It's a new year, and no doubt all you country fans out there are ready for some new music to get your ears humming--right? Well, I got a great new artist for y'all right here--although, if you happen to be from Nashville, chances are you're familiar with this singer-songwriter already.
Glen Templeton is one of a vanishing breed on the country circuit, both in honoring old-school musical roots and taking an old-fashioned route to success. After the Alabama native finally decided to move to Nashville to chase down his dream of a music career, Templeton put himself to work in the time-honored manner of conquering the honkytonk and bar scene in the city. This led to yet another traditional rite of passage--lots and lots of time on the road playing across the nation.Glen Templeton
In 2008, Templeton--or, as his buddies call him, GT--scored a unique career coup when he was chosen out of thousands to play the role of Conway Twitty in the musical The Man The Music The Legend, a tribute to the legend's life and art. By 2011, he signed to Black River Entertainment, and put out an EP including the swinging lead single "I Could Be The One." (Trivia: Billy Ray Cyrus first recorded this tune for his album Back To Tennessee, but Templeton adds a layer of swagger in his version that I think you'll appreciate). Templeton's full-length debut is due out this year.
I had the opportunity to ask this new talent a few questions about his Southern roots, musical influences, and what it felt like to step into Mr. Twitty's shoes for a period of time. Hope you enjoy!
Our Country: Besides being from the South, what shaped you to become a country musician? Did any specific artists influence you particularly?
GT: I don't know that being from the South automatically makes you a country music singer. There's great country artists from all parts of the country. To answer your question though, it would be my dad. He had a song on the radio back in the '70s.
When did you make the decision to pursue music fulltime? What specifically triggered you to make the move? Do you recall any particularly helpful advice you were given before going for it?
I was in between day jobs and at the time it was the only thing really paying my bills. "It's gonna be tough"--that's the advice that really stuck with me. I think that inspired me to stay with it during the hardest times.
On that note, you worked your way up the traditional (i.e., hard) way in Nashville, putting in a ton of hours on stage and touring. Not too many artists are doing that these days.
I believe in building a career the traditional way. The thing is, when you go that path you know more about who you are when you get there.
Also, more and more artists from other genres are crossing over into country. How do you feel about the state of country right now?
There are great artists in every genre of music. I think if they cross over they are probably doing it because country music is more personal and more connected with the fans. Country music is changing and evolving just like it always has.
What do you think about Lionel Richie, who is from your home state and is now doing a country album?
I think it's really cool he's doing a country record. Lionel is so good he can do anything. I can't wait to hear it.
Your album will be out pretty soon. What sort of direction or sound can fans (or new listeners) expect from it?
It's a rocking sound harnessed with the roots of the way I was raised.
How much of the songwriting did you do yourself?
I write songs every day. The album is a mix of songs I wrote as well as songs from other writers.
You played Conway Twitty on stage in 2008 and received great reviews. Portraying a legend who has passed away can be pretty heavy territory...What did you find to be the biggest challenges of the role?
First and foremost was singing it (laughs)! Beyond that, the biggest challenge was becoming someone else every night and living up to how Conway's fans remembered him.
How did you prepare for the role?
I studied private family videos of Conway. I studied his mannerisms and the subtle things he did.
How difficult was it to separate yourself from the role when the show was over? I imagine the role must have required a lot of immersion to play it as successfully as you did.
I really enjoyed the role, but it was great to get back to making my music. I will be forever grateful to Conway's family.
Are you interested in further stage or film work?
Yes! Does it pay (laughs)?
GT has scheduled select dates for 2012--keep up with his tour schedule here, and be sure to catch him live if he comes through your neck of the woods!