It’s been one Helluva journey for country singer/songwriter Frankie Ballard who’s song “Helluva Life” reached number 1 on the Country Airplay Billboard chart this past week. A good ole’ country boy from Battle Creek, Michigan whose favorite baseball team is the Detroit Tigers is only getting started with his career and is expected to release his album titled song “Sunshine and Whiskey” to radio within the next couple months.
Ballard’s passion for music developed while attending Western Michigan University. By the time he graduated college, he was playing over 200+ gigs a year and excelling at a craft that most would crash and burn at. In 2008, Ballard entered Kenny Chesney’s Next Big Star Competition in Michigan where he eventually went on to win and the rest was history. Ballard initially was signed with Reprise Records but in 2013 he switched over to Warner Music Nashville where he recorded his second album “Sunshine and Whiskey”.
Frankie took some time out of his busy touring schedule to talk to me about his number one song and his experiences so far. Read the interview below
IMAE: You were recently named an “Honorary Friends and Family Member” of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, how does that feel?
FB: Oh it’s such an honor, that place is so prestigious and it’s a really cool program they have going on over there ay know. I get some VIP tours, I get to take my family in there, it’s a really cool deal.
IMAE: Your song “Helluva Life” is your first #1 song, did you ever lose faith in your music at the beginning of your career when things didn’t go as planned?
FB: No, actually I was frustrated that things weren’t connecting as I hoped they would but I never lost faith in my music. I’ve always tried to make the best music I can, as honest as I could be in the lyrics and I knew if kept at it and kept working hard and kept trying that eventually it would work out.
IMAE: Is “Helluva Life” about your own life’s experiences?
FB: It is very parallel with the journey i’ve been on, ya know the ups and downs of the music business, my career and my life too in general. I knew that it would be that way for alot of people too, those themes “the bad times make the good times better” I knew that it would be true for alot of people and it has been. I’ve seen people connecting their own stories and their own journeys with the lyrics of the song. I hope it gives people hope and as well as to keep going.
FB: It’s cool, out of all the things i’ve done in my career so far i’ve received the most text messages from my friends and family about that. Everybody thought I really made since my song was on Nashville so it was really cool.
IMAE: Since releasing your album, “Sunshine and Whiskey” what has been the most exciting thing to happen to you?
FB: Oh definitely the song going number one, we knew the song was doing really well but we didn’t know if it would hit the top of the charts but when we found out that it was going to hit the top it was definitely exciting.
IMAE: How about the weirdest fan experience?
FB: Oh ya know, i’ve had some panties thrown on stage. I’ve had some good fan experiences, I hate to call them weird because they are my fans and I love them for who they are.
IMAE: What were some of your musical influences growing up?
FB: Well I was a big outlaw country music fan like Johnny Horton, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams Jr. and all the stuff that everyone loves but I’m also big into southern rock like the Almond Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and of course Bob Seger.
IMAE: You’ve been on tour with Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift and Bob Seger, out of those three who do you relate to the most and who was the most fun to be around?
FB: Oh probably Seger because i’m such a big fan of his songs, his recordings, his voice and like some of those tunes like “Against The Wind” if that came out today it would have to be on country radio. As for the most fun, I’d have to say Taylor Swift because her fans are so incredible and have so much energy.
IMAE: If your willing to divulge any details, what will be your next song pushed to radio?
FB: I’d be happy to tell you…..that it’s going to be the album title “Sunshine and Whiskey”
IMAE: Who on the radio now has songs that makes you want to get up and dance?
FB: I really love what Kacey Musgraves is doing right now, I like all of her music. I think she’s pretty dang good.
IMAE: When your not touring or in the studio what are some things you enjoy doing?
FB: Ya know I like to get a good workout in whenever I can, I like to get a couple good meals in me everyday but most of the time it is all about music. I like playing drums, I love becoming a better guitar player, I love writing songs, I love being on the road and touring, messing around with my gear guitars, pedals, amps and things like that. I’m mostly music 24/7, yeah baby.
IMAE: I’m headed to Nashville next week, any suggestions on where to go?
FB: Definitely check out the Hall of Fame, catch a show at the Grand Ole Opry and there is a boot store downtown that gives you a pretty good deal buy one get two free…I wouldn’t pass that up.
You can follow Frankie Ballard and his music career by clicking on any of his social media links: