Chance McKinney is premiering the behind the song video of his current single “Call You Quits” exclusively on Talk Nerdy With Us. As the Montana-born and raised singer explains in the above video, “Call You Quits” is one of his favorite types of songs in that the lyrics are a metaphor. “When people are trying to quit, they’re trying to quit addictions,” he said in the video. “In this case, the addiction is your love.”
In addition to giving us a look behind the song, Chance took time to answer my questions. We talked about how artists Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and Jake Owen inspired him to pursue music professionally, why he’s playing off the “I” theme with the name of his EPs, his nerdy love for math and so much more! Keep reading to see what he had to say.
Tell me a little bit about how you first got into making and performing music.
The “down ‘n dirty” is that I got picked up by an all-black group singing Motown, started writing music, got asked to open for Kenny Chesney as my first ever “live” country show, won a CMT award for singer/songwriting and then figured I’d make a career out of it.
Was there a specific moment or person that made you realize that music is what you wanted to pursue professionally?
When I was sitting in a classroom getting calls from Dwight Yoakam, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan and more after winning the CMT Music City Madness Award, I kind of figured I might have a calling in this.
You’ve called your sound “industrialized country.” What does that exactly mean?
Industrialized Country is country vocals, country lyrics, metal guitars and Motown backgrounds with a pop structure.
You’ve performed with Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and Jake Owen. What did you learn from those guys?
The common theme is they really enjoy what they do and that comes across clearly in how they engage with their audience. Dierks and Jake took a little time to pull me aside with some questions to find out where my focus was and whatnot, but Jake and I just recently talked and he pretty much told me to push through regardless of the limiting factors around me. That dude is a genuine motivational speaker.
Let’s move on and talk about your new EP, I Squared. I know the name of your first EP was I so what made you want to play off that and call this one I Squared?
I Squared just kind of made sense to me. We were building off I and not really focusing on any one single at the time so we thought we’d play off the success of the first EP and roll with something math (since that was my college major) and name it I Squared. Besides, it sets the precedence for the next seven EPs which are coming in the next two years.
What was the recording process like for this project? How long did it take for this whole thing to come together from start to finish?
We actually record backwards from most projects. I was done with all my parts on I Squared before I even launched in May of last year. How’s that for cryptic?
The EP features a remix of your song “Why,” which was originally featured on your Down To Get Up album. Why did you want to do a remix of this specific song rather than maybe including another brand new song?
“Why” took on a life of it’s own after the release of Down To Get Up in 2016. It garnered some special attention at shows, grew a cult following and hit with some of the folks I trust most in radio. When I sat back and thought about it, we really didn’t do it justice the first go ’round. We took a couple passes at it in the studio and just kind of rolled with it. This time, we corrected some of our mistakes and really took it to another level. It is definitely one of the songs I’m most proud to have ever written or brought to my listeners.
My personal favorite song from I Squared would probably have to be “Call You Quits.” What’s the story behind that song?
Getting that text “are you up?” is an addiction we all have to deal with at some point or another. How we choose to move on (or not move on) is why this song hits home for the majority. Depending on where someone is in the process of their recovery from a relationship will depend on how this story sits with them.
What was the process like for selecting this song specifically? How did you find this song?
We narrowed down over 150-ish songs for this project and “Call You Quits” really was a standout. It was also a great follow-up “Take It Back” from the first EP in May. We wanted to make sure that no matter how random we seem in style and song selection, that there is some consistency. Especially when we delivered “Take It Back” to country radio and had such a good reaction across the nation… we knew “Call You Quits” would be a great sequel.
Speaking of songwriting, who are some of your musical influences when it comes songwriting?
You’d be surprised. They’re not your “normal” influences. My songwriting influences come from authors of books I read and directors of movies I watch. I feed my inner writer by taking situations I relate to and then building context around them and delivering ’em in a song.
Were there any major changes to the song that happened once you got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?
The second verse went progressive rock. We had to re-write the melody to fit around the changes, but the mood of the song shifts to the angst one has when dealing with the inability to cope with an addiction, so it totally fit and felt right to us.
I know you just released the new EP, but what do these next couple of months hold for you and your music? Any upcoming shows that fans should be aware of?
I’m in the studio today writing for one of the last songs to go on the third EP. We’ve already started production on three of the four songs. Also, I’ve been on the road and will be for the next eight weeks promoting the next single at radio. I just got back from Florida, Michigan, Indiana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, etc. and I’m heading to North Carolina, South Carolina and California in the next couple weeks AFTER I open up CRS in Nashville next week for the MusicRow Breakout Awards. Basically a lot of stuff going on right now, gearing up for Summer 2019 and game planning for the next seven projects.
Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner-nerd. What is something that you nerd out about?
Math. No doubt. I dig everything from Trigonometry to Differential Equations (Calc 4). If that doesn’t vault me into the Talk Nerdy HOF, I don’t know what will.