Q & A on life and new music
Freeman Arthur has become a swiss army knife in Nashville. His skills as a musician, matched with colorful songwriting, and not to forget his voice which once was a part of the Saturday night Grand Ole Opry radio broadcast and nows carries on with RFD-TV and Sirius XM. Freeman is gearing up for the release of a new EP “My Good Ole Days” which will be available in early 2022. We got the chance to sit down with Freeman and have a Q & A about his life and music up to this point.
Q: You released a project for your grandfather back in February, what did that mean to you?
A: I had recorded a project originally set out just to be a demo for pitching purposes, but the combination of COVID followed by no one really returning my emails or messages sort of provoked me to want to do something with it. I had been releasing just a few songs at a time and when my grandfather passed away, I knew I should put it out as a memoir to him, it was a good outlet for what was happening in my life at that time.
Q: “What I Call Love” has gotten quite a few hits on social media, nearly 170,000 does that impress you?
A: I mean it’s not a million right? “Laughs..” I put that out in December 2019 with a video and people seemed to like it, so I’m glad, I wrote that after being in a relationship that was clearly not about actual love at all.
Q: In addition to all of your music, you have found a career in radio, what was it like working with WSM?
A: It’s funny that I even ended up doing radio, because I never tried to, it just kind of fell into my lap. People have always commented on my voice and said I should be on the radio, and now it’s funny when people say that because I am. WSM is a treasure of country music history. I used to listen every day and night when I was growing up, so getting to be behind that microphone always felt unreal.
Q: What are your biggest struggles with being in Nashville during this COVID era?
A: I’m not sure if my struggles were induced by COVID, but I would say that I have historically spent too much time worried about the wrong things. Trying to please certain people or trying to convince those who don’t believe in me that I deserve to be here. It puts a lot of pressure on me, particularly on my voice.
Q: When you say your voice, how do you mean?
A: Singing for me can sometimes feel like a major obstacle. It all depends on my mindset. I didn’t grow up thinking I had a great voice and sometimes I slip back into that old habit of thinking I’m still a little kid who sucks, and I don’t perform well at all. I mean it can be down right cringe-worthy.
Q: Given your radio success and clearly that people are listening to your music, would you say you are over that fear?
A: I would classify it as having finally found a way out. My fiance is a therapist, who also recommended I see a therapist that was unbiased, and through that I discovered how to do things for myself rather than for someone else. When I sing from a place of doing it because I love it, the results to me are so much better.
Q: Do you get nervous broadcasting, writing, or other parts of your life?
A: It is hilarious to me that I never get nervous when I have to play piano, or open the mic on live radio, I think there is always a little bit of nerves about wanting to do your best, but it’s not paralyzing.
Q: What can we expect from you on this next project?
A: I, like so many others wrote a lot in 2020, and I remember thinking to myself how many great songs would come from the world because of 2020. I really feel like my songwriting improved tenfold for this next project. Every song is country, every song is real, and every song means something to me.
Q: Why is it important to you that it be called “My Good Ole Days”?
A: Obviously that’s going to be the title track, but I think that one phrase says a lot about the whole project. We have songs that are pretty much me looking back on my past, some in a positive light, some in a negative light.
Q: Any songs about past relationships?
A: There is one, but it’s mostly a composite character of multiple people that have influenced me.
Q: When you were still at Belmont, you had two songs that I liked: “Devil in Disguise” and “I Hate This Town” Were they about the same person?
Q: Will there be any more songs about her?
A: Probably not, I have had one song in my pocket for a while that I think grants me closure and is a pretty stellar piece of writing melodically. I had thought about doing an album, because I for sure have enough songs to do it, but a lot of them are the same story. There are songs you write for people to hear, and some you just write for yourself. I always thought I should wait until I was removed from the situation emotionally before doing it, but after waiting and being over the whole situation, I just have better songs i've written. I don’t want to waste my time on things that are subpar. Regardless, I’m happy with how my life turned out and wouldn’t want it any other way. I have no regrets. I’m proud of how my family and myself handled that whole situation.
Q: You're getting married at the end of this year, that's exciting!?
A: Only if she goes through with it “laughs..” I have never met someone who can be so genuine as Amanda. We met at the Opry and became friends for a few years and eventually ended up together. She’s just as passionate about chasing her dreams as I am and I love that about her. Plus I get to say I met my wife at the Opry. How cool is that?
Q:She runs Nashville Angels, here in town tell me about what she does.
A: She could give you a far better answer than I can, but basically she helps provide for the needs for foster children in the Middle Tennessee area, she is one of the most dedicated people I have seen. Her organization largely relies on donations from live events which just couldn’t happen during COVID. in 2020 she forfeited her salary just to ensure that the kids she was working with were taken care of accordingly. She never once complained about it either.
Q: What other songs can we see on this project?
A: I have one that is very special to me that I don’t want to give away to the public yet, because it is a surprise for someone. I have a song that I wrote with Bobby Tomberlin that I love . You can expect to hear more upbeat music, which I mostly have not gone into yet.
Q: Are there any songs about Amanda?
A: Yes! There is one. You can’t really fit our relationship into the “Good Ole Days” as far as a timeline, but we for sure act like a couple from decades ago, so I wrote a song for her called “Old School Kind of Love” and it might be my favorite to listen to. Great fiddle provided by Eamon Mcloughlin and of course the rest of the Opry band.
Q: Where are you currently in the process of recording?
A: I think all of my vocals are complete, I’m producing this project myself so I am taking a little more time with it making sure I get everything just right. Then i’ll send it over to my buddy Jake Burns at Curb to be mixed. We still need to add some background vocals, and then it will be ready to go after it’s mastered.
Q: Do you have a specific date you are looking to release?
A: Not a specific date, but I would love to see this out in late January early February of 2022.
Q: Lastly, you and Lee Hardin have started a podcast together?
A: Yes! “The Barn Dance Podcast” is available wherever you listen to podcasts. It’s a fun podcast about the history of the Opry. Lee always adds some comedic relief that you otherwise wouldn't have when talking about old country music! So go listen now!