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INTERVIEW: Hicks

How would you classify your music?

One foot in county and the other one in rock. I grew up listening  to  Johnny Cash, Hank, Jim Reeves… My ma’ and grandpa’ are big country music fans. So there were always music on the radio or the record player. But I also listened to Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and a lot of different melodic rock bands. I’m a sucker for great melodies but  I also love fantastic lyrics. So I guess when you listen to me you get the best of both worlds.

Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?

Brooks And Dunn. The way they mix country, soul, blues, rock and sometimes a little gospel is just off the hook.

Steve Wariner Great guitar playing great singing great song writing. What more can you ask for Van Halen (The Sammy Hagar years) They just had the whole package. Musicianship, songwriting, entertainers and I love Sammy Hagars voice.

Eric Church a modern outlaw that does it on his own terms.

Def Leppard especially when they worked with Mutt Lange. Great great melodies and hooks. Larger than life choruses.

What they all have in common are strong melodies. Like I said before I just love great melodies

What do you want fans to take from your music?

I really hope that they feel something. I strive to write music that makes you wanna dance, sing a long, cry, think, feel, drink a beer or two. Maybe forget your troubles for a while and just disappear into Hicks world and have a good time.

Tell us about your latest release?

My latest release is such a dream come through. I co-wrote this song with Steve Wariner. Yes you read it right Mr Steve Wariner the country music legend. One of my musical heroes. An artist I grew up listening to. Who have penned 14 #1 on Billboard. Won 4 Grammies.  Played with everybody in country music.

I met Steve in London we played the British CMA. The previous year I won “Best European Country Act” that was a huge honor. I went on stage just before Steve When I walked off stage he said he enjoyed the show and invited me to Nashville to write with him. I just couldn’t believe it… Pinch me… Am I dreamin’… Hello what’s goin’ on… That was just mind blowing.

So I went back to Sweden packed my bags jumped on the plane to Nashville and wrote some killer song with Steve.

And one of them is my newest single Stomp A Little Louder https://youtu.be/oldib_KV3K4

What do you love and hate about the Music Business in your opinion?

I can’t say that really I hate something. I believe when you hate something you give as much energy as when you love something. Sure there are ups and downs. But I try to focus on the things that I love. So what I love about the music business is… It never gets old to hear your song being played on the radio. That feeling when the dj announces “Everybody this Hicks with Stomp A Little Louder” LOVE IT!!! I love that we indie artist can do so much by ourselves these days. I mean you don’t need a label the same way you did a few years ago. It’s nice to have a big label with a big budget a big promo campaigns. But if you don’t , you can still get out there and get your music on iTunes and all the other digital downloads.

There are so many cool indie stations that play artists just because they think the music is good.

What I love the most is that the music business been so extremely kind to me and giving me so many nominations and awards that I almost lost count. Very proud very honored…

What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing live?

There’s so many… Gotthard (from Switzerland) at Sweden Rock Festival. They just owned the whole festival. Steve Lee their former lead singer. (Who tragically died  2010 in a motorcycle accident). Fantastic singer and front man.

Prince in Copenhagen when he just put New Power Generation together. Magic…

Chris Janson at Hardrock Café Nashville. What an entertainer…

Thin Lizzy in Lund with Gary Moore. Phil Lynott was a genius.

What I love about playing live is the energy. The energy between me and the band, between the band and the audience. That interaction is freakin’ amazing. When 20 000 thousand sings along to a song that you wrote is pretty darn cool. There’s a lot of energy rollin’ of the stage when we perform. When the crowd goes crazy, even more energy comes back to us and we give in return a lot more energy back and on and on… But it can also be cool playing a smaller venue where it feels like you connect with everyone in the audience.

How have you evolved as an artist or band over the last year?

I think my songwriting has become a lot better. I have been writing a lot more on my own. Every song has taken a bit longer to write. But that has given them a little more depth. I have been forced to dig deeper.  I never wrote ballads before now I have come up with five ballads and they’re different, deeper. I’ve always felt comfortable on stage. But now I feel even more comfortable. I’m taking my time up there and really enjoy it. I think people can tell that I’m having a good time and that’s infectious.

If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, get drunk with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?

I’m leaning more and more towards Sammy Hagar for all the above. I read his bio. And I really liked it. A few weeks ago I saw Dan Rathers Big Interview with Sammy on Youtube. To me he comes across as a very happy humble guy. Like he has his shit together, as an artist, entrepreneur, dad, husband… I love the way he thinks and operates his career. And it seems like he’s very down to earth. It’s not all about ego.  My gut feeling tells me that we would get along just fine. He’s actually on my bucket list as one of the people I wanna write with. We both love the good things in life. Good wine, great food, classy tequila. And not in excess. Everything in balance.

I think that we would write some amazing songs together. Fun and catchy as hell…

Is there a song that stands out on your latest release as your personal favorite, Why?

Right now it is Stomp A Little Louder for so many different reasons. Like I said before I got to write it with Steve Wariner.  He also plays the guitars on the track and his son Ryan plays slide guitar.  I love the message of the song. You can get what you want out of life if you just put your mind to it and work hard.

“Stomp stomp a little louder

Walk walk a little prouder

Jump jump a little higher

The only way to win

Go on and do your own thing

Fight fight a litte harder

Think think a little smarter

Stomp stomp a little louder

The only way to win

Go on and do your own thing”

What is next for you? 

Right now it’s a lot of promotion going on. Going to London next week to do a TV-show called Country Sessions. Gonna write with Erik Martensson (one of my producers) for his band Eclipse upcoming album. And there will be some more writing for other artist after that. Also writing a lot of new stuff for my own album. I really love to write songs and I write all the time.

Got a question from a Scottish promoter to do an UK tour later next summer. Going back to hometown to do I big X-mas show in December.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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