We have a new West Coast Spotlight – Aaron Pollock. This Calgary based country artist is on the rise and we got to catch up with him to chat. We talked about his musical inspirations and the release of his new single “I don’t drink Whiskey Anymore” which is out now. Check out what he had to say below.
Growing up, who/what were your biggest influences, and as you’ve gotten older, have they evolved at all?
My all-time biggest influence is John Mayer! I also grew up obsessed with rock bands like Guns N’ Roses, Van Halen, and Aerosmith. As I grew older, I started listening to music in every genre and developed a real affinity for the lyricism of country music. Country is the genre that holds the lyric in the highest regard, and when I realized that it just made sense to me.
What is one influence you have that may surprise fans?
I’m an absolutely massive fan of rap music. The lyricism found at the higher levels of rap blows my mind. It’s a genre that just hits you emotionally like no other genre can.
Do you feel like being a country musician in Alberta has some advantages given the big names that have come out of the province? Is the country music community there supportive?
I feel like there’s been something really special happening in Alberta’s country scene, particularly in the last few years. It’s blossoming in a big way and I feel so lucky to be a part of it. There are so many people here that are so skilled at what they do, while at the same time being genuinely kind. It’s the kind of community that lifts each other up, which I think is beautiful.
Is there any pressure at all given the impressive talent that has stemmed from Alberta such as Paul Brandt and George Canyon? Or do you feel it is more inspiring to know you could be next?
The world is a big place, and I find it super inspiring that so many artists that I look up to came from my province. Pressure is underrated.
If you had your dream collab, who would it be and why?
This changes all the time, but right now it’d have to be HARDY. Discovering him has been a game-changer over the past few months. I’m a bit of a songwriting nerd, and his craftsmanship is on another level. It’s absolutely ridiculous how good he is, and how cool his songs are. I would love the chance to learn from a guy like that, and I have no doubt it would be a hell of a time!
In your opinion who are the top 3 most underrated country artists right now?
Steven Lee Olsen, Ryan Hurd, and Devin Dawson. All absolute BEASTS at what they do. They might not be the biggest stars in Nashville (although all very successful in their own right), but I think they all have greatness in store.
What are your thoughts on the current climate of country music/charts from a songwriting stand-point?
I think we are living in an absolutely amazing time for country music songwriting. There are so many writers out there right now. They are constantly elevating the game and more coming up all the time. People are experimenting in so many cool ways with what country can be from a sonic standpoint, while at the same time finding new ways to honour the roots of what the genre is. I find new sources of inspiration almost daily at this point.
While you’re an undeniably talented musician, your songwriting abilities are even more impressive. They have even garnered you credits on an ACMA nominated song. When did you/ how did you discover your knack for songwriting?
Thank you! That is incredibly kind of you to say. I’ve always been a highly emotional human being, and creative writing has always been an outlet. I started writing poetry and short stories when I was in elementary school, and this eventually transformed into songwriting when I was a teenager. However, I thought for a very long time that I could write almost absurdly metaphorical, nonsensical songs that no one could understand but me and get away with it.
Eventually, someone I respect very much told me that my songs weren’t very good. This inspired me to study the craft of songwriting as in-depth as I could and seek out mentors who could teach me how to use it properly. I started co-writing with whoever was willing, and a few years later I started getting cuts. I still make sure to write six days per week because I still have a long way to go, and I want to be the best I can be!
When you are writing, do you have something in mind already, or does it just flow as you get going?
It totally changes every time! I’ll start with a song idea or a few lines. Sometimes I’ll start with a melody or groove. Sometimes when I feel like I’m a little rusty, I set a timer for 30 minutes, start writing, and just see what comes out before the buzzer goes.
Your newest single “I Don’t Drink Whiskey Anymore” tells quite the romantic story, what sparked you to write it? And what do you hope fans take away from it?
There’s actually a pretty interesting story behind this one. I wrote this song with three of my best friends, who are coincidentally three of the best writers I’ve met. One of them went through a pretty painful divorce a few years back. About a year after that, my friend got an out-of-nowhere text from his ex recommending some brand of whiskey she’d just discovered. He is pretty taken aback by the text as he hadn’t spoken to her in a year and realized that he hadn’t had a drop of whiskey since she left. It was almost as if he was a different person that she didn’t really know anymore.
This inspired us to write a song about bad habits. Everybody has bad habits and getting rid of a bad habit is one of the hardest things to do. It’s also one of the most rewarding. I would love it if my fans were able to listen to this song and feel a little more confident in the power they have to change their own lives.
You worked with producers Spencer Cheyne and Justin Kudding, known for their work with an array of artists like Leaving Thomas and Brett Kissel. What was that experience like for you?
I approached those guys a few years ago out of pure professional admiration. I feel so lucky that I’ve wound up being such good friends with both of them. They’re both world-class musicians and excellent producers. I started working with them at a time where I didn’t really know where I was going musically. They stuck by me through that and helped me develop my “sound.” I’m incredibly grateful for that.
Now with the release of the single, and the recent pandemic offering up some time to write, can we expect an EP or Album sometime soon?
I’m actually finishing up three more songs in the studio right now and will likely be going back again soon. After “I Don’t Drink Whiskey Anymore,” you can expect another single by the end of the year followed by an EP.
What do you want to tell your fans?
I love you. All I’ve ever wanted is to write songs that make my fans feel the way my favourite songs make me feel. If I can do that, mission accomplished in my books.
Thank you so much for the awesome interview! Your questions were clearly very well thought out and enjoyable to answer. Appreciate your time, and thanks again!
This West Coast Spotlight – Aaron Pollock is over and I want to say thank you to Aaron for spending some time with us.
Make sure to check out the new single
“I don’t drink Whiskey Anymore”
out now on all platforms.
Stay up to date with anything Aaron Pollock on here.
Its your turn! Get your spotlight now by sending us and email here!