Eric Church: ‘I Don’t Like Everybody’
Eric Church has carved out a successful, chart-topping career by singing attention-grabbing songs like 'Drink in My Hand' and 'Smoke a Little Smoke.' But while the singer-songwriter has earned a spot as one of the bona fide superstars in country music of this generation, the North Carolina native says he isn't trying to win any popularity contests.
"I'm not gonna lie to you," he concedes to Spin magazine. "Maybe more than anybody -- and it's not popular in country music -- I don't like everybody. I think that's normal. I think that's real. I'd challenge anybody to go, not only to any industry, but go to any family, or go anywhere, and tell me if you like everybody."
Church made a small but powerful impact with his debut album, 'Sinners Like Me' in 2006, which spawned three Top 20 singles, including the controversial 'Two Pink Lines,' about teen pregnancy. The tunesmith knew he was taking a risk with his career by not trying to cater to the music-buying population back then, but he insists he has no regrets.
"When I first came out, everybody was marketing to the soccer mom, the 40- to 50-year-old area," he explains. "I had nothin' for 'em. I'm not a soccer mom, my mom's not a soccer mom, my wife's not a soccer mom -- I had nothin'. So we focused on the males. And that was before they really came back to country music."
The married father of one is still working on making music he likes, without regard to what might be the biggest commercial success.
"I'm 36," he adds. "I'm not 25, and I don't want to be 25. I know there's kids out there right now who are 25, and they're doing great. I still don't want to be them. I want to be this, and I think there's a market out there for this. I can still kick their ass, the kids -- I guarantee -- but I want to be honest about where we are."
Church watched his popularity surge with his platinum-selling 2011 record, 'Chief.' Suddenly a household name, he admits being the artist everyone wanted to emulate made him more than a little uncomfortable.
"We got pulled in a lot," he acknowledges. "I felt when we made 'Chief,' we were way left of center, and all the sudden, center moved left. When that happened, yeah, that freaked me out. I don't like being there. I never, ever, ever want to be in the middle. I never want to be the standard."
Church's current album, 'The Outsiders,' debuted at No. 1 and already spawned two Top 5 singles, including the record's title track. But if anyone thinks he was trying to copy the success of 'Chief,' they couldn't be more wrong.
"With this album, I wanted to show, 'Okay, you guys can come this way all you want, but I'm goin' on out,'" he explains. "If you wanna follow, that's cool, but I'm goin' way out here on the edge, because I do better out there. I feel better out there.'"
Download 'The Outsiders' here.