INTERVIEW: Canadian Country Artist Alex Runions

Photo Credit-Dustin Veitch Photography

Hi Alex, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thank you! I’ve been great! Working on new music is always a fun, exciting and challenging time. It’s good to be doing it again.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Take It Out On Me”?

This is a song that I had been chasing for about 3 to 4 years. I had a management deal in Nashville and my manager, Leslie and I were looking for a single that would be next level.

John Ozier – the VP from Ole Publishing (now Anthem Entertainment) – sent this song to us. I immediately fell in love with it and thought that it fit exactly with my sound and writing style. Just before we went to record it, things were postponed by one the publishing companies involved. After a few years, we finally got the green light to record it and here we are! 

Did any event in particular inspire you to record this song?

The lyrics resonated with me. The song is about passion and I think a lot of people can relate to arguing with your spouse and then making up. We all go through it, every relationship is different. “Take It Out On Me” in particular is about those relationships driven by fire and passion.

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?

Originally, we were going to shoot a full-production video with this single. Due to the coronavirus, we decided to film an acoustic live-off-the-floor video in the studio where I recorded the song with my producer Bart McKay.

How was the recording process?

On this particular single, I decided to work with Bart McKay who produced my first album in 2005 (3 song EP) and then a full-length album in 2009. Bart and I maintained our friendship through the years and I am very happy to have him as a part of this one. 

There was a team of writers involved – what was it like to work with them? What did they bring up to the table?

While I didn’t work with them directly on developing this single, the achievements of the writers speak for themselves.

John Ozier – now with Reservoir Media – was the VP of ole Entertainment, which is one of the biggest publishing companies in Nashville, when he co-wrote the song. John has always been kind and made time for me every time I see him (usually at Canadian Country Music Week). Brad Tursi is the lead guitar player and one of the writers for Old Dominion, which is one of my favourite bands. The third writer, John King, is another big Nashville artist who has also written for Randy Houser.

What’s especially rewarding is that the writers spoken positively about what Bart and I were able to do with the song, so it’s a good feeling to know that the writers feel that the final song is true to their original vision.

Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than working on your own?

I used to write by myself because I hated the idea of giving up any ideas to someone else. Looking back, I realize now that this was an odd way to approach writing.

It’s great to write on your own sometimes as you can be more free to write about what you want and how you want – you’re not so structured to write within the box for radio or what have you. You can really make it your own.

Even so, what I have come to really enjoy about co-writing is that I love to have a fresh set of eyes and ears on a song I am writing. As an artist, it allows me to look at the song differently and challenge myself a bit more. From experiencing this process more and more, I have developed a love for co-writing and look forward to doing more of it in the future.

What role does Nashville play in your music?

It plays a big role!

My first experience in Nashville was for Americana Music Festival. I was showcasing there, thanks to a grant application through SaskMusic and I met some amazing people there.

Chris Burke-Gaffney is one. Chris has been a staple in the Canadian music industry managing Chantel Kreviazuk and Mackenzie Porter. He was also in two successful Winnipeg bands, The Pumps and Orphan. He and I worked together for a few years, writing songs and he took on an artist development role with me.

I have also been writing music with Steve Mitchell, who is a Canadian songwriter now living in Nashville. He was my very first co-write out there and it was an amazing experience.

Steve’s wife, Leslie Mitchell and I began working together under a management agreement. Leslie’s impact on my career has been invaluable. Through working together, we managed to get a sponsorship deal with RW&co, shot my first music video in Nashville, received funding through my hometown in Kipling, SK from McMillan’s Motor Products, signed a publishing deal with Pat Beaujot, and I won my first two SCMA awards after being nominated a number of years.

I could go on about Nashville, but one thing I do want to say is that it is a vibrant city where it is okay to be a songwriter and you can say that without hesitation. There is something about being in a city full of people chasing their dreams that is inspiring. I always leave thinking about how I can’t wait to get back to Nashville.

Does the new single mean we can expect new material – how’s that coming along?

Of course! I have a lot of songs to choose from right now, but most of my focus is on my current single. Also, there is a constant want to make your follow-up single better than the previous one.

I am waiting for just the right inspiration to strike and for the right song to come to life.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

I think that in the fall, there will be new music for everyone.

At the moment, I have a couple of titles in mind for songs that I am working on or have wrote so far.

One is about growing up and making amends with people you have wronged in the past, another one is a cool little beachy song that I wrote with some friends, and then I have a number of songs I have worked on with my friend, Doug Folkins. He and I have a large catalogue of songs and there are about 5 of them that stick out to me… as I think about it, it’s tough to pick the next one, but as an artist, that’s a good situation to find yourself in.

Any plans to hit the road?

With the pandemic still restricting many things such as travel and connecting with people face-to-face, there isn’t much in the way of hitting the road at the moment. Instead, my focus is on virtual shows for the time being.

What else is happening next in Alex Runions’ world?

Outside of new music, virtual shows, and songwriting, I’m focusing on personal things as well. My fiancée, Erin and I will continue our wedding planning, I’m continuing to work on my physical and mental health, and we’re spending quality time with our dogs Kinsey and Franklin, and our cat, Oliver – when he decides it’s time to hang out. 

LISTEN HERE

Facebook: @AlexRunionsMusic   |   Twitter: @AlexRunions   |   Instagram: @AlexRunions   |   YouTube:@AlexRunions   |   Spotify:smarturl.it/AlexRunionsSpotify

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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