OFFSTAGE: Kip Moore: Shirtless for Six Months

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

If you’ve read the special country issue of People magazine, you know Kip Moore is officially one of country’s hottest guys. That’s quite a feat for a singer who’s been on the charts for not quite two years. So when I saw Moore at the 2013 CMT Music Awards, I asked him about being an overnight sex symbol. “I was surprised, but I’m cool with it,” he said humbly. Then he went on to tell me more about the story behind the surfing shots that accompanied the article. “I got hooked on surfing, so I moved to Hawaii right out of college. I bought a one-way ticket, picked one of the islands and slept outside for six months. I lived in a little hut. I hitchhiked everywhere I went,” Moore said. “I didn’t wear a shirt for six months. Just flip-flops and shorts.” (I’m picturing Lost but without the Dharma Initiative and the Others.) But how did Moore fund this journey to find himself? “I saved up 2,500 bucks before I left. And if all you eat is canned tuna and fruit, you can get by on 2,500 bucks for six months. Every now and then, I would pose as a student at the Hilo college and eat a buffet for $5, then I’d stuff pizza in my backpack before I left.” He said the whole experience taught him to fend for himself, and the result is that he’s written hundreds of songs about his experiences there and beyond. “I’m gonna have to make a new record every week,” he laughed.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.