time you get up to bat for a job is something that I wish I had known going in because it would have saved me a little bit of that disappointment and frustration.
Celinda: That’s a really interesting answer I’ve never gotten that one before, but I think that’s really true. You’ve done a lot of voice over roles in both anime and western cartoons, which role was the most memorable to you and why?
Eric: Well Brock and James from Pokémon are very much apart of my personality. I was playing a show at a venue and the person running the event told me about an hour after meeting me “You probably hear this a lot, but I’m a huge fan of yours I actually grew up watching you”, and I said “No, I’m very flattered”, because it’s kind of an honor to be apart of a pop culture phenomenon that kids who are 6 years old, and grandparents who are 60 years old know the word Pokémon. To be part of a show like that is a big deal and I’m honored to be apart of that. So Brock and James stand out because I like comedy, specifically comedic bad guys. James to me is so much fun to play because Team Rocket is not truly evil just a little misguided, and we still root for them even though we know their the “bad guys”. I also have to say that Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh is one of my favorites because there’s a big challenge in playing a character that many people dislike but he is also not really a villain, he’s a rival. I approached that idea with you can’t be the champ if there’s no one around to push you to be the best you can be. So without Kaiba, Yugi would just sit around and probably watch movies on Netflix.
Celinda: Very true, those characters are some of my favorites as well and definitely hold a special place in the hearts of fan everywhere.
Eric: I think that one of the reasons why Pokémon caught on so well is that there are characters, stories, friendships, and morals that people can relate to. Recently, a friend of mine who knows How to get pokemon Platinum ROM so he can play on his computer was talking to me about the game and how the world of Pokémon is such a good escape from the troubles of modern life. More often than not people tell me “When I was in school I didn’t have any friends, and I’d come home or watch on Saturday morning and I felt like those were my friends”. It’s because these were people that everyone could connect to whether you liked Ash, Brock, or James, there was someone redeeming on the show. With Team Rocket you also see the relationship and friendship that they have with each other, and how they protect each other so that’s very redeeming as well.
Celinda: Elaborating on the legacy of both ‘Pokemon’ and ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ among their respective fans, what is it like knowing that the characters that you helped create on these shows are still so popular so many years later, and how do you feel about Kaiba’s prominent role in the new ‘Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions’ movie?
Eric: Well I gotta say that I was very excited when I saw the Japanese promo, and of course the minute that came out, a lot of my fans wrote to me and asked if I would be in it. I would love to be in it, we don’t know nay of the details yet, that’s something that we have to wait for everyone on the production side to decide what their doing. I would love to come back and play Kaiba. I’ve made appearances at the Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments around the country as Kaiba, so I know Konami considers me Seto Kaiba but there are no guarantees. Hopefully I get the opportunity to play that role and if they go another way I’ll be disappointed, but that’s part of the letting go thing. It’s exciting to know that that story arc is the most popular among the Yu-Gi-Oh fans, so its’ nice to see that the creators and the people who are behind all of this recognize that as well. It will be interesting too, because it seems like the characters are a little bit older, so it would be great to do that.
Celinda: Yes, and Kaiba was definitely another non-villainous villain that was interesting because his backstory was so complex.
Eric: There’s definitely two schools of thought with Kaiba. I have fans who love to hate him, and I have fans who want to be just like him. I think when you dig deeper into his story you see where he’s coming from. Also I think when you see the Egyptian story arc and you realize that Kaiba was really Yugi’s sparring partner, that also shows that he’s there to push Yugi to be the best. I use the Rocky and Apollo Creed reference from the Rocky movies, because he needed someone like Apollo to push him, but also to be his friend. I think Yugi and Kaiba have a mutual respect for each other, I wouldn’t call then best friends, but I think that if they had a common enemy they would work together, as they’ve done. I think Yugi is a lot more of a pure hearted character than Kaiba is, but I think that Kaiba would still throw himself in front of the train tracks to save Yugi, unless he had to save Mokuba instead.
Celinda: So moving on I know that on shows such as a Pokemon and Yugioh you not only did voice over work, but you also directed, what was that process like for you?
Eric: It’s funny because it’s great to get the notoriety and the fun of acting as he characters, but what’s really very satisfying is when you’re the director you’re basically the cook, you’re baking the cake, you’re putting each piece together and creating the show. It was also a way for me to become friendly with the other actors on the show. Most of the time we recorded by ourselves so one person would walk in the room while the other was leaving, but I got to direct them so I got to spend hours and hours with them, and develop those friendships. It’s interesting the production side has always been satisfying for me, I like to be in the spotlight obviously I’m a performer and I enjoy that, but it’s also great to be able to take these pieces and turn them into hopefully a masterpiece. Another show that I directed that I’m very proud of was ‘Viva Pinata’ which was a very funny show. Unlike ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ and Pokémon where we had to match existing animation and match lip flap which requires 50% acting and 50% technical skills, ‘Viva Pinata’ is a pre-lay show which means that we record the voices first, and then I would assemble the passing of the dialogue line by line and then send that to the animators to animate, so I was really creating the timing of the jokes. So that was really very satisfying. There’s a lot of fun to being on that side of the glass which a lot of people don’t really know unless you’ve been in production. Because you don’t know what goes into the making of these shows sometimes, so it can be very satisfying seeing it on air or on the big screen knowing the hours and days you put into creating that show.
Celinda: It sounds like such a meticulous process, but the effort definitely shines through. I really love the musical numbers that you did for Pokémon as Team Rocket and Brock, ‘Two Perfect Girls’ from the ‘Totally Pokémon’ soundtrack has always been a personal favorite of mine. How does singing on a soundtrack as these characters differ from performing your own music in terms of difficulty?
Eric: Well one of the things that I had to make sure, especially with ‘Two Perfect Girls’ was that I couldn’t sing to well. I couldn’t be this great singer and then be the funny Brock on the show. I had to really focus on being a little bit pitchy, and quirky and funny rather than singing every note right. Whereas when I did ‘Double Trouble’ [which is off of the ‘Pokémon: 2 B.A. Master’ soundtrack] with James I wanted to be a better singer because I thought there’s something in James’s voice that made me think that he could be a better singer. The hardest thing about singing in the episodes is that we would rescore a lot of the music so when we would write a song sometime the lip flap wouldn’t move in time with the music so I had to sing slightly out of rhythm with that song. That was really hard to do because I play I’m rhythmic, I almost had to keep the music really low in my headphones so I wouldn’t lock in.
Celinda: So switching gears, lets discuss your own music, which artists have influenced your sound the most?
Eric: When I was a young man my mother gave me a radio that only got a local AM station that played oldies, so I grew up going to sleep listening to the oldies like Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and The Everly Brothers while my friends were listening to more mainstream Rock n’ Roll. So when I started to sing, I could sing like Buddy Holly so he was a huge influence in the beginning. As I got a little older so many people were comparing me to Cat Stevens, and once I started playing with a band it was the whole Bruce Springsteen thing, I sang along with people I could sound like, so I think my list goes Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Cat Stevens, and then Bruce Springsteen.
Celinda: I can definitely hear those influences in your music, so are there any artists who have influenced your music that may surprise your fans?
Eric: Yeah, I’m a songwriter so I listen to a lot of music just based off of the song, which can be in any style of music. I’m primarily drawn to a good lyric I listen to a lot of more folk rock guys, but people like Elvis Costello are a huge influence for me in terms of songwriting, as a lyricist I just think he’s a genius. It’s funny a fan asked me the other day what my favorite Rock n’ Roll band is and they were surprised to when I said AC/DC, I probably play AC/DC more than any band when I’m getting psyched up. Which is surprising because they say, “I don’t hear any AC/DC in hat you do”, and I say “Of course not, but that doesn’t meant that they can’t be a favorite band of mine”. I also like beautiful melodic instrumental stuff, to sort of clear my brain. Sometimes you want to out on music that has nothing to do with what you do so that you’re not analyzing it, you’re just enjoying it. My playlists would surprise you because I like old disco stuff too, and old R&B and old Hip-Hop because I like to dance even though I don’t play that stuff.
Celinda: So, I’ve really enjoyed your latest EP Character, honestly I’ve had it on repeat for the longest time, what inspired the EP’s name?
Eric: Well the art was the reason. I went to a convention and one of the staff members had drawn individual badges for all of the VIP guests as caricatures of the actors, and I really liked the style of the picture. As we were putting the EP together I was thinking I play characters, I am a character, and your character is your honor, so I thought that this word means so many things, it kind of fits with who I am.
Celinda: So what was your songwriting process like for ‘Character’?
Eric: Well we had been playing the song ‘One Last Dance’, which was something that I really liked but wasn’t on any album yet, and the fans kept asking when I was going to record that one. So the idea was to go into the studio and record a single, but of course when you do that and put that much pressure on one song, you might go in and the magic might not be there. So I thought let’s go in and do four songs so if it comes out great, then it comes out great, if not maybe the other songs are better. So with that I decided to sit down and start writing so that I really liked the four songs that we were going to do. The way that I write songs is I sit down with the guitar and come up with a chord progression and I sign nonsense words and find melodies. I know that everyone is different and different things work for different people, but when people ask me how to write songs I always recommend this method. Visit somewhere like The Sound Junky, buy yourself a guitar (or any instrument for that matter) that you will love and just start to play it. Enjoy it. The rest will come. Sometimes, words form in what I’m singing just by the shapes of the vowels and continuants and the syncopation. Also, I write what I know whether everything is autobiographical or not, I think why people gravitate towards what I do is because I sing about stuff from the heart that I’ve either experienced or witnessed.
Celinda: Wow that’s such an interesting process, so what effect has living in cities with such famous yet unique music scenes such as New York and Nashville had on your music?
Eric: Well when I lived in New York and I played around town I was sort of two Country for a lot of the rock clubs, which is funny to me because I’m so not Country. When I would come down to Nashville before I moved here, I was told that I was too Rock for the Country places, so I sort of fell in between these two cities. I will say that in New York my songs were longer, then when I came down to Nashville, I realized that the songs were shorter and followed more of a formula. So what was great is that I took the stuff from the Rock n’ Roll stuff I had been doing, and the stuff form the Country stuff I started doing, and found a happy medium. If anything coming to Nashville ahs helped me tighten up my songwriting to be able to say more with less, and in New York I got away with saying more with more.
Celinda: Lastly are there any upcoming projects that your fans should look out for?
Eric: Well I’ve been doing a lot of audio books, if you go to audible.com I mostly work for one particular writer named J.R. Rain, who’s got a great sense of humor, thriller, horror, sarcasm thing going on in most of the books he writes. I just finished up a book that I’m editing right now which is called ‘Ghost Crypt’, which is part of a series that he does, it’s a ghost story that takes place in the tubes of London which is fun. I do a lot of industrial and corporate stuff, I’m also doing a lot of international promos for American sitcoms that air in India. There might be some cartoon stuff coming down the line so people should definitely keep their eyes open for that. As I said there are things that I can’t really discuss whether their going to happen or not, but I would keep my eyes watching some of the stuff that you might be hoping to see me in.
Celinda: Is there anything that you would like to say to any of your fans who are reading this interview?
Eric: My anime fans have been very loyal to everything that I’ve done in the voice-over world which is great, and they’ve actually crossed over to be music fans, which is also great. The thing that I want to say to them is thank you for the support, and those who haven’t really experienced the other side of who I am with the music, I ask them to go check that out.
Celinda: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today Eric.
Eric: Thank you for asking me.
*You can check out The Eric Stuart Band’s music video for their song ‘My Love Can Change That’ here:
All photos and information used in this blog belong to Eric Stuart, Eric Stuart Band, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, One Piece, Slayers, Viva Pinata, Satoshi Tajiri, Ken Sugimori, Game Freak, Koch Records, John Loeffler, Rachael Lillis, Adam Blaustein, Ted Lewis, Louis Cortelezzi, Bob Mayo, Pokemon 2.B.A Master, Totally Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh! Kazuki Takahashi, Shueisha Inc., Viz Media, Hiroyuki Toshiki Inoue, BMF, Toei Animation, 4Kids Entertainment, 4K Media Inc., Takashi Watanabe, Takao Koyama, E.G Films, J.C. Staff Co., Ltd., Funimation, TV Tokyo, Konosuke Uda, Junji Shimizu, Muehisa Sakai, Hiroaki Miyamoto, Toshinori Fukazawa, Junki Takegami, Hirohiko Uesaka, Toei Animation, FOX, Rare, Krome Studios, Climax Group, THQ, Microsoft Game Studios, Netflix, Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions, Studio Gallop, Nihon Ad Systems, Satoshi Kuwabara, Konami, Rocky, Apollo Creed, Sylvester Stallone, John G. Avildsen, Irwin Winkler, Robert Chartoff, United Artists, Carl Weathers, Cat Stevens, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers, AC/DC, Deram Records, Island Records, A&M Records, Mountain of Light, Jamal , YA, Atlantic Records, Legacy Recordings, Columbia Records, Sun Records, RCA (Victor) Records, HMV, Decca Records, Brunswick Records, Coral Records, Cadence Records, London Records, Warner Bros. Records, Razor & Tie, Mercury Records, Albert Productions, EMInR cords, Columbia Records, Epic Records, Atlantic Records, Atco Records, Elektra Records, East West Records, Audible, J.R. Rain, Ghost Crypt, Nasville, New York, One Last Dance, Character, London, India, ericstuart.com, YouTube, Twitter, Favebook, iTunes, and all other original owners. I do not own anything in this blog. If any people, corporations, businesses, companies, etc, were not previously given credit for their work, they are given credit now and their previous absence was unintentional. All opinions expressed in this blog are my own. I wrote this blog for entertainment purposes and no copyright infringement is intended.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to countdown the 5 top Christmas songs of 2014. Last year when we did this list, it had different versions of classic Christmas songs from many different decades. This year I thought that we’d do something a little different and only talk about Christmas songs from this year. This list is a really fun mix of classic and new Christmas songs that I know you all will love! So get ready to ask Santa for some ITunes cards this year, because these completely addicting songs will be on your playlists well into June.
5) Sabrina Carpenter ‘Silver Nights’:
Once I heard this song I just had to add it to the list, because it has a very chill, romantic vibe that’s perfect for listening to by the fire with that special someone (or while stalking your favorite celebrities’ twitter wishing they were that special someone…don’t worry it’ll be our little secret). I also wanted to add this song; because Sabrina Carpenter is definitely someone I would watch in 2015. With an AMAZING debut on the music scene with her EP ‘Can’t Blame A Girl For Trying’ (which has a song written by the equally AMAZING Meghan Trainor), and a lead role on Disney Channel’s newest breakout hit ‘Girl Meets World’, it’s safe to say that Sabrina is well on her way to a long career…not bad for a 15 year old (doesn’t she make you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything in life…same here).
4) Idina Menzel ‘Holly Jolly Christmas’:
I was so excited to write about the song because I think that we can all agree that Idina Menzel is AMAZING! Whether you became a fan of hers through her work in various Broadway musicals, her role on the show ‘Glee’, or her latest hit leading role in Disney’s ‘Frozen’, you gotta admit that once you hear her voice you just can’t run away. I wish that I could just talk about her entire Christmas album, but then I would have y’all here until next Christmas. So instead I decided to talk to y’all about a song that we all know but I think gets pushed to the background a little. Whether you’ve heard this song on the radio or in a movie (gotta love those old animated Christmas movies), EVERYONE has heard ‘Holly Jolly Christmas’. I honestly love how upbeat and fun this song is, because it puts you in the Christmas spirit and makes everything you do feel fun. This is definitely a classic that you should put on repeat this Christmas season!
3) Meghan Trainor ‘I’ll Be Home’:
Now here is a singer/songwriter who has made her presence known this year. With her hits ‘All About That Bass’ & ‘Lips Are Moving’, Meghan just keeps amazing us. She brings that same talent to her original song ‘I’ll Be Home’, which is soon to become a Christmas Classic. This is another feel good song for all of you romantics out there! Perfect to listen to while you’re drinking hot cocoa or your favorite hot winter drink.
2) Ariana Grande ‘Santa Tell Me’:
We don’t even really need to discuss why Ariana HAS to be on this countdown. I mean she is honestly the biggest breakout star of 2014 (which we predicted and you can see the blog post for here: Monday Memos: Artist Spotlight Ariana Grande | celindareyesblog). After numerous consecutive hits, it only makes sense that the girl with the Midius touch releases a Christmas song that we LOVE! I like that this song is romantic (because honesty who doesn’t love a little Christmas romance, but it’s about asking Santa to not let this Christmas love go to waste (sorta like a prequel to ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham!). I like that the concept is different than your typical Christmas song, and it’s a fun one to sing-along too. You should definitely add it to your winter playlists!
1) Pentatonix ‘Carol of the Bells’:
I feel like I could write 10 pages about this INCREDIBLE group and it wouldn’t be enough, so I’m going to give y’all the short version. Honestly I think all A Capella groups are amazing because how awesome and talented do you have to be in order to make performing without any instrumental backing. It’s honestly mind-blowing so because of this, I felt we had to give them the #1 spot. I am also a huge fan of this song because it’s so beautiful, but it’s also equally difficult to perform, so I feel we have to give them a lot of credit for their flawless rendition.
All photos and information used in this blog belong to Sabrina Carpenter, Hollywood Records, Idina Menzel, Glee, Fox, Ryan Murphy, Decca Records, Johnny Marks, Meghan Trainor, Epic Records, John Alagia, Chris “Flict” Apparri, Sergio Aranda, Claudia Brant, Jon Brion, Dernst “D’Mile” Emile II, Kevin Kadish, Chris Kuffner, L.A.. Reid, Meghan Trainor, Ariana Grande, Republic Records, Savan Kotecha, IIya Salmanzadeh, Pentatonix, Mykola Leontovych, Peter J. Wilhousky, holidaystime.org, and all other original owners. I do not own anything in this blog. If any people, corporations, businesses, companies, etc, were not previously given credit for their work, they are given credit now and their previous absence was unintentional. All opinions expressed in this blog are my own. I wrote this blog for entertainment purposes and no copyright infringement is intended.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to talk about last week’s 2014 CMAs (Country Music Awards). This year’s show was once again co hosted by country music superstars Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, and featured really cool musical performances. Once again, Carrie and Brad were able to use their combination of witty banter, musical talents, and comic timing to poke fun at some of this year’s most highly profiled current events. They also performed a very funny song about George Strait not being at the show this year, and then later when they “discover” that he is at the show, they make comments about why he hasn’t gone anywhere (which is a joke about the tour that George Strait just completed, which was called ‘The Cowboy Rides Away’). The hosts opening monologue was definitely a fun way to kick off such an exciting, high energy show. So now let’s move on to the awards and musical performances!
Single of the Year:
‘Automatic’ by Miranda Lambert
Now if you were listening to country radio this year, you definitely heard this song (this single even reached #3 on the Billboard US Country AirPlay chart). Of course no one should be surprised at this win, because Miranda co-wrote the song and we all know that right now Miranda Lambert truly has the Midas touch. Song of The Year:
‘Follow Your Arrow’ by Kacey Musgraves
This is another song that you’ve definitely heard all year long. This song was certainly a big hit as the 3rd single off of Kacey’s debut big label album, and its success is definitely evidence that we haven’t heard the last of this rising star. New Artist of The Year:
Brett Eldredge first made his impact on the country music scene in 2012 when his single ‘Don’t Ya’ (which was certified Platinum in the U.S.) was released to country music radio and reached #1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. This single was followed up with the similarity successful single ‘Beat of The Music’ (was certified Gold in the U.S.) in 2013. With such a strong show on his debut album, it’s not a surprise that Brett won this honor.
Vocal Duo of The Year:
Florida Georgia Line
Ok everyone who was surprised by this please raise your hands. Let me guess, there are no hands raised right? Yeah, if you’ve listened to the radio AT ALL this past year (country and pop radio), then you’ve heard of the country power duo Florida Georgia Line. These rising stars have also had cross-over remixes of two of their hit singles (Cruise & This Is How We Roll) with features from r&b/pop/rap stars Nelly and Jason Derulo. With their iron grip on both country and pop radio, I foresee 2015 to be an even BIGGER year for Florida Georgia line.
Album of The Year:
‘Platinum’ by Miranda Lambert
Midas strikes again! With her success from the singles ‘Automatic’ & ‘Somethin’ Bad’ (which features fellow superstar Carrie Underwood, and has been certified Gold, as well as peaking at #1 on the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Songs), this was definitely a hard album to beat.
Vocal Group of The Year:
Little Big Town
With a new album which made its’ debut at #3 on the Billboard U.S. Top Country Albums, and a lead single (entitled ‘Day Drinkin’), which peaked at #4 on the Billboard U.S. Country Airplay, this was certainly Little Big Town’s year to win this top honor.
Irving Waugh Award of Excellence:
With highly successful careers as the front man of the country rock band ‘Pure Prairie League’ and as a solo artist, Vince Gill is the definition of a country music icon. As a solo artist, Vince Gill has won every country music award (multiple times), has won 20 Grammy awards, was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (in 2005), and was awarded with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2012). Honestly I could sit here and list all of Vince Gill’s INCREDIBLE accomplishments but that would take pages and pages. To make a long story short, if you listen to any one of Vince Gill’s records, you will definitely see why he deserves this award.
Male Vocalist of The Year:
This year Blake has certainly used his voice to prove why he deserves this top honor. This year, Blake released his latest album ‘Bringing back the Sunshine’, which peaked at #1 on the Billboard U.S. 200 chart(which counts albums of all genres) & #1 on the Billboard U.S. Top Country Albums chart. The album also produced a single that peaked at #3 on the U.S. Country chart.
Female Vocalist of The Year:
Midas is here y’all…Midas is here! I don’t think I need to tell y’all why Miranda deserves this award, but in case you forget…listen to her latest album ‘Platinum’, and you’ll remember why she is so awesome.
Entertainer of The Year:
Well now we’ve reached the final award, and although the competition was extremely fierce, it is clear why Luke Bryan walked away with this award. His 2013 album ‘Crash My Party’ was SUCH a huge album for the country music superstar that it peaked at #1 on both the Billboard U.S. 200 & Top Country Albums, as well as producing 3 consecutive #1 singles, and two more singles that peaked at #2 and #5 respectively. If these statistics don’t convince you that Luke Bryan IS the country music entertainer of the year, then take a listen to his album ‘Crash My Party’ and you’ll see how his ability to entertain translates through the album so effortlessly.
Kenny Chesney kicked off the show with his performance of his 1st single ‘American Kids’ off of his latest album ‘The Big Revival’. The number consisted of a very hippie/bohemian theme, complete with fun multicolored lights, and a multicolored bus in the background, complete with an American flag. Kenny’s dancers were also dressed to match the theme, and made the audience feel as if they were invited to an awesome party.
Miranda Lambert & Meghan Trainor:
Next up we had a fun performance by two of music’s sassiest performers Miranda Lambert & Meghan Trainor! They performed a fun and unique performance of Meghan’s hit ‘All About That Bass’. The backdrop of the stage flashed the word ‘Bass’ in different colors throughout the number, and Miranda and Meghan both let their sassiness fly and because of this ha the audience hanging on their every word.
Lady Antebellum stepped up next with their infectious hit single ‘Bartender’. The performance was even more fun to watch with the addition of white, blue, purple, and red lights that kept the “party vibe” of the show going. There were also A LOT of small lights that went all around the stage, that made the stage look as if it were surrounded by stars, and this added the perfect finishing touch to a great performance.
Florida Georgia Line:
Next up we had an AMAZING performance of Florida Georgia Line’s single ‘Dirt’. Usually Florida Georgia Line tends to move around a lot during big award show performances, so I thought that it was a really cool change of pace to see them both sitting down and accompanying themselves on guitar. This performance also showed that these talented guys are able to not only draw in an audience through their stage presence, but simply through their musical skills. The backboard of the stage had cool revolving images of houses, roads, and fences in yellow and orange colors that made the images look as if they would explode at any second.
Keith Urban was next with his performance of his hit single ‘Somewhere In My Car’. The staging was cool with strobe lights that flashed all over the stage, but as always; it was Keith’s voice and unnatural guitar skills that stole the show. It honestly would not be a Keith Urban show without an EPIC guitar solo and he certainly did not fail.
The Band Perry:
The Band Perry was up next, with their performance of ‘Gentle In My Mind’, in honor of the great Glen Campbell. I really loved that the staging for this song was very simple, so the attention of the performance was on the song itself. The Band Perry added their own twist to the hit by changing the arrangement slightly, which brought a fresh vibe to the classic tune.
Kacey Musgraves & Loretta Lynn:
One of country music’s newest rising star Kacey Musgraves, performed the hit ‘You’re Lookin at Country’ with the iconic Loretta Lynn (who made the song famous in 1971). The backdrop of the stage has a very classic country look with a barn that said ‘Grand Old Opry’ on it. This was a really awesome performance that brought together the worlds of classic and modern country into a performance that was one of the standout numbers of the night.
Jason Aldean rocked the stage next with a performance of his single ‘Burning It Down’. The performance had a very country meets rock vibe, complete with cool red and white lights, and lots of energy that just made you want to get up and dance.
Little Big Town & Ariana Grande:
Next we had another “mash of the genres”, when Little Big Town performed with special guest Ariana Grande. First Little Big Town came onstage to perform their latest hit ‘Daydrinkin’. This had to be my favorite performance of the night because of all of the cool visual aspects of the number. The board consisted of two levels of drummers with black suits that had red lights. You could really only see the red lights, so this made the drummers look EXTREMELY cool (I honestly can’t even express just how cool this looked)! Little Big Town had similar outfits on, which added such a cool futuristic feel to their performance that said it apart from the all of the other performances. As always their vocals were VERY on point and near perfect (which is HARD to do in a group). Once ‘Daydrinkin’ was over, the lights instantly switched from red to blue, and Ariana Grande came out to sing a snippet of her hit collaboration ‘Bang Bang’. Little Big Town joined her, and in doing so added a fun country meets r&b flair to the song that was very cool.
Tim McGraw was up next with his song ‘Shotgun Rider’, which brought the classic Tim McGraw vine that fans have grown to love. The staging was very simple with cool blue lights circling the stage, and the confidence and energy that are now a Tim McGraw staple.
Cole Swindell: Cole Swindell performed a snippet of his song ‘Chillin It’, before announcing the winners of the award for ‘Radio Stations of The Year’. Even though Cole only performed a snippet of his song, he was still able to command the stage and grab the crowd in such a way that makes me very excited to see what his future holds.
Dierks Bentley was up next with his party anthem single ‘Drunk on A Plane’. The backboard of the stage had a picture of a plane on a runway, and alternating names of “destination sites”. This performance definitely kept the show’s energy up, and made the show feel less like an award show, and more like an epic concert.
Co-host Brad Paisley performed next with his latest hit ‘Perfect Storm’. The number had an AWESOME Brad Paisley style guitar solo (which the crowd went wild for), and an energy and likability that showed why Brad’s career is steadily on the rise with no sign of slowing down.
Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe:
Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe were up next with their emotional duet ‘Lonely Tonight’, which had the crowd captivated from the first note, to the last. The staging for this number was very simple and stripped down, which perfectly brought out the intimate feel of the song, and really made you feel every word.
Co-host Carrie Underwood performed her latest hit ‘Something In The Water’. The backboard had REALLY cool blue lights that floated around and made it look like there was a giant waterfall behind Carrie, that later changed to multicolored lights. Later in the performance a choir of people walked on to accompany Carrie, and added a cool twist to the performance that matched the song perfectly. As always, Carrie’s show-stopping vocals took center stage during this number, and perform that she still has a HUGE presence in country music (BRAVO CARRIE UNDERWOOD!!!).
Next up we had the Entertainer of The Year himself, Mr. Luke Bryan. He performed his newest hit ‘Rollercoaster’, and had very simple staging. The backboard was grey with clouds and occasional thunder. Luke allowed his natural charisma to take center stage, and the crowd completely loved it (and they were even singing back to him at one part of the song).
Miranda Lambert & Little Big Town:
Miranda Lambert & Little Big Town took the stage once more to perform their duet ‘Smokin and Drinkin’ (off of Miranda’s latest album). The staging consisted of a lot of cool smoke and lights, which helped add a cool vibe to the performer that perfectly matched the chilled vibe of the song, Miranda & Little Big Town’s vocals went together perfectly, and made it clear that these two acts NEED to release more tracks together.
George Strait & Eric Church:
King George Strait returned to the CMA stage once more with his performance of his 2003 hit ‘Cowboys Like Us’. The backdrop had a lot of cool pictures of George Strait throughout his career, and added a very classic country feel to the performance. Eric Church added a little rock to George Strait’s classic country vibe, and brought another great example of what happens when modern and classic country merge.
Thomas Rhett performed a snippet of his hit song ‘Get Me Some of That’, while he announced the winners of the CMA ‘Personalities of The Year’ awards. Although his performer was short, Thomas certainly held his audience’s attention the entire time, and showed why he is a rising star to watch.
The Doobie Brothers, Jennifer Nettles, Hillary Scott, & Hunter Hayes:
The Doobie Brothers, Jennifer Nettles, Hillary Scott, & Hunter Hayes were up next with their performance of The Doobie Brothers hit ‘Listen To The Music’. The high energy performance was EXTREMELY fun to watch, and brought musicians from the whole spectrum of country music, to bring a fresh sound to this awesome song. The Doobie Brothers, Jennifer Nettles, and Hillary Scott killed their vocal performances, and Hunter Hayes had an AMAZING guitar solo that the crowd went crazy for. What I loved most about this performance was the fact that it felt less like a calculated award show performance, and more like a bunch of musicians jamming out.
The Doobie Brothers closed the show with their song ‘Takin it To The Streets’, (with some help from Jennifer Nettles, Hillary Scott, Hunter Hayes, & Brad Paisley). The number included an AWESOME keyboard solo, and had a very old school feel and energy that made the performance feel like an AMAZING concert.
All photos and information used in this blog belong to the CMAs, The city of Nashville, The State of Tennessee, Miranda Lambert, RCA Nashville, Nicolle Galyon, Natalie Hemby, Mercury Nashville, Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, Brett Eldredge, Atlantic Nashville, Florida Georgia Line, Big Loud Mountain, Republic Nashville, Frank Liddell, Chuck Ainlay, Glenn Worf, Little Big Town, Capitol Records Nashville, Vince Gill, RCA, MCA, MCA Nashville, Blake Shelton, Giant Records, Warner Bros. Nashville, Reprise Nashville, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Blue Chair, Columbia Nashville, Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally, Epic Records, Kevin Kadish, Meghan Trainor, Lady Antebellum, Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hilary Scott, Rodney Clawson, Rodney Clawson, Chris Tompkins, Keith Urban, J.T. Harding, the Band Perry, Republic Nashville, Glen Campbell, Capitol Records, John Hartford, Loretta Lynn, Decca Records, Broken Bow Records, Rodney Clawson, Chris Tompkins, Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley, Little Big Town, Ariana Grande, Karen Fairchild, Jimi Westbrook, Phillip Sweet, Troy Verges, Barry Dean, Jessie J, Nicki Minaj, Lava Records, Universal Music Group, Max Martin, Onika Maraj, Savan Kotecha, Rickard Göransson, Big Machine, Marv Green, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges, Cole Swindell, Shane Minor, Dierks Bentley, Josh Kear, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, Artista Nashville, Lee Thomas Miller, Ashley Monroe, Brent Anderson, Ryan Hurd, Republic Records, Universal Republic, Island Records, Gut Records, Disturbing London, Young Money Records, Cash Money Records, Republic Records, Carrie Underwood, Artista Nashville, 19 Entertainment, Chris DeStefano, Brett James, Michael Carter, Hemby, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally, George Strait, MCA Nashville, Anthony Smith, Bob DiPiero, Eric Church, EMI Nashville, Thomas Rhett, Valory Music Group, Rhett Akins, Michel Carter, Hillary Scott, Hunter Hayes, Atlantic Records, Jennifer Nettles, The Doobie Brothers, Warner Bros. Records, Michael McDonald, cmaworld.com,Tom Johnson, all other original owners. I do not own anything in this blog. If any people, corporations, businesses, companies, etc, were not previously given credit for their work, they are given credit now and their previous absence was unintentional. All opinions expressed in this blog are my own. I wrote this blog for entertainment purposes and no copyright infringement is intended.