“I think the song kind of speaks to a lot of people,” country artist Aaron Lines says of “You Can’t Hide Beautiful,” which is No. 13 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. “It’s one of those songs everybody can relate to, and obviously that helps when it’s emotional.”
The track comes from the Canadian newcomer’s U.S. debut album, “Living Out Loud.” Spurred by a well-received radio tour and warm reception by Country Music Television (CMT), RCA has advanced the release of the set from a planned February premiere to Jan. 7.
Lines co-wrote eight of the album’s 11 tracks and says, “At first it was hard doing other people’s songs, because I grew up singing my own and wanting to sing my own. But there are so many talented people in Nashville that I realized early on that you aren’t going to always write the best song — you have to be willing to sing other people’s songs.”
On “Living Out Loud,” Lines worked with Chris Farren and says the producer really helped him develop his artistic vision. “I had an idea of what I wanted to do,” he says, “but when Chris and I got together, we really nailed it down and just started writing a bunch of songs. I realized what I wanted to say. When I met Chris, I got focused in a real direction.”
Once the record was ready, Jon Elliot, senior director of marketing and artist development for RCA Records and Arista Nashville, says the first step in introducing Lines was choosing the debut single. “We got real lucky. He’d had some success in Canada,” Elliot explains. “There was a track record with Aaron, and a couple of songs he’d had success with up there made it on our album.”
In Canada, Lines released an independent album and garnered attention with the singles, “I Can Read Your Heart” and “Love Changes Everything.” (The latter is on “Living Out Loud.”) Lines was also nominated for best new country artist at the 2002 Juno Awards.
“It helps obviously, but it’s a whole different world in the U.S.,” says Lines, who hails from Fort McMurray, Alberta. “It gave me the chance to get out there and tour a bunch and meet radio stations. They take notice if you have success anywhere. I think it perks their interest because I had success up in Canada.”
With “You Can’t Hide Beautiful” working well, RCA decided to move the street date up a month because of the feedback it was getting at radio. “Stations were starting to get calls [from listeners] wanting to know when the new album was coming out,” Elliot says.
Country fans can expect to see a lot of Lines in the New Year. Elliot says he is currently working out the details of a campaign involving CMT during the first two weeks of January. “It will be a promotion on air, and we are trying to get an online component [through the artist’s official Web site] as well as a component that will tie into their CMT magazine.” He adds RCA is also looking at setting up in-store events in a few cities to coincide with the album’s release.
Excerpted from the Dec.14, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.
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