His Label Saying "No"
While Aldean's label was hesitant to release the overtly sexual "Burnin' It Up" as the first single from Old Boots, New Dirt, Aldean himself put that old boot down: "I finally just went, ‘This is the single.’ I’m in a fortunate position that not a lot of artists get to be in where I can go in there and do that,” he says.
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"Luke [Bryan] has become a major star here in the last couple of years, and it seems like every damn artist who comes out now has got a damn baseball cap on or a hat turned around backward, trying to cop his vibe. Florida Georgia Line is killing it right now -- and the next thing you’re going to see is a bunch of duos coming out, all tatted up," the Georgia singer says. "If the people that run the record business in Nashville find something that works, they will run it into the ground.”
When Aldean ended his longtime marriage to begin a relationship with former American Idol contestant Brittany Kerr, the country star was subjected to his first tabloid scandal. “It has been two years of this shit -- get over it, already!” Aldean says. "And then when I finally do get enough of it and say something, every newspaper grabs it. And I’m not trying to get in the headlines -- I’m just trying to get people to stop running their mouths."
Noting the 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' nature of the Internet, Aldean tells Billboard he's done paying attention to the trolls: "I could go post something on my page right now that says, ‘Hey, we just donated $5 million to a children’s cancer research center,’ and somebody would get on there and go, ‘You’re an asshole cheater.’ ”
The "Bro Country" Label
“This whole bro-country thing, whoever coined that ridiculous phrase, it’s about beer or trucks or whatever. That’s what we really grew up doing. A lot of us grew up in these little towns where there wasn’t a whole lot to do," Aldean says. "I don’t try to be something I’m not. It’s too much work to try to be something else."
Read Billboard's full Jason Aldean cover story when it's out Friday, Sept. 19.