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Luke Bryan Sees Musical Stereotypes Breaking Down

04/15/2015
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(Radio.com) When Radio.com sat down with Luke Bryan backstage at Los Angeles's historic Hollywood Bowl, we asked him to weigh in on some of the biggest hot-button topics in modern country music. His answers were candid, funny and most of all endearing-in true Luke Bryan style.

Radio.com: You are such a genre-busting artist. What makes you want to collaborate with such a crew of diverse artists from all genres, and what does it bring to your music?

Luke Bryan: I try not to overthink anything or get real heady with making decisions. I feel pretty confident that I can write and perform my version of a song, and the fans will feel the same way. When you look at collaborations through the years, I've gotten to collaborate with new stars and icons, and there was one thematic thing going on: we were on stage trying to make a really cool music experience. I think stereotypes of all music are breaking down to where it's okay for all these social classes to listen to all these different types of music. It's not outlandish to hear rap-influenced stuff in country, as well as rock-influenced. I think that's what the fans want. Everybody's got an iPod or iPhone and if you scroll through a random one, everybody's playlists are very broad with what genres they've got in there. That's a testament to where society's going.

Growing up in Georgia, it's a diverse culture. I had black friends that introduced me to Dr. Dre and Eazy-E as a kid, as well as my friends who were listening to Pearl Jam and had skater haircuts. And here I am, all I was ever able to listen to was country. I think as the United States becomes more diverse, even at a show one night in San Diego on my tour I looked into the crowd and saw every form of person out there having the time of their life. That's cool. That's amazing and interesting to me, that my music is touching people and they want to come have some fun with it. I watched for years as I played in country bars and when I stepped off stage hip-hop dance music went on, and people were on the dance floor line dancing to it. I think a good song is a good song. A catchy song is a catchy song. A sad song, an emotional song is the same way. At the next show, I'll play whatever is the fun thing to play.

Luke Bryan: Among your headlining shows this year were two sold-out stops at Madison Square Garden in New York City, plus Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, Soldier Field in Chicago and the Hollywood Bowl in L.A. Do you think it says more about country music or about these markets, especially a place like N.Y.C., that you're able to play in those markets?

Luke Bryan: I don't reckon I thought that I would have the opportunity to play Madison Square Garden and be in the heart of Manhattan. I don't necessarily even understand why I would have ever thought I might get the opportunity. To do two sold-out shows was incredible.

I feel that it says something about both country music and New York City, that I could headline there. I think the city went a little while without a country radio station, and now country is represented well up there and the fans were demanding it. And I think country music is growing and evolving to where it's not a far stretch for me to be seeing my music or any other country artist playing in the heart of Manhattan. For me to be walking down the street and seeing my face on the top of a New York City cab was just-I was like, "What? What was that?" Read the full interview here.

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Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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