Corey Kent In Conversation With FAULT Magazine

Corey Kent x FAULT Magazine

Corey Kent

We had the opportunity to catch up with Corey Kent, the talented rising country singer/songwriter hailing from Oklahoma and now based in Texas. With his hit single “Wild As Her” reaching the top 5 at country radio and earning RIAA Platinum certification, Corey Kent has been making waves in the music industry. Set to release his highly anticipated third album, “BLACKTOP,” on June 2nd we caught up with Corey to discuss his new music, his journey and his FAULTs.

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the album title Blacktop and what listeners can expect from this new record? 

It comes from just a way of paying respect to the people in the industry that gave me an opportunity to provide for my family during the toughest season of my life. The world shut down and I was no longer able to provide for my family playing music, so I got to choose between unemployment or learning how to do something new. And so, I worked some odd and end jobs: I picked up a job at a motorcycle shop and then ended up long-term at a pavement company in Dallas. It’s just a way to honor and pay tribute to them.  I started recording some of the songs on this record while working there and it got me from that pavement company job back to being on the road full-time and in transition to build my artist career again. I worked with Jay Joyce on this record and one of my favorite quotes is actually from Jay Joyce and he said “nobody great ever sounded like anybody else” and I believe that this record sounds like nobody else. Nobody’s ever made a record that sounds like this and it’s exciting because I wasn’t trying to sound like anyone else, I was just being me and this is the result of it. I think there’s a lot of autobiographical songs that are one layer deeper than a lot of this stuff that you might hear in country music right now, which excites me. I think that there’s a there’s a whole fan base that craves that deeper connection, so you can expect something you’ve never heard before and you can expect something that’s going to make you feel something.

What would you say was the most emotionally challenging song to write on the album?

“Man of the House” was more a therapeutic thing, I never thought would be released, but when teasing the demo and the responses that were shared was so overwhelming. In terms of writing it, I had to step away, out of the room multiple times to regather myself. It was very emotional; the lines were just falling out. The song kind of wrote itself, I felt like it was more of a song that we were given, not necessarily one that we laboured over. But it was a tough process, just to speak exactly how you felt into a song and not hold back any thoughts. It was something I’ve never experienced before, and you know obviously I’m very close to my mom. My folks split when I was young, and it was a lot of weight and pressure on me as a kid to be there for my mom whenever things got tough. So, that was probably the toughest, emotionally challenging song that I had to write for this record. 

Your latest track, “Something’s Gonna Kill Me,” explores the idea of taking risks in life. How does this song represent your own personal experiences and outlook on life?

For me, this song comes from my one of my favourite quotes, “get busy living or get busy dying” and it’s just an acknowledgement that your time on Earth is short and everything comes with a risk. You’ve got to figure out which ones are worth taking to you and that’s going to be unique to you. For me, I love riding motorcycles, I like smoking a cigar every now and then a cigarillo especially and some people can look at you like you’re crazy for doing those things and tell you all the risks associated with them. For me, those add so much enjoyment to my life that they’re worth the risk. Then there are things that other people do that I wouldn’t do or take the risk on personally, as they don’t line up with who I am and what I get enjoyment from.

Corey Kent

You’ve had the opportunity to tour with some incredible artists and play at major festivals like Stagecoach and Tortuga Music Festival. What is your best tour story? 

The best tour story would be having this triumphant overcoming of odds to get our first number one and in doing so, I believe in a humble manner. We were on the road playing a show when our song went number one and got back in a red 12-passenger van. We’re not in a tour bus, nothing fancy about this, we put out a song independently, it blew up and it became a gold record, next signing a record deal and then it kept growing and our record label helped take “Wild as Her” to #1. Just kept our heads down and kept working the whole time. So, I was in Lubbock TX and driving our red van rooster down to Oklahoma, where the crew is from, celebrating with the same crew that you’ve been doing it with since day one. It was amazing to feel that collective team win. It that seems like the best tour story that we’ve had so far. Feels like the underdogs won and it’s a cool feeling to beat the odds.

You also co-write for and with many different artists, do you find your process shifts when working on music for other performers compared to your own? 

I don’t really write that much for other people anymore. I did for a while and had some success with it. I will write with people for their stuff. That is a mindset shift because you’re helping someone else speak to their fan base, so I do try to think through a different lens a little bit when I’m writing with friends. In terms of like strictly writing songs for other people, I don’t do that a whole lot anymore. I just write songs for me because that’s where I get the most fulfilment. Then sometimes, people like those songs so much and we didn’t put them on the record that they end up you know other places other people singing those songs. For me the key is: be as authentic as possible. Oftentimes, that is me writing for me and the authenticity shines through and sometimes it’s so authentic that other people can relate to it and seeing it themselves and feel like it’s authentic.

You’ve received high praise and nominations recently, do you find the growing acclaim adds more pressure to live to the hype?

I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t more pressure after you have some success. The reality is you gotta keep doing what got you here in the first place and what got me here was thinking differently, creatively, and openly. Not from a place of fear, more from a place of creativity and taking chances and daring to be different. I think that when you start trying to recreate what you’ve already done, then you lose that magic that led you to the first success. I’m more focused on creating something new than recreating or replicating success. I’m looking for the new sound, the next thing, the next song that makes people say, “what is that” or “who is that” and it’s going to come from something that sounds unique and sounds different. Some of the pressure comes from having your priorities out of line. I think when you when you realise the things in life that really matter, the pressure of awards and accolades and things like that start to fade away a little bit because you realise that 100 years from now, nobody’s going to care how many nominations or awards you have on the shelf. They’re going to care about how you treated people, how you made them feel and the memories they have with you, not solely accomplishments.

Your live performances are known for their high energy and captivating stage presence. How do you prepare for a live show, and what do you hope audiences take away from your performances?

I prepare for live shows by putting in the work before I step on stage and by not overthinking everything. If you’re still trying to think and prepare, right up to that moment that you go on stage then it’s oftentimes means that you didn’t do your job. I try and put in the work before we step on stage, and it became second nature at that point. Then, you get to really focus on entertaining which I think is the biggest part of our job. Making sure the people who spend their hard-earned money to come watch you play, they walk away going “wow” I’ve never been to a show that was that good, that had that much energy. That’s more than just playing a song and it’s more than just telling a story behind the song. It’s leaving every ounce of energy that you have on the stage and making people feel like you’re equally as passionate about being there as they are- and that’s a tall order. I think: what do I want people to walk away like? I want everyone to walk away from our show saying, “that was the best show I’ve ever seen.” It doesn’t have to be fancy- lights and production. It’s just about heart, like, “Did you do it with your heart in it?” I think that people feel that and sense that. You can have people with a bunch of hit songs, and their hearts not in it and you walk away going “yeah, it was like a good show, it was a decent show.” You can also have no-name people with no hits, show up and leave their heart on the stage and you’ll remember it. 

Looking ahead, you have a busy tour schedule, including the Highway Desperado Tour with Jason Aldean. What are you most looking forward to during this tour? 

I most look forward to learning from Jason Aldean. He’s been entertainer of the year and that’s a goal of mine. It’s something I aspire for and he’s done it at such a high level for so long, so sustainably, with great songs. He has done it with the same band from day one, so I just have a lot of respect for how he’s built his career and what he’s built. I’m looking forward to meeting Jason and getting to talk with him and learn from him, taking notes, night-in and night-out in every city that we stop in. Looking forward an opportunity for growth in my career. 

What’s been the most challenging hurdle to overcome on your musical journey,

No doubt, it was 2020, when the whole world was shut down. I was working at a motorcycle shop and the pavement company, playing at the Mexican restaurant down the street, just because my soul had to. It was the only place that allowed live music. That was the toughest part, because I never knew if music was coming back around and never knew if I was going to get another chance to build my career, another chance to go for my dreams. The transition back into music full-time, taking that leap, having a family of three kids and a wife at home depending on you to provide. Taking that risk of like alright, I’m going back to music full-time. For a solid year we lost money every night. We were just investing, paying the band, paying the crew, taking every opening slot we could and paying out more than we were bringing in. Just investing until we got our opportunity, then capitalised on it. 

What is your FAULT?

My biggest FAULT is my lack of travel. I have not been out of the United States until this year…. But I am quickly making up for that! 

For more information on the tour please visit: