Justin Moore Talks Spending Nearly a Decade on the Country Charts: ‘It’s Kind of Hard to Believe’
He might be famous, but he lives a normal life with his wife and kids in Arkansas.
Next year, Justin Moore will be celebrating 10 years on the charts, after making his premiere in 2008 with the energetic romp “Back That Thing Up.” He knows that anniversary is coming, yet he admits he has trouble digesting that incredible fact.
“It’s kind of hard to believe, to be honest with you,” Moore tells Billboard concerning his decade on the radio. “You know, when you look back on your career — as you’re going through the day-to-day grind — you don’t really think about it. The only time you think about something in the life of your career, is when somebody throws a stat at you or brings up something you’ve done, and you think about it, and ask yourself, ‘Wow, we did that?'”
Moore was recently in Nashville to celebrate the million-selling success of his first two albums. With those plaques on the wall — and close to earning a gold record for his 2013 disc Off The Beaten Path — he says that he takes a lot of pride in the numbers he has moved in his career. “That’s something I’m really proud of, and I have to thank the fans for because obviously it goes without saying that if they hadn’t had the passion for our music, that wouldn’t be possible,” he says. “It’s amazing we’ve been around long enough to do that, it’s crazy to me.”
Of course, with the current business model for music sales, Moore knows that those numbers are important. He says that the newer musical consumption modes are a little different from what he’s used to as a fan.
“I’m kind of the end of the crew that did buy albums and CDs and cassette tapes and all these things,” he says. “It’s funny for me. I’m not the greatest with technology and so I’m one of the guys. I still like getting a CD or a record, or whatever it may be and looking through it. I know there’s ways you can do it on your phone, but it’s wild to walk into Walmart or Target or wherever and not see shelves full of CDs all over the place.” Fortunately, Moore is at a label (The Valory Music Co.) under the aggressive Big Machine umbrella where innovation is a way of life. “I’m thrilled that I’m in a record label who has really been on the forefront of trying to figure out how consumption is going to work in the future. I think they’ve done a great job at it.”
Moore does his job in similar fashion as the singer just kicked off his Hell On A Highway tour. With a pair of No. 1 Country Airplay singles from Kinda Don’t Care, he feels that it’s a great time to take the music to his fans.
“We are excited. This is the fourth or fifth time we’ve gone out and done this type of thing,” he says. “It’s funny to pull into an arena and have the tractor trailers have your face on them and stuff. It’s kind of funny, but it’s very exciting.” As his opening act, he’s got one of the fastest-rising male vocalists in the format. “We’re excited to have Dylan Scott out with us. I’m excited to get to know him better and we’re thrilled to have him out with us.”
As a veteran performer, what is it like for the singer to look out into the crowd at night and see his face looking back at himself on the fans’ T-shirts or other merch? He admits that part of the career is one that is a little different to latch on to. “Well, it’s kind of funny, it’s even funnier when you see your mom with it on,” he says. “But, it’s obviously humbling, and we’re super thankful for it. I was talking to a fan the other day, and they were asking for a picture and an autograph and they were like, ‘Does this get old?’ I said, ‘Well, it doesn’t really get old, it’s just all of us artists, we still look in the mirror and see ourselves.’ I don’t think you ever necessarily get really used to people freaking out over seeing you or whatever, because I go home and my wife doesn’t cut me any slack. I’ve got to take the garbage out or, you know, so we live normal lives outside of somebody wearing your face on their shirt or coming up and wanting a picture or something. Obviously, we’re very thankful for it.”
Home for Moore is where it’s always been — Poyen, Arkansas. When asked if the hometown crowd makes a big deal over his success, he stipulates, “I just happen to be a singer. Well that’s the thing, I tell everybody that one of the best compliments people pay me is when they say ‘Man, you sing so normal.’ Well, I am normal. I just have a really cool job. I didn’t get into this to become famous, I got into it because I like to play music. I’d be playing music whether I was doing it as a career or not. I’d be playing in a VFW club back home if I had to.”
Though he did live in Nashville for a decade, for his family life — including his wife Kate and four children — Arkansas is a great fit. “Nashville was great to me. I lived here for almost 10 years and I still have great friends and great relationships here and spend some time here because of my job. But, it was never my goal to make this my home,” he says.
“I love where I grew up, all my family’s still there. After having our first kid, who will be eight early next year, my wife and I just decided we would like for her to grow up around grandma and grandpa and aunts and uncles. My kids go to school where I went to school. We live on the property that I grew up on, about 300 yards behind my parent’s house that I grew up in. Back home, everybody’s proud of me and for me for what I’ve been able to accomplish in my career, but I’m still Justin to everybody back there. I’m not ‘Justin Moore,’ I’m just Justin.”