Chuck Wicks burst out of the gate five years ago with the success of his breakthrough single "Stealing Cinderella," from his debut album "Starting Now." Though the Delaware native has continued to perform, a change in his record company status has kept him from releasing new music for his fans – that is, until now.
This week, Wicks releases his brand new EP, entitled "Rough," and he tells Billboard that he is grateful to have new music for his audience.
"It's been a long time coming," he said. "I've been doing nothing but writing and getting ready for this record. It's been three years since I've released new music, so it's about time."
The first single, "Salt Life," is one that is custom made for the spring and summer months. That's exactly where his mind was when he penned the song.
"I sat down to write with Vicky McGehee and Mike Mobley, who are friends with Kenny Chesney, and we were going to write for his new island record. I started thinking, and asked if anyone had ever written a song called 'Salt Life.' They said no, and I said we had to write it. That's how it started, and it just kind of wrote itself. It's a lifestyle," he said.
Salt Life just also happens to be a lifestyle brand which include apparel, headwear, bags, sunglasses, sunscreen and other beach gear, and it made sense to partner up with the company. "I played it for the president of Salt Life, and he fell in love with it. The guys who created it fell in love with it, and we're going to make a video around it and everything. It's going to be a fun summer around that song." The company is teaming up with the singer to give 20,000 fans a complimentary copy of the EP with their purchase of Salt Life branded products.
Another track from the disc that Wicks is excited for people to hear is the romantic stylings of "Fix Me."
"That started with a groove. We were writing it, and melody and the groove is what I fell in love with. It was a raw emotion," he said. Speaking of grooves, Wicks lays it on the line with the free-wheeling sound of "Saturday Afternoon." Of the track, he said "That really shows my personality. It has everything in it that I love as an artist. It's a fun song to perform live. I think people will dig it. I don't think people are going to expect what's on the record. I think it's really going to surprise some people."
Wicks is set to hit the road with Montgomery Gentry, as well as Easton Corbin soon, and he's more than ready to hit the stage.
The DIY approach that Wicks is taking with "Rough" is different from his days on RCA – but it's the new business model.
"It's so different than it was two years ago. But - in a good way. Obviously, major record companies bring something to the table that is great. But, now to get your music out there, it's a different ballgame. People want to hear music. I've always said that music should be heard, and not expensive. I'm doing pre-orders on iTunes for $2.99 because I want them to hear it. It's different doing an indie release, because you control your environment, and can make your own decisions. It's fun not waiting on answers. It's also fun to be on a major label because they bring something that you can't on your own. If one comes along, hears this, and wants to be pick it up, I would be the first one to say 'Let's do it."