Ten years. That’s how long it took Jason Aldean to go from newbie to gamer, rookie to all-star.
His two big ACM awards came about a decade apart. In 2005, he won New Male Vocalist. In 2015, he won Entertainer of the Year.
So what was it like being a country artist in between those huge awards?
“For some artists, it happens that they win both those awards in a three- or four-year span,” he told CMT.com. “They go from obscurity to huge. For me, it just wasn’t like that.
“It was a slow and steady climb to get to where we are now. It took us a little longer. But I wouldn’t change it. This set me up to have a really solid career and to be able to stick around longer than some other people might.
“I’m thankful for the way it turned out and glad it didn’t happen quick for me. The road was a little longer. We’ve had more hits under my belt. We’ve gone out and busted our butts and played more shows than most. I am a firm believer that that stuff pays off.”
Aldean said that if this all happens too fast, with too much rocket fuel coming out too fast, that may not allow enough time for an artist to build a solid, long-lasting fan base.
“You’re hot for a minute, and you have fans with you for a minute, but then they move on to the next thing,” he said. “If you consistently give people hits, you’re drawing them in more and more. That’s the way it worked out for us.”
And yet, a decade can go so fast.
“I look back and think, ‘Man, that flew by,’” he said.
Jason Aldean on tour
Aldean keeps chugging away, building that fan base by meeting his fans in-person on the road. But a structured schedule is very important to him. It keeps him focused.
“I’m a creature of habit at the shows,” he told Sounds Like Nashville. “5:00 rolls around, I eat dinner at 5:00 every day, and then I get ready for the day, for the night, whatever. We have a VIP thing that starts at 7, meet and greets and 7:30. It’s a structured deal. As soon as the meet and greet is over, I go hang out with my band for a couple hours, an hour and a half or whatever it is, and just crank some music, get loosened up a little bit for the show, and it’s kind of the same thing.”
And if that schedule gets disrupted, it ain’t so good for the country singer.
“It’s weird. It’s like you start to do something different in our day, it gets weird,” he said. “It throws everybody off because we’re just creatures of habit every day. Typically, we do it, and then after the show, everybody will come in our dressing room. We’ll have the guys A Thousand Horses, Thomas Rhett and all those guys come in and we just hang out with them for the night. We save the getting stupid part until after the show. We can have some fun. We try not to do that before the show. Learned from my mistakes. I do good remembering the songs when I’m sober.”