Chris Cagle Talks Setbacks and Comebacks
Chris Cagle is one grateful guy. Having recently celebrated his latest album, ‘My Life’s Been a Country Song,’ debuting at No. 1, as well as its first single, ‘What Kinda Gone,’ making it into the Top Five, this country star has a lot to smile about. He’s back on top after both personal and professional struggles over the past few years had left him feeling at near rock bottom.
Personally, Cagle went through a very public breakup after his then-girlfriend gave birth to another man’s baby — a baby he had believed to be his own. Professionally, he was forced to take time off to recover from growths on his vocal cords, and he saw disappointing sales of his 2005 release, ‘Anywhere But Here.’ Now that his life and career have turned around for the better, Cagle couldn’t be more thankful. But he isn’t quite sure about categorizing it all as a “comeback,” as he never really went away.
“I was still doing it . . . I just didn’t have much success. I didn’t have much of a career to talk about,” Cagle told The Boot in our exclusive interview. “They can call this what they want, but they have got to call it successful. They can call it a comeback, they can call it a resurgence. It doesn’t matter. The fact is we just had an album debut at No.1.”
A celebrated songwriter, Cagle penned many of his previous Top Ten singles, including ‘What A Beautiful Day,’ ‘Chicks Dig It’ and ‘I Breathe In, I Breathe Out.’ So, many of his friends and fans were surprised to find all 11 tracks on ‘My Life’s Been a Country Song’ written by other writers. Still, Cagle describes this album as “the best one I ever made.”
“It wasn’t as hard to not record my own songs as I thought it would be. I had over 4000 songs I listened to,” he explains. Asked if he had a favorite song, Cagle immediately mentioned the final track, ‘Change Me.’ “There’s only been one other song in my life that I’ve ever heard and cried my eyes out when I heard it, and that was when Tim McGraw cut ‘One Of These Days.’ So when I heard this, I missed the whole second half because I was . . . [sniff, sniff -- imitates crying]. I was beyond being able to say, ‘Boy it’s dusty in here.’ I was dying.”
Cagle’s confidence in the album doesn’t quite translate to his everyday life. He calls himself “one of the most insecure people in the world.” But it’s that lack of confidence that just may have lead to his musical success.
“I think I became a singer because of insecurity, because you want attention and you want approval,” he admits.
Cagle also admits to making proactive changes in his personal life. When we asked him if he has any guilty pleasures, he wholeheartedly replied, “Not anymore!” But then he laughed and told us he does indulge in ice cream every now and then.
“I quit drinking. I quit smoking,” Cagle says of his newfound health kick. “I dip Skoal every once in awhile, when I get nervous . . . but today, I’ve still got the can closed.”
Though admittedly brokenhearted after another breakup, Cagle is open to finding love again. The singer was reluctant to divulge any details about his recent split on the record. In fact, when we inquired, Cagle himself reached over to turn off our tape recorder, then proceeded to openly share his emotional story . . . with our promise that we would keep that part of his personal life private. The star did speak on the record, however, about his passionate belief that he will eventually find true love.
“I have to believe in fairy tales,” he told us, once the tape started rolling again. “I live a dream. I get to go out and sing and be ‘the guy’ on stage . . . I believe there’s someone out there that’s gonna make me feel that same feeling I get when I sing. And when it happens again, I know it’s gonna change me, because I think now, through mistakes and pain and growth, I know what to do with it. I didn’t know what to do with a heart before.”
Cagle admits dating a musician isn’t always easy. But he’s not complaining.
“If we’re at dinner and it’s our 50th wedding anniversary, and some old guy walks up to us and says, ‘Are you Chris Cagle? I saw you back in 1999,’ then guess what? He’s getting an autograph. That’s just part of the gig; it’s part of the job. It’s worse than a doctor being on-call,” he says. “But if I were an average 9-to-5 guy and dating someone like Sara Evans or someone like that, I don’t think I could handle it. I really don’t. I applaud women who can.”
It looks like Cagle will have to find his next romance on the road. Thanks to the success of ‘My Life’s Been a Country Song,’ he continues to fill his calendar with tour dates, which suits him just fine. It’s a small price to pay for being back on top.