Mark Wills LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010
Q: I would like to talk to you about your CMA Festival experience. You have been doing this for quite a few years. Talk about the fans that come to you year after year and what they do for you personally.
MW: I always have this fear that when you show up at a booth, there won’t be anyone there. This is my 15th one, so to be able to walk in and see the fans is great. There are the ones that come back year after year to say hello to you over and over again. You are either doing something right or they have no life. I like to think that hopefully, I am doing something right and that has been our thing from the very beginning-take care of the fan. You can play the politics game all you want to, but if you don’t have the fans out there, when it comes time to sell the ticket? See what happens. That is what we have tried to do from the very beginning; always let the fan know that we are happy that they are there.
Q: Before you were in the industry as an artist, did you come to Fan Fair as a fan and if so, who did you want to meet?
MW: The first time I was here, I had just signed with Mercury Records so nobody knew who I was. I was still the bar singer down in Georgia, but I had the “cool guy pass” that lets you go into different areas so yes, I just walked around and saw some of my favorites. It was the same year that Garth Brooks signed for something like 24 hours. That was my first year, the year “Jacob’s Ladder” came out, so I got to experience great things like that. It has been a constant change because back when it was at the fair grounds, it was a lot smaller. Now that it is downtown, it has grown so much more. I think some of the biggest years we had out there were 30,000 or 40,000 people and now, you are out here and it is 100,000.
Q: Is there anything you do on stage different since this is a larger crowd?
MW: I am slower, I am fatter than I was then. Actually, no. If you come and see one of our shows and we are in a small bar, we try to have as much fun with a crowd that size as we would with 40,000, 50,000 or 60,000 people. It is harder to do with a big crowd. I like to be able to look in people’s eyes, I like to be able to look around in the room and see who you are making a connection with. When you are in a stadium like this with 40, 50 or 60,000 people, to me that is a harder job. When you go to a big show like that, you are watching a television because you can’t see the stage. It is different, you have to work harder for a “big house” like that.
Q: How has technology changed your music business over 15 years.
MW: When I started, I used to have to wear boots and now because it is the big screen, I don’t even worry about that anymore. Technology for us has brought us a long way. We can interact directly with the fans. Back in 1996, there was no Twitter, no Facebook, you couldn’t tell people where you were going. We could, but that was the early days of your website and it was a dial-up. Now I have it in my back pocket. If we record this show, I can have it on the website in 10 minutes, the fan can hear it and feel like they are a part of it. Technology is definitely helping us out in the long run. It is allowing us to be more focused and know exactly who is watching and listening and be able to cater to them.
Q: Can you tell us about “2nd Time Around” and are you working on new music while your fans are enjoying that?
MW: “2nd Time Around” was just something we wanted to do. We have played a lot of acoustic shows of the past few years and you have 30, 40 or 50 tracks when you are in the studio and you come up with things to do with it live.
For additional photos of CMA Music Festival LP Field Backstage visit http://MomentsByMoser.zenfolio.com/lpbackstage
Transcribed by Pam Stadel for Digital Rodeo