Justin Moore is ready for the driver’s seat.
With two gold albums, three No. 1 singles and another new album set for release this summer, the singer-songwriter from Poyen, Ark., kicked off his first headlining tour last month.
“I learned a little bit of something, I think, from everybody that I’ve been out on the road with,” he says. “And I’ve been out with just about everybody that’s been doing it in the last four, five, six years.”
Moore confesses, “It’s incredibly humbling to be at this point in our career. There’s a lot of people that deserve to be where we’re at and will never get there for whatever reason.”
Though his first stint as a headliner has been a thrilling ride, Moore realizes it’s also a daunting task.
“Before, when I was out with Blake Shelton, I’d just blame it on him if nobody was there,” he jokes. “Now everybody’s looking at me.”
Moore’s experience as an opening act helped when it came time to choose who should join him on his Outlaws Like Me tour.
“I’ve learned this as an opening act,” he says. “It matters who you’ve got out there with you.”
Having specifically chosen Lynch and Pardi for the slots, the headliner wanted to keep the momentum going onstage from one artist to the next.
“The thing I love about it is for us for our very first tour, we’ve got two guys out there that are playing traditional country music, which is what we do,” Moore says. “So it’s perfect for our fans to come to the show. It keeps things in line with what we’re trying to do out there. It’s been great.”
Because of the initial success of his headlining dates, plans are already underway for a fall tour.
Moore’s authenticity travels beyond his live shows, as he plans the release of his third album. Having found success with his self-titled debut in 2009, along with sophomore album, Outlaws Like Me in 2011, he describes his new 16-track project as his most diverse album yet. He also admits to being a “fan of people who don’t write the same album over and over and over.”
Noting the changes within country music in recent years, he says, “You’ve got to continue to grow as an artist.”
Consequently, Moore’s third album developed with his song selections.
“With my first and second album … I knew exactly what I wanted them to be like, sound like, the titles,” he reveals. “This one, I had absolutely no clue. I was kind of stumped, and it kind of came together because of the songs I found and the songs I wrote.”
Moore continues, “The trick for me was trying to figure out how to stay true to what it is that I do and be traditional. Plus, grow it to a point that some of these newer fans — who are not as familiar with traditional country music as some of the people in the past — I had to get them on board, as well.”
Moore penned multiple tracks on his new album but also relied on outside writers for a boost.
“I don’t write the more mainstream stuff,” he admits. “What comes out of me naturally is traditional stuff. There’s so many songwriters in this town that if we want to do a couple of those types of things, they do it better than me. I found a few great songs that I think are awesome.”
He describes the album’s lead single “Point at You” as “a feel-good, roll-the-windows-down kind of song.”
While the song has already caught the attention of concert-goers, Moore is excited about what’s to come.
“I’ve been surprised by the amount of energy it gives the show and the crowd without them even knowing the song really yet,” he says. “I can’t wait for that thing to get toward the Top 15, Top 20, and really see it start working. Because once you get inside the Top 20, they start singing it back to you.”
One factor Moore doesn’t take lightly in his profession is his extensive support system.
“I have a great crew and band that work their butts off for me, and it takes an army of people,” he says of his life on the road.
Even closer, Moore’s parents, wife and children have played pivotal roles in his career.
“If my mom and dad wouldn’t have embraced this dream along with me, and they would’ve called me a nut, I wouldn’t be sitting here,” he reveals. “I quit college after two weeks and told them I wanted to move to Nashville and be a country music star. The fact that they didn’t go, ’I don’t care what you want to do, go back to school,’ they said, ’If you really want to try this, let’s try it.’ And that was huge.
“And now, I have my wife who is so supportive. It goes unsaid that that’s a huge part of our success. The fact that she kind of rolls with the flow the way she does is great. And also to have her and my two little girls … the fact that you can come home to them, it makes all of this stuff worthwhile.”
Through his success, Moore has had the opportunity to give back to multiple charities. Over the past year, he and other Big Machine Label Group artists have been involved with Outnumber Hunger, a national campaign which provides meals in local communities.
Upon first getting involved with the initiative, Moore confesses he was shocked by some of the statistics he discovered.
“I think our mindset is that happens in third world countries and people over here that have done things or went about things the wrong way in their lives, made bad decisions,” he says. “But it’s not. It could be somebody that lives next door to you.
“I think it’s our job to do things like this, to use our platform for good,” he says. “That’s our job as an artist, as a Christian, as an individual in society — to use the tools that we have for good. We’re involved with a number of different charities, and this is one of them. It’s a really great one.”