Charles Esten interview: Nashville star on bringing country music to the UK

8 November 2019, 08:55

By Tom Eames

Charles Esten has conquered TV, film, comedy and theatre, and he's now taken his brand of country music to the UK.

The Nashville actor has toured the UK and Europe throughout 2019, including a gig at the Royal Albert Hall, and he caught up with Smooth Country's Eamonn Kelly about his career so far and what's coming next.

Watch the full interview with Charles in the video above.

Speaking about the differences between UK and US audiences, Charles told Eamonn: "Well, audience to audience – any audience can be anything. In other words, everybody has the spectrum.

"But I’ve already found that so many of my friends in Nashville, they’re really taken to these British audiences. And I know exactly what they’re talking about. There are many different ways. For me, great audiences are one that can go the whole gamut of emotions with you. They’re with you.

"So if you take it down and you get quiet, it gets utterly silent. You can hear a pin drop. But then you take it to the other end of the spectrum, and they’re just up and down, and just making noise, and screaming and hooting and hollering. That is the gamut that you look for and you hope for.

"And I’ve been finding that all over this country, and all over this tour. The other thing we found is, there’s a level of intelligence, especially with the UK country fans. Because it’s not just the air they breathe. They’ve already had to do work to get there, and to learn these things.

"So these artists come over here, and they have all these hit singles back in the States. And yeah, they know them here too, but it’s not singles oriented as much.

"So they also know their deeper cuts. They know their lyrics. They’re singing along. It’s always a very rewarding experience that I find, almost to a person, for anybody that comes over here."

Charles also spoke about how he earned the Guinness World Record for 'most consecutive weeks to release an original digital single by a music act' in 2018.

"It was just an idea I had that instead of releasing an album or an EP, I thought: 'Well, I’m just going to start releasing singles.' The thing that was important to do was not to do it, but you have to announce that you’re going to do it. To me, that’s what gives you accountability.

"The public is like, 'It’s Friday. Where’s your single?' I had a bunch in the hopper. Maybe 15 or 20. So I knew I had at least 20. I thought I might get to 25 or 30. 54 songs later, I finished up, and that is the world record for the most consecutive weekly singles to be released by an artist. And I still can’t believe it."

He continued: "But all it is for me is a lesson in how: if you make your work the thing you love, then it doesn’t feel like work that much. When I was a kid, all I ever wanted to be was in the Guinness Book of World Records.

"I thought of all the crazy ways you might get in it, like everybody else does – grow your fingernails out or something! I didn’t know. But it just seems so perfect to me that what put me into it – I was not even thinking about trying to sell a record, which is doing what I love, and making music in Nashville."

Join Eamonn Kelly every weekday on Smooth Country from 9am to 1pm, and listen to Just Great Country 24 hours a day.