Making a name for oneself in Nashville is a daunting task for any artist — Music City is notorious for being the tip-top pinnacle for sonic talent — but few musicians have worked harder than Kip Moore at maintaining success. The singer received massive critical acclaim for his 2012 debut Up All Night, but his follow-up, 2014’s Wild Ones, threw his career for a loop. Despite underperforming by label standards, the record raged as something of a cult phenomenon, attracting a growing fan base despite its lackluster stats on paper.
Moore took this unexpected turn to heart, throwing himself into plans for his third record, Slowheart, and considering the path he wanted to take. As might be expected, this caused him a considerable amount of stress — but he found an unusual way out of the forest. The singer chose to take an extended break prior to the release of Slowheart, trekking through Costa Rica and Iceland, giving himself a badly needed mental break from the rigors of the music industry.
“I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to come back. I struggled with it,” he admitted. “Even before my career took off, all I was doing was chasing music. For so many years, it was working odd jobs, working to make ends meet, writing and recording and always trying to prepare for when it did take off. It’s all I’ve done for 13 years … I haven’t really had a moment to myself to sit and think.”
While abroad: “For the first time in ages I found myself sleeping. I was sleeping through the whole night without waking up and my mind going crazy,” he notes. “I was at such peace. I was surfing every morning. I was rock climbing. And I had this easiness about me. So it wasn’t that I wasn’t ready to get back making music — I was scared to get back into that rut that I was in.”
The vibes of peace and freedom Moore experienced during this time sonically seeped their way into the new set, as he worked on a full half of the record following his trip. “The music was always where I found joy,” he clarifies. “It was all the travel and the sleepless nights that were stacking up and beginning to be hard for me.”
Upon returning, Moore entered the studio and tracked several songs, which he said felt “magical” to him upon completion. “I turned them into the label and said ‘Hey, I’ve been just kind of messing around, what do you guys think?’ And it was the most exuberance I’d ever seen at my record label!”
“I worked on this record for over a year, so to finally have it out, it’s definitely a heavy weight that I’ve been carrying – holding these songs and not being able to play them live.”
“I told myself a long time ago, I want to lay my head on my pillow at night and know that I did this journey the way I wanted to do it, and not be influenced by all the outside pressures,” he says. “For me this record embodies so much of who i am and what I’m about and what I’ve wanted to say for a while.
“These are the songs that I’ve been waiting on me to write, and I had to go through all that I went through to get there.”