Singer Chase McDaniel Strives To Be As Authentic As Can Be
Chase McDaniel knows the power of music. The country music singer-songwriter grew up listening to songs and albums that allowed him to tap into thoughts and emotions that he at a certain point in life didn’t know he could. “Music is really one of the most useful forms of communication,” he says. “With it we can say things that we couldn't say any other way.”
Music, for Chase McDaniel, has been about emotion and feeling, and can give listeners a sense of connection and belonging. He hopes to create a connection with his listeners that goes well beyond entertainment by writing songs that are honest and relatable. Instead of singing about things he's not familiar with, he draws inspiration from his own life experiences.
Hailing from humble beginnings in Greensburg, Kentucky, Chase McDaniel first found his love for music at a young age. By 12-years-old he, under the guidance of his grandfather, began finding his voice by singing in church. As he got older, the lyrics of artists such as John Mayer, Josh Turner, John Michael Montgomery, Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw were not only therapeutic, they also further inspired him to deliver songs that could resonate with people on a personal level.
Whether Chase McDaniel is addressing toxic relationships like on “Relapse” or letting it be known that beer is really better in a glass with the viral hit, “Better In A Glass,” his music speaks to the human experience in one way or another. After years of grinding and keeping it real, McDaniel is seeing his small town dreams become a reality. He’s selling out shows and has amassed hundreds of thousands of followers from TikTok to Facebook. His latest single, “Project” peaked at No. 1 on iTunes and has over 240,000 views since its release.
Here, Chase McDaniel talks with ONE37pm about being as authentic as he can be.
ONE37pm: What got you into creating music?
Chase McDaniel: The power that it had over me. It got me through the darkest times of my life when nothing else could. I think, especially in southern culture, the way we raise young men is just to be tough. I feel like in general, that's how we kind of raise young men, you know? So I bottled up a lot inside from the way I was raised. I lost my dad when I was young and music was there for me in ways when I couldn't tell anybody that I was struggling, because I didn't want to ruin my reputation with anyone. I didn't want anybody to think I wasn't a tough guy. Music spoke to me and I just became obsessed with writing and with packing a message into a song in the hopes that I could deliver to somebody else that same kind of connection.
ONE37pm: You were once in a group called 4th and Main. What was the most difficult part of transitioning into a solo artist?
CM: Insecurity. I think I always thought that I didn't have what it took to be a solo artist. Whether that be my voice wasn't good enough or I wasn't handsome enough [laughs]. It's like the list goes on with things you think you have to be like to be a country music singer. Also, I think I thought that I had to surround myself with people who were better than me to get to do what I loved. It's a constant battle, just overcoming insecurity and stepping into this artistry that I'm so passionate about.
ONE37pm: What does country music represent to you?
CM: It's just been there all of my life, so for me it represents connection. I didn't have a lot of role models growing up and my grandfather stepped in when I was around 12 years old and he’d take me out to the church and we’d practice singing. He would sit with me for hours and just listen and offer me his wisdom and his presence. It was just a way for me to connect with people who cared about me. But there were things I wished country music had and songs I wished existed that didn't for me. So I think my place in country music now is to make those songs, because there were things that I wish I could have heard at 12 or 17 or 21 that I never got the chance to. And so now, I want to write the songs that that kid needed, you know?
ONE37pm: Were you able to tap into other genres to get those things that you missed with country music?
CM: Yeah, sometimes. I listened to some hip-hop and things like that. There was definitely a variety of music. One of my first records that wasn't country was AC/DC’s Back in Black. I didn't have a shortage of music or consumption. It actually consumed my life when I was a teenager. So everything from pop and hip-hop and country to rock to soul. I think the main thing that I needed that really didn't exist in music at all back then was just a direct line to things about depression and anxiety. Those are things which have kind of affected me pretty deeply, but nobody addressed those types of things directly. Artists would talk about it in music in terms of like the shadow or the darkness, but no one just straight up said the words and I wish they did, because I didn't know those words existed. It might've helped me, you know?
ONE37pm: What was the inspiration behind “Better in a Glass”?
CM: I have a few buddies and even family members that kind of would swear by drinking beer out of a glass or a bottle. It's kind of something that we always say anyway. I was like, I don't think there's a country song about that. That would be really cool to have something just unique lyrically, that's really not been done yet, but also like a fun summer song that’s also nostalgic. My thing is that I just want to be as authentic as I can be. I didn’t want to say this and it just be a party song or just be a drinking song. I wanted to connect it to some of those things that we did growing up and relate those things to why beer tastes better in a glass. Those good memories are why we say it's better in a glass versus like if you aerate the beer and being all scientific [laughs]
ONE37pm: The “Better in a Glass” video looked like a really good time.
CM: Oh, yeah, for sure. Especially the bonfire scene and like the truck tailgate and stuff. I grew up in like the smallest town in Kentucky. So we didn't have bowling alleys. We didn't have movie theaters to go to. We had to kind of make our own fun. So we had a buddy of mine's house where we would just all pull up and make a bonfire and kind of chat. That's how we stayed in touch with each other even well after high school. Sometimes I still go back home and that’s what we do. So yeah, it was definitely more than familiar. It was part of my growing up.
ONE37pm: Are you currently working on a project?
CM: We have an EP coming out this year. It’ll have about six songs on it. But I have probably 25 songs right now and we're figuring out where everything's going to go. We want everything to be cohesive and sound like a unit.
ONE37pm: So far, what have been some of the inspirations behind the project?
CM: The tagline on all my social media is, music for your journey through the chaos. I think sonically, I like chaotic sounds in the music. Maybe that’s the AC/DC in me [laughs]. But with a lot of the songs there are guitar riffs that are going on in the background that create this vibe of chaos. There's something about that that, I love. I love what it represents. And then lyrically, I'm speaking about something, that's the opposite of chaos. I’m trying to tie the chaos together. So I think I've just taken all the experiences of my life, because it feels like I can only write from my experiences, and I'm just making this package of me. So when somebody buys my music, they're not just buying my music, they're literally buying me.
ONE37pm: You recently sold out a show in Nashville within an hour. As a kid who grew up on country music, what did that mean to you?
CM: It's shown me that this is possible. I think my biggest struggle was with insecurity and then just having the confidence that I had the ability to step into this space and say what I felt needed to be said and needed to be addressed. The fact that people are connecting with the music says that there's a need for that to be addressed. And honestly, it just makes me emotional, because I know that there is a need in our world today for somebody to step up and address some of this stuff, you know? The fact that I get the opportunity to do this just motivates me. Knowing that I’m creating music that could potentially play a role in other people's lives is what it's all about, man. Music is really one of the most useful forms of communication. With it we can say things that we couldn't say any other way. It's a powerful tool, man. And I'm just blessed to be a part of it.
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