JT Hodges is a new up-and-coming country music singer. He recently signed with Show Dog-Universal Music and released his debut single “Hunt You Down”, which has been blowing up on the country radio. JT is currently touring with Toby Keith and Eric Church throughout the country. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with JT about his music and about touring.
Mike Gencarelli: Tell us the story behind how the song “Hunt You Down” came to be and now hitting high on the charts?
JT Hodges: I guess the story of the song is I got a opportunity for a private tour of Graceland about 14 months ago. I had family in Memphis and went back and forth from Ft. Worth, TX to Memphis all the time when I was a kid…but I never got to go to Graceland. I got to go and I spent about six hours there. I stayed up till about 3am in the morning on Beale street celebrating and just soaking all of Memphis in. I had a writing session back in Nashville the next day with Rivers Rutherford. I walked in a little red eyed, I’ll never forget, he asked where I was and I told him about the night and my experience. He told me he was born and raised in Memphis, which I didn’t know. I had a riff and 45 minutes later we grabbed it out of the air. The music Gods blessed us that day…it was cool.
MG: You know you are going to be responsible for bringing back whistling right?
JTH: Well man, there is a funny story behind the whistling though. It was a little early in the morning and I was a little under the weather. It was too high for me to be singing the melody…so I was whistled the melody. Once we wrote the song, the whistling came back and it works. It was fun.
MG: Who has been your musical inspiration in your life?
JTH: I grew up in a studio. It was in cow town, so country music was prominent. I love George Strait. I was really into the group Blackhawk. A lot of the 90’s country stuff really, I had it in for. There was also this audio library ranging from John Melloncamp to The Eagles to Elvis Presley to Buddy Holly. There are so many great artists out there. I am also inspired by great songs.
MG: Give us a few highlights touring with Toby Keith and Eric Church on the Locked & Loaded tour?
JTH: Every show has really been a highlight personally for me and the band, since we are getting better and better. Really it is great just getting to have one-on-one time with Toby and Eric, talking music and just hanging out. It has been a very relaxed tour. We leave it all out on the stage.
MG: What is going to be your next single and when can we expect album?
JTH: The album is looking like it is going to be towards the beginning of the year. The same with the second single. We got about three or four songs that we are considering. It is a good problem to have that we have a lot of songs that we like. The thing I tell everyone about this record is that just because you hear “Hunt You Down”, don’t expect the whole record to center around that song. It is going to be a very diverse record. I do everything in a frame but it is not just one thing I do. I am looking forward to people seeing and hearing that.
MG: You are co-writing 9 out of the 11 songs on the album, how was it been writing your own songs?
JTH: Oh man, it has just been so great. Nashville has the best songwriters in the world. Just in the last year and a half, I have learned so much. I am ten times a better writer than I was. It has been a great process and I look forward to doing it more…and more.
MG: What are you plans after this tour ends?
JTH: I tell everyone I have been taking this whole thing one day at a time. Not trying to look too far ahead and definitely not trying to look too far behind me. There are some stuff lined up, I am getting to play the Opry at the Ryamn for the first time on November 4th. I am looking forward to that opportunity. There are some more shows lined up. There are also some tour packages with some artists that we are trying to work on now but I am not giving that away just yet [laughs].