The ABC hit drama Nashville has become one of the most popular shows on TV. The stars of the show are not only accomplished actors but they are also extremely talented musicians. Chris Carmack plays Will Lexington, an openly gay country singer, who has found great success with the music he sings on the show. Now he is enjoying success with his debut EP titled Pieces of You that hit No. 1 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter Albums’ Chart. I had a chance to talk to Carmack and learn a little more about him and his incredible five-song EP.
While Carmack records and performs country music as Will on the show, he decided to go with a more eclectic mixture that is heavily influenced by jazz and blues on his personal EP. During his experiences playing acoustic writer’s nights in Los Angeles, Carmack didn’t want all his songs to sound alike.
“You want them to be different so I would be like, this my jazzy song, this is my bluesy song, this is my R&B kind of song. I didn’t want to pick a sound. As a result, you could describe it almost as schizophrenic. I hate to say that because it sounds derogatory, but it’s really not. It’s just a cross from many musical influences. Something that happened in the studio when I hired these musicians and producers that I did, they added a continuity of sound which I was hoping for and achieved.”
Carmack pulled from his own experiences as a working and sometimes out of work actor in his 20s to write all 5 songs on the EP.
“I was having an identity crisis. I was trying to figure out who I was, who I was meant to be, where I was, where I was meant to be – which I don’t think was L.A. I think that was part of the problem. Moving to Nashville has in so many ways been one of the best things that has happened to my life.”
Carmack grew up playing jazz saxophone and learned blues guitar and played in a blues band while working in Los Angeles.
“I’ve always done music. I always say it was something I did to stay sane between acting jobs. I just felt guilty about it because I felt I should be spending more time auditioning, reading scripts, writing scripts, meeting with producers and I just wanted to be practicing my guitar and writing songs. Now I spend time practicing and singing and writing and you can’t even say I should be doing something else. This is literally for my job. I was lucky enough to have an original song that is going to be featured in the season finale called “Brothers.” Tough to say that I’m wasting time when things like that are happening.”
Some of the stars of Nashville, including Carmack, are currently on tour showcasing the music from the show in the Nashville in Concert series. Although most of the songs he performs are from the show, including his favorite Will Lexington tune “What if I was Willing,” he is also able to give the audience a taste of his EP with the title song “Pieces of You.” Carmack is extremely happy with how the fans of Nashville, who call themselves “Nashies,” have received his music.
“I’ve actually found a little bit more of a connection to fans through my EP lately, than Will’s music. But don’t get me wrong, the fans are there because of Will and he’s got some good ol’ hits that I always bring out at the shows.”
Carmack seemed extremely humbled as he spoke about the peek inside his soul he has put out there for everyone to hear.
“This music is music I played in living rooms, on couches for very close friends, and empty bars in L.A. for many years and never anticipated being able to share it with a big audience. It means so much to me that people are hearing it and listening to it and responding to it.”
Chris Carmack found his fame as an actor, but being on Nashville has given him the opportunity to also pursue his other love, music. His EP is a fantastic collection of heartbreaking songs and power ballads that move you with every note. I highly encourage you to download Pieces of You on iTunes and follow Chris Carmack on Twitter and Facebook.
Author: Shannon Herrold
I’m a self-proclaimed music nerd from Oklahoma who enjoys all genres and can pretty much sing a snippet of any song you can think of. Being a mom of 2, a Zumba Instructor and a volunteer at my kids’ school keeps me busy but I can never go to too many concerts. Live music is my passion and I love writing about those experiences.