Hootie And The Blowfish vocalist and solo singer Darius Rucker has opened up about his conversations with radio stations at the start of his country music career in the late 2000s.
Speaking with Entertainment Tonight Canada in promotion of his first record in six years, Carolyn’s Boy, which comes out on Friday, 6 October, Rucker admitted, “To be honest with you, I didn’t think I would have much success.”
He recalled the discussions with staff at radio stations and continued, “When I started doing the radio stations and stuff, I had people say to me, to my face, ‘My audience would never accept a Black country singer’. That’s something that I was like, ‘Okay, just play the record, let’s see?’ And then they did.”
Going back to 2008, when Rucker unveiled his first country song, Don't Think I Don't Think About It, which he co-wrote with Clay Mills, Rucker said, “I wasn’t worried about it ’cause I just want to make records, you know? I mean, I wasn’t sitting around going, ‘Oh my God, you know, I’m going to be the Black guy in country.’”
Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It, the first single from his album Learn To Live, made Rucker the first black country artist to reach #1 on the US Hot Country Songs Chart since Charley Pride accomplished that feat in 1983 with Night Games.
Learn To Live went on to top the US Country Albums Chart, landed at #5 on the Billboard 200, and has been certified Platinum in the US.
While Rucker admitted to ET Canada that he never expected to break new ground and boundaries in country music as a black artist, he’s delighted to see the success of artists like Kane Brown.
“Here we are. And I love seeing Kane [Brown] and all those guys over there [who are having] all this great success,” he shared. “That’s great to see, and I’m proud that I was part of that.” You can read the entire interview here.
In April, Rucker teamed up with The Black Crowes for a special rendition of their hit, She Talks To Angels, at this year’s CMT Music Awards. You can watch that performance below.
You can pre-order Carolyn’s Boy here.