With a new single out this year, Summertime, country singer/songwriter Aaron Pritchett is still In the Driver’s Seat.
The B.C. native brings his high-energy show to Campbell River’s Paramount Music Hall on Oct. 6 to raise money for the Campbell River Head Injury Society.
The Mirror caught up with Pritchett on Monday from his hometown of Langley.
Mirror: Your most recent album, In the Driver’s Seat, was released in 2010. Are there plans for a new album?
Aaron Pritchett: I’m actually heading back to the studio Sept. 26 to start recording a bunch of new songs and then I’ll be in and out of the studio for the next six months or so to perfect those songs and record some new ones too, all in the hopes of a new album ready for late spring or early summer of next year.
M: In the Driver’s Seat spawned three singles. Why do you think people embraced that album in particular?
AP: There’s a lot of different reasons why. Mostly, the fact the songs on there are a true representation of myself and my life show. Previously, most of my songs were geared towards country radio. When In the Driver’s Seat came out I wanted it to be a reflection of what it’s like for me on stage, like Light It Up and Livin’ It Up. I wanted people to feel like they’re at one of my shows.
M:You grew up in a small town in northern B.C. How did you first break into the business?
AP: I consider myself to have grown up in Kitimat. I spent most of my years there up until my early teens. Then I moved back to Vancouver where I was originally from. The experience of living in Kitimat, that small town mentality – I did fishing, that’s where I learned to play hockey – I think that experience I had in my early years is easy to relate to. It was relatable and that shows in the country music industry.
M: Why did you choose country music?
AP: Well I think it kind of chose me. It was kind of divine intervention through my mother. She used to go out and listen to live country bands around Vancouver. She came up to me once and said ‘there’s this talent show in Langley, I entered you. You just have to tell the band which two songs you want to do and you’re entered into this talent show.’ She said ‘you have to because I paid $20.’ I didn’t want to let my mom down so I entered the competition and I won. Shortly after that I formed my band and it just snowballed from there and I became a country music singer. Plus I had really liked country music when I was a kid. After I formed my band we started to play clubs and then we did shows in Vancouver and Calgary for almost 10 years before I had any success on the radio.
M: You’ve toured with country stars like Toby Keith, Brooks and Dunn, and Alan Jackson. What did you learn from them?
AP: I think it’s all about how they approach their shows. These guys have a really great way of being involved in their live shows. When you see them behind the scenes, Toby Keith and Brooks and Dunn for example, they’re very involved with their band, they’ve very involved with their crew and it’s neat to see. The next thing would be the crowd interaction. That’s always been important to me, for the fans to feel like they’re on the stage with me and for me to feel like I’m in the crowd with them. Brooks and Dunn always did that and it was great for me to learn and cool for me to see.
M: Where do you find inspiration for your writing?
AP: I find inspiration anywhere, anyway and in anything. Even from a story a friend tells me or from what I’ve read on the Internet. What I’ve found in the last while is listening to older folks, especially older men, just to listen to them and take a quote for a song title. Believe me, if you listen to older men talking…you can find a lot of great lines just listening to people.
M: Did you have any musical idols growing up?
AP: My first musical idol was Elvis Presley and he still is now to some degree. People wonder why and I think it’s because he was a great singer, a great performer, and actor – he did almost everything. He was one of the few rare ones with charisma. He could lie on a stage just reading a letter from a young girl and he would have 40,000 people still screaming because people loved him.
M: What do you think makes you unique and sets you apart from other artists?
AP: I think ultimately we all have our own voice, our own style of country music. I think my shows set me apart. No disrespect to anyone else, but a lot of people like to go up there and just play their own music. I like to make it an event, a real spectacle. I like to give it my all from start to finish and hopefully by the end of the show I leave them wanting more.
Tickets for Pritchett’s show (which features local band Barbarossa) are $45 each and available at the Head Injury Society (9th Avenue and Dogwood), the Paramount Music Hall (Ironwood Street) and Best Buy Liquor Store in the Home Hardware mall. Tickets purchased before Oct. 1 will be entered into a draw to win a meet and greet with Pritchett after the show.