After working with Frank Rogers for every country record he’s done, Rucker decided to switch things up for his fifth country album. The 51-year-old singer enlisted producer Ross Copperman to help him create a record that’s a little more outside of what Darius fans might expect.
“It’s a little different for me, a little more upbeat,” Rucker tells Billboard before his set at the Faster Horses music festival on July 22.
Ahead of Rucker’s album announcement, Billboard sat down with the chart topper to chat about the album, even finding out that a few of the songs were recorded on Skype. Billboard also has an exclusive behind-the-scenes video of Rucker recording this album — check out Rucker’s interview and the exclusive video below.
“If I Told You” recently hit No. 1, that has to give you some confidence going into releasing the album.
Anytime you get a number one single off your first single off the record you feel pretty good about that. I’m so excited about this record anyway, I can’t wait for people to hear it.
What was the inspiration behind the title When Was the Last Time?
My new single is called “For the First Time,” and the big payoff is “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” I thought that was a cool thing to introduce the record. Because when we wrote that song, I just wanted people to think about taking chances and going out there.
Is there a story told throughout the album?
Not really, I’m not that smart [Laughs]. I’m just trying to write songs and get the best ones out there.
Which songs are you most eager for fans to hear?
The new single I’m really excited about. There’s a song called “Don’t” that I didn’t write that just gives me the feels every time I play it. I did a couple more outside songs than I usually do for this record — they just kept bringing me songs and I kept thinking, “That’s a great song, I can’t not cut it.” I’m just excited for fans to see a different side of what I do, because when you change producers things are different.
Why did you decide to go with Ross for this one?
I love Frank, Frank’s my brother — I’m sure we’ll work together again. But I just wanted to do something different and see what would happen, and with Ross it just clicked. He’s a kid [Laughs]. When I looked at him, I thought he was younger than he is, but his energy is always going and he’s always trying to make me laugh. We had a great time together.
How did switching producers make things different for you in the studio?
Frank and Ross are real different. Frank’s a guy like me, real laid back and easygoing and Ross is like, bouncing off the walls 24/7. Vocally, he goes for feel. If he’s got the feeling, he’s happy. I think some songs I sang twice and he’s like “I got it man!” and I was just warming up [Laughs]. So it was just a blast.
Any funny moments happen while recording?
One of the funniest things, I was in Hawaii shooting Hawaii Five-O and we had to get the vocals done so we had to do it over Skype. We did three songs — I was in the studio and he was on his computer at home, had it all plugged into his equipment so he could hear it correctly. It worked fine, everything worked out. It was crazy.
After being in the business for 30 years, how do you keep things fresh?
It’s always fresh for me. I still pinch myself — there’s moments where I sit back and go, “I’m really doing this for a living. I’ve been in this for 30 years and I’m still getting to do this on the big stage.” I love what I do.