Casy James talked about his new single, his blossoming career and why country music keeps him honest.
Q: During Season 9, you sang a variety of music from Gavin DeGraw and Keith Urban. The judges' often said that you needed to find your style. How did you decide on country?
A: During the show, you have to do what you can with the genre you've been given that week; you pick the song you feel you'll be able to perform best. All that being said, it's not that I made a decision on country music, I just said, "Where can I go, what can I do to allow myself to be honest in my music and do what it is I love to do?" ... My personality, and the way I like to do things, matches with country music. I like my fans. I want to connect with them. I want to get to know the people I'm working with, the radio stations that play my music. There is no other place I can fully be myself other than here, so it really wasn't even a question. You just go where you belong.
Q: What did you learn from Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush while you were on the road with Sugarland?
A: A lot! I always keep my eyes and ears open [and] try to learn everything I can. I think I'd have to say professionalism, kindness and good connection with the crowd and your fans.
All those things stood out to me. I think to be successful in the music business you have to be that way, at least you should be in my mind.
Q: Tell me about your collaboration with Randy Owen.
A: It was one of those surreal things where we talked, he invited me out to his cabin in Fort Payne to write. We spent the night out there, did some writing, some wandering around in the woods. It was a really great time. He's been one of those guys I can go to and ask what do, what he thinks about this or that. He's selfless. You get the sense when you talk to him and ask a question that he honestly wants you to succeed and he's rooting for you.
Q: Is there a story behind "Let's Don't Call it a Night" (his new single, which he co-wrote with Brice Long and Terry McBride.) Was it written with someone in mind?
A: I had written with Brice before but I had not met Terry McBride, who is hilarious. We were talking and playing and somewhere out of the blue came this soulful lick on the guitar. The song was created around that sexy vibe of a lick.
I said I wanted (the song) to be a simple thing; that feeling when you don't want the night to end. So we just said, "Let's don't call it a night."
Q: Is this the first single from your upcoming album?
A: I don't know that it will be on the album. I have so many songs to pick from -- I guarantee I have at least 80.
The album will be out at the beginning of next year. I know it's going to be a great album from top to bottom. That's what I've always wanted to do: not just make a great song to be on the radio, but a whole CD worth of great songs.
Q: Congratulations on being named "Next Big Thing" by CMT network.
A: It's a huge honor. I'm excited about it. It's wild to me. I'm just doing what I love to do. The biggest hope and prayer of anyone is to be successful at what you love.