“If I Told You,” the latest single from Capitol Nashville recording artist Darius Rucker, recently became his tenth solo single to hit the top ten on the Country charts since his move to the format in 2008. Dating back to his days with Hootie & The Blowfish, Rucker has been making hit music for over two decades now. That kind of acceptance by the public is something that never gets old to the 51-year-old singer.
“It’s always a positive when radio is playing your music, and fans are responding,” he tells Billboard. “Being around as long as I have been, and having two careers, essentially, has been amazing. Every time I have a song that does well, that’s a great feeling to have. You’re always proud that people still want to hear what you’re doing.”
The single, currently No. 5 on the Hot Country Songs chart, is the lead single from his forthcoming fifth studio album, which he has been working with Ross Copperman on. It’s been an exciting year so far for Rucker, as his musical career continues to soar high, and it’s also been a good year for athletics in his native South Carolina, which he has enjoyed immensely.
“There’s been a lot going on, with Clemson doing what they did, and the South Carolina men going to the Final Four, and the women winning the National Championship, it’s been rather crazy… but a lot of fun.”
The performer is gearing up for a busy June, with his annual fundraising concert for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on Monday, June 6. “Darius and Friends is something that we started a few years ago, and we have it on the Monday of CMA week. It’s just so much fun. I’ve had so many big names, as well as some of the up and coming artists. It’s cool to see the people that will show up for you and sing some songs to raise money for St. Jude. This year is going to be a special one. It’s so much fun to call up my friends and ask them to lend their time, and they do it.”
The concert, which has featured a mix of artists ranging from Hunter Hayes and Drake White to Kenny Rogers and Charley Pride in the past, will be taking place for the eighth time. Rucker takes pride in being able to give back to an organization such as St. Jude that does so much good. “You can’t help but be moved by the great work that they are doing. I’m so glad to be able to raise a lot of money and awareness to it.”
Just a few days after Darius and Friends takes place — this year moving from the Wildhorse Saloon to the “Mother Church of Country Music,” the Ryman Auditorium — the singer will be headed back to his native state for the Carolina Country Music Fest in Myrtle Beach. Playing a hometown crowd is another thing that he’ll never tire of.
“When they started the festival two years ago, I thought ‘Man, I wish they would call me up and invite me to play. I’m so thrilled to be playing it. Myrtle Beach is home away from home. I’ve been playing it for thirty years, starting at the Purple Gator, and all the little clubs on the beach. I remember a day when I would play for five people. Now, getting to headline one of the nights down there means so much. It’s going to be a very special moment.”
What is it about The Palmetto State that holds such a special spot for Rucker? He says it’s simple. “For me, it’s the people. When I’m here, I feel like I’m home. I don’t feel like that when I am anywhere else. I’ve never wanted to leave here or go build anywhere else. I’ve just wanted to be home. it’s where God meant for me to be.”
Rucker plans to release his fifth studio album, a yet-to-be-titled follow-up to 2015’s Southern Style, later this year.