Darius Rucker along with songwriters, Derek George and Scooter Carusoe celebrated their Number One Song, “For the First Time” at ASCAP headquarters on October 17th. States Caruso (aka as Travis Hill), I was at a bookstore and the title jumped out at me from a Hallmark card or somewhere.” He had a writing trip planned with Derek George and Darius Rucker and the song “already had a little momentum going.”
Rucker reiterated, “For me when we started, that first line we had ‘You say you never danced to a dashboard singin’ R.EM.’… [It was so good] I didn’t even want to hear the chorus… It’s a song that especially at this point in my career was a cool song to write….That bucket list we all have, it all came from writing that song.”
When the song went to #1, friend Charles Kelley called Rucker and said, “That never gets old.” And Rucker agreed, “It never ever gets old. It’s awesome.” Songwriter George said, “Every time Darius sings a song, it becomes so him. His voice is so unique, he owns it. It always becomes something special.”
When asked how his career had changed since jumping on the Country Music bandwagon, Rucker stated, “It’s amazing to me 25 years out that this is still happening to me and it’s still fun. I feel like a young 52 years.” Charles Kelley called Rucker and joked that since George Straight was retiring, “that makes you the oldest guy on country radio right now.” He stated he finally felt accepted by country music when after being inducted into the Grand Ole’ Opry, Little Jimmy Dickens told him, “Don’t you ever let them tell you that you don’t belong here.” Rucker reiterated, “The biggest thing is I can’t believe [after all these years]is that I still get to do this.”
When asked if he had a best moment he stated it was when he won CMA for Best New Artist was special. Also, sitting the back of the car and his publicist saying he had won a Grammy. He would never forget that moment.
Darius Rucker just completed a summer tour with Lady Antebellum and Russell Dickerson. Dickerson will be joining Rucker as they are scheduled to play in the several shows in the UK at the end of October. One of the few things that Darius Rucker has not done yet is to play at the Royal Albert Hall. He will get to that on October 26.
Since Darius Rucker, Derek George and Scooter Caruso all songwriters, I asked them about the Music Modernization Act being passed into law. Since streaming, Caruso stated he has drastically seen royalties, “fall off a cliff.” Caruso continued, “It is great, it’s a journey but it’s absolutely a great step forward.” George responded, “It’s tough to get out there and grind it out every day. “I’ve been doing it since 1992 and I can definitely see a decline since the way it was back in the 90’s compared to the way it is now. A lot of great songwriters are out there that can’t even get deals any more… we need to find a way to get money back into the hands of the creators or we are going to lose a large generation of folks who could come [to Nashville] and really be next big thing.”
Before the MMA was passed into law, Rucker stated it was the “only time I ever called my congressman because I thought it was important. I know about the decline [in royalties]. When we were playing in the 90’s the only reason we went on tour was to sell our records. Now, the only reason you make a record is to go on tour.” The royalties are so down, artists don’t have any choice but to go on tour.
Sony ATV’s Troy Tomlinson said regarding this number one hit, “It is appropriate that this song was called ‘For the First Time’ because the first song that Darius turned in once we did his new publishing deal with him.” Tomlinson also thanked Ross Copperman who produced the record/song. “You always make great records that are unique and heartfelt.” He also praised the hard work of the Capitol Records team. He continued, “Publishers always think that they are the most rejected people in the music business, but it’s truly the promo guys who poured their heart and soul into this record.”
As he accepted his award, Rucker concluded, “This whole ride has been crazy. Ten years when Hootie and the Blowfish were taking a break, I decided it was time to make my country record. I was just going to go in my little basement studio and work on a record. Since then, I’ve been on record labels you wouldn’t want to be on. Every day I thank God for Capitol Records. I see how much you guys still fight for me… To Country Music, I can’t say thank you enough.”
Darius Rucker is known for his philanthropy. He serves as a board member of the MUSC Children’s Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina, where his mother worked for over 30 years and has helped fundraise millions of dollars to help build a new hospital. He has also helped raise over $400,000 for St. Jude’s hospital. Additionally, he has spearheaded the project to raise funds for the National Museum of African American Music (of which he is chairman) scheduled to open in Nashville in 2019.
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