He recently sat down for an interview with 60 Minutes, where he talked about growing up in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, first moving to Nashville and attending Vanderbilt to become a engineer, and of course, his incredible success in country music over the years.
Chris got his start as a songwriter, which he noted was his true dream job, and wrote hits for megastars like George Strait and Miranda Lambert.
Of course, he burst onto the scene as a solo artist back in 2015 at the CMA Awards, when he stunned the audience with a rendition of “Tennessee Whiskey,” alongside Justin Timberlake, which was later included on his Grammy-winning Traveller album.
Interviewer Sharyn Alfonsi asked him what the secret to writing a great song is, and how you know when you have a real winner on your hands, and furthermore how you can predict how well it will do on country radio.
And Chris responded saying that it’s really impossible to ever predict what song will resonate with fans until they hear it, because what speaks to people on a deep level in their soul is based on a feeling, not a statistic or spreadsheet:
“I don’t think I ever know that. The win is finishing the song.
And there are a lot of songwriters who will claim that they know, ‘Yeah, I knew when we wrote this one that it was a six-week #1 and I was gonna get a big giant check in the mail.’
I really just think those guys are full of shit. I don’t think anybody knows that. Like, you can’t possibly know how everybody’s gonna feel about a song that you write. That’s impossible to know.”
Louder for the people in the back, Chris…
And contrary to how most labels select singles to send to country radio, which is usually completely based on early streaming numbers, or computer data they collect from surveys of small groups of people, Chris thinks it’s all a bunch of bullshit.
He says he only trusts the people who listen to his music, and he gauges the success of any given single by how it speaks to their heart:
“I don’t trust computer research or phone surveys, or anything like that. You have to take it to the people.
I trust people. And I trust people who have taste.”
If only this was the real formula in country music, amirite?
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more genuine or authentic artist than Chris Stapleton.
Check out the whole interview here, he’s truly a breathe of fresh air: