The Fifth Annual 30A Songwriters Festival in South Walton, Fla. is approximately one week away! Among the many, many, many artists slated to sing their original compositions down by the crystal blue waters is Kristian Bush, one half of country music superduo Sugarland. He’s been flying solo in the throes of a “creative bender” for the past couple of years and there’s no telling when he’ll land. But when he does, he assures us that Sugarland will rejoin, causing Baby Girls everywhere to rejoice. For now, Bush cannot WAIT to see some of the other artists at the festival, gather new inspiration and start off 2014 going down the right road… Highway 30A, that is.
“Baby Girl” was such a huge hit. What does that song mean to you?
“Baby Girl” means a lot to me. It reminds me every day that you never know when you might wake up and write a song that touches a lot of lives. It also reminds me that we are all connected by stories, and that my job as a songwriter is to tell my story… and the stories of those around me. Every time I play “Baby Girl,” someone says to me, “That is my song between me and my dad,” or “That song is about me and my daughter.” I feel like the song is alive, and its purpose is to help connect people: moms and dads and their children who are reaching for a dream. I remember reaching for mine. And I am anticipating when my own kids make that call.
Do you write songs with a certain audience in mind?
I tend to write songs with their performance in mind: the size stage they will be performed on, the time of day I would like them performed, even the production around them. The bigger, more anthemic songs are intended for arenas and stadiums and the more subtle, finely woven ones are for your headphones. This is balanced with the simple question, “Am I getting my point across with this song?” I feel like all audiences are welcome in my songs. I kind of want that. I want someone to discover my work who had no idea they were even looking for it.
If you weren’t a musician/songwriter, what would you be doing?
I’d like to be involved in creative leadership… something where I would have to assess all sorts of dynamics and think up a brand new way to make things better. I don’t know what that job is, but I’m sure I could figure it out. I’m also really happy being a dad.
Who are some of your favorite songwriters? Does anyone who’s going to be at 30A stand out to you?
You should know that I am a superfan of some of these folks so I may need to be restrained if I get too close. I fear that I will be a dork about it. Let’s see… I love Shawn Mullins, John Oates, I am a stupid McMurtry fan, not sure I could even open my mouth to speak to Richard Thompson, I love Pierce Pettis, Garrison Starr, Jon Nite, Ashton Shepherd, Gorka, and holy crap, Dave Franklin!!! Then there are friends like Ellis Paul whose album I’m producing right now and JT Harding who released a song we wrote together this summer… You see my problem?
What about the festival are you most looking forward to?
Hopefully writing songs with some of these people that I meet. Hearing other songwriters sing. I get inspired pretty quickly and pretty powerfully.
Tell us a little bit about your music collective Songs of the Architect.
SOTA was created to be the structure that could manage and track and place my songs. It quickly became more than that. Now we have an amazing studio and engineer (Tom Tapley) and an amazing group of writers, musicians and bands that all come together to make up stuff for film and TV, for pop albums, for country albums… We can even release albums ourselves if we want to. It is truly a group of people that I respect and trust. We believe that life is better with a soundtrack, that music can change things that are sometimes impossible to change and that it all starts with a song.
What does the future look like for Sugarland and for you as a solo artist?
The future looks awesome! Jennifer and I are both releasing solo recordings and then when we are ready there will be more Sugarland. I am on a creative bender at the moment. Since 2012 I have been writing upwards of 150 songs per year. It is a beautiful and scary and strange feeling to have songs keep showing up. There is no shortage of material here and I can’t wait until everyone gets a chance to hear all of it, which is why I will be on tour this year in support of my album, bringing all of these songs to listeners everywhere. I’m especially excited to play the Buckhead Theatre on February 1 with my full band. Atlanta, here we come!
Passes for the 30A Songwriters Fest are available here and tickets to Kristian’s Buckhead Theatre show are available…. wait for it… HERE! We hope to see plenty of our fellow Atlanta residents at both!