Brad Paisley Goes Back to School
Brad Paisley took a nostalgic trip down memory lane when he visited his alma mater, Nashville's Belmont University, to participate in 'The Insider's View.' Hosted by veteran Nashville TV journalist Harry Chapman, the interview series gives students a chance to learn from some of Music Row's most successful artists as they chat one-on-one with Chapman before a student audience.
"I remember Amy Grant doing a great job at one of these," Brad told The Boot backstage before joining Harry in front of the enthusiastic crowd. "She's so smart and one of the things that she told us -- the male songwriters in the audience -- [was] when you guys write songs, quit writing these songs about how you don't deserve this girl and she's so far above you and better than you. She said, 'We as women don't want to hear that. We'd like to think that maybe we are lucky that we nabbed you, so write a song like that.' I thought that was a great bit of advice.
"There were a lot of incidences like that where guys came in and gave talks to the kids and had something great to say; most of the time I was asleep though," he said with a mischievous grin, "but I do remember that one."
Brad said he hoped to offer some encouraging words to the students who were coming to see him. "One of the things that I really want to express to them is I don't have a clue right now about our business and where it's headed and neither does anybody else," he said honestly. "A couple of years ago, I could have given a speech and said, 'Here's exactly what you need to do,' but it's changed so much in 24 months that I can't really tell them what they need to do. I don't know if the traditional record-deal route is the way to go or if it's the Internet route or whatever it is. So the point that I want to make is the future of this business is sitting in this room. That's the key, whoever is going to figure this out, is probably out there [in the audience]. It's really a blank canvas unlike any other time in our business, so whoever has the best idea is going to win."
Several of Brad's inner circle also attended Belmont and he credits the university with helping creative souls find their place in the business. "My producer, Frank Rogers moved to town and had a few aspirations of singing and playing. Kelley Lovelace, [who] I write songs with, he and I cheated on all of tests here together. He moved to town to be Hank Williams Jr. He plays golf and is a complete and total dork. There's no way he was ever going to be Hank Williams Jr.," Brad says with a laugh, "but they all came to town and figured out where they fit in this business and you can do that with Belmont. You get here and figure out, 'Well, maybe I'm not going to be a recording artist, but I sure like the A&R [artists and repertoire] process' or 'I like the recording studio.' You can find a place."
Brad is getting ready to launch his H20 tour on May 21 in Virginia Beach, Va.