With his signature red ball cap, blue jeans and handsomely scruffy face, Kip Moore's complementary modesty only adds to his undeniable appeal. Oh, and his sound doesn't hurt either. The singer-songwriter's gravelly voice, gentle demeanor and likeable lyrics also helped to catch the eyes and ears of country music listeners in 2012.
His debut album Up All Night provided two back-to-back No. 1 singles with his slyly suggestive and platinum-selling tune "Somethin' 'Bout a Truck," followed by the contagious and lighthearted "Beer Money."
"I'm truly humbled and blessed right now," he recently told CMT.com. "My life is completely changed. I get to play music for a living, and that's all I ever wanted to do."
The Georgia native, who spent the past year touring with the likes of Eric Church and Brantley Gilbert, will begin opening shows for Toby Keith during his Hammer Down tour this summer. Currently working on his second album, Moore recently stopped by CMT's offices to share his thoughts on his success and appreciation of songwriting giants. He also provides a glimpse into what he foresees for his future -- both professionally and personally.
With 2012 being such a whirlwind year for you, what's on your to-do list for 2013?
Moore: Up the game! My list in 2013 is to continue to grow this thing. My focus is 100 percent on what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to get a charity of mine going which has been a big focus of mine for a long time, and I'm just trying to continue to provide these fans with great shows and the best music I can possibly do. I'm going to try and make this thing as big as I can possibly make it.
I'd say you're on the right path.
I hope so!
When you co-wrote "Somethin' 'Bout a Truck," did you immediately know how special it was?
I felt like it was. I wasn't sure. Everybody else liked it but was very scared of it because of the format of the song and taking it so long to get to the chorus. But I knew that if it would just get a chance, the hooky part of the song is that it takes so long to get to the chorus. But I think it's just natural for music people around town to be scared of that. But I knew if it got a chance, I felt like it would work.
What is about that song that really resonates with your fans?
I just think that song is small town life. I think there's definitely a hypnotic feel to the song and the groove and the way the melody repeats. That was life for me in the small towns. That's what we did. There was nowhere to go. And I know that's small-town America around the country -- where you drove your truck out to a field with your date or groups of people, and you had keg parties and howled at the moon. And that's what life was.
I'm sure the ladies love your current single, "Hey Pretty Girl." What was the inspiration behind the song?
I was inspired by my guitar player that just had a baby. I had seen how much it had changed his life, and although I'm not at that place in my life and I don't have kids and I don't have a wife -- and I don't want that yet -- I'm focusing on what I'm trying to do. But, at the same time, I desire that one day, and I wanted to write it from the perspective of this is how I hope that it is and this is how I hope to feel about somebody.
Because of all your success surrounding Up All Night, do you feel any pressure with your next record?
Definitely. Definitely. But, at the same time, I'm not scared because I know what I have coming next -- and what I feel like I have coming next -- trumps this first one. So I'm ecstatic to get this next record out.
You're very confident.
I'm very confident in the material. I believe in it with all my heart.
Can you give me a glimpse of what's to come?
It's going to be a very, very edgy record. I think it's going to be a good-time record. I think it's going to have sprinkles of all kinds of things. You've got songs like "I'm to Blame" that's going to make people trip out and laugh and it's going to be a rowdy time, and you've got "New York City," which is a very, very personal song for me and is the most vulnerable song that I could possibly write. I think there's going to be all kinds of flavors on this record.
Is it hard for you to put yourself out there in this way?
It used to be. Not anymore. That's part of the therapeutic process. I realize now people want you to do that because they've gone through the same thing, so they want to hear somebody who can put it down to lyrics in music so they can have something to relate to.
Your father was big fan of some of the songwriting greats like Kris Kristofferson and Bob Seger. How did your father help shape the way you listen to and appreciate music?
I think it was everything. My dad was the king to me, so whatever he liked, I like, which rubbed off on me with all those greats. I think that absorbing those lyrics at a young age, because those are the best writers ever, shaped how I write now without even knowing it back then. I was always paying attention to lyrics, and I just hadn't lived enough life to understand those lyrics. But now that I've lived a hard life, I've done a lot. I've lived fast, and now I understand those lyrics, and I can put them into my own words.
If you could pick just one, what is your favorite Kris Kristofferson song?
Oh, man! "Sunday Morning Coming Down" has always resonated the most with me because I've moved to so many different places by myself and had to kind of start over. Sunday can be a very lonely day.
You moved to Hawaii on a whim and lived there for a few months. What did you take away from that experience?
I took away from it that I'd be OK in any circumstance. No matter what happens to me, where you place me, I can roll with the punches with anything. I slept outside for months. There's nothing I feel like life can throw me that I can't roll with. I think I grew up in a lot of ways, and I think that's where I discovered what I wanted to do with my life. So I owe a lot to Hawaii because it isolated me so much where all you had were your thoughts. I figured out a lot about myself during that time, and I wouldn't take it back for anything.