Gary Allan Wants to Be the Next Willie Nelson
Gary Allan debuted his first record, Used Heart for Sale, almost two decades ago, in September of 1996. As he approaches the 20-year mark in his country music career, the singer tells The Boot that he has his sights set on being a legend like Willie Nelson.
"You know, I've always said I just want to be here for 20 years," Allan says, "... and I did it, so now I just have to start saying 30."
Country stars who have been in the genre for decades upon decades (such as Nelson) are legends, and it's something that Allan aspires to -- at least in terms of longevity.
"I want to be the guy that you turn around and go, 'How is he still touring?'" Alan explains. "I love the road; I love to play."
Due to the amount of time that Allan has put into country music, from his debut record to 2013's Set You Free and No. 1 singles such as "Man to Man" and "Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain), he's seen the industry and its acts change a-plenty.
"With all the twists and turns of the business, it just made the biggest twist I think I've ever seen, in terms of the way it sounds," Allan reflects. "It's more poppy than ever."
Allan adds that he is a fan of the Motown sound that "works" with country, including rising star Thomas Rhett.
"I think it's got roots in it, all that Motown stuff," Alan notes. "It was going on at the same time that Nashville was getting big, and there's an honesty to it that I love -- and it fits more than the rap stuff. I'm always baffled by the rap stuff ..."
Allan's next record will be his 10th; its first single, "Hangover Tonight," was released last February. For fans who are itching to know what Allan's new project holds, he says that the Motown feel of that song is not a coincidence.
"There's two kind of like "Hangover Tonight,"" he admits. "There's a handful that remind me of the Set You Free album and then a few others.
"I've never tried to pick singles," Allan adds. "I find that when I pick a song [the label doesn't] like, the way they sell it changes, so I always try to love everything on the record."
Allan is self-producing his new disc -- and for good reason: Doing so allows him to get everything that he wants without any arguing. However, there are drawbacks to producing his albums himself.
"The only dislike I have is the amount of pressure it puts on me," Allan says. "I think, at first, it's overwhelming, but by the time I get in the middle of it, it's something I've done 100 times, so it's easy for me to do. But at first, that's my biggest fear."
See Gary Allan + More Country Stars Then and Now