Darius Rucker Discusses New Album, ‘Carolyn’s Boy,’ Writing With Ed Sheeran – Billboard
Written by GRB on 27/09/2023
Darius Rucker is opening up about his career and his latest album, Carolyn’s Boy, which releases Oct. 6.
In an interview with Tetris Kelly for Billboard News, the nine-time Country Airplay chart-topping artist discussed how he decided on the title of the new project, which honors Rucker’s late mother.
“It was during the pandemic and we were writing the record, and I was having a bad day,” Rucker recalls. “I just said to myself, ‘At the end of the day, I’m just my mama’s boy,’ so I decided I was going to name it Carolyn’s Boy after that. She was such a big influence on me and she was so important in my life. It was time for me to do something special like that.”
Rucker also recalled some of the career moments he wishes his late mother had been there to see, including when Hootie & The Blowfish won their first Grammys in 1995, for best new artist, as well as best pop performance by a duo or group with vocal for “Let Her Cry.”
“I wish to God she could have seen me win my first Grammy,” Rucker said, adding, “We used to watch the Grammys as a family when I was a kid, and that was a moment that really hit me. … Just thinking, ‘God, I wish my mom was here to see this.’”
On Carolyn’s Boy, which marks Rucker’s first solo project in six years, Rucker co-wrote the song “Sara” with pop singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran.
“That kid is such an amazing songwriter and such a good guy,” Rucker said of Sheeran, adding, “You’ll sing a line and he’ll sing it back, and he’s singing it differently and singing different words … but it’s just better so you just go with that. I hope I get to write with Ed again; he’s awesome.”
Rucker also spoke about country music’s moment of holding the top three spots on the Billboard Hot 100 just weeks ago, saying, “Country music is taking over. For me, I think it’s great to see. To have the top three spots in the Hot 100 and all the touring everyone is doing and doing well out there, it’s great to see. Country is not rock’s little sister anymore; country’s standing up for itself and on its own. I love being a part of it. You see a lot of great things happening in country music, from those guys doing that, and then you see all these African-American artists getting record deals and stuff like that, country seems to be moving on up.”
The Grammy winner also reflected on his own experiences as a Black artist launching a career in country music.
“It’s been awesome and crazy. When I first came to Nashville, I didn’t even think I’d get a record deal,” Rucker said. “Then we did and we go on a radio tour. There were people saying they didn’t think their audience would ever accept a Black country singer. We proved them all wrong and my success turned into Kane [Brown] and all those other guys getting a shot and blowing it up. I love it, I love watching it. Chapel Hart and all these great groups that are coming out right now.”
Rucker also spoke of transitioning from creating rock music to country music, saying, “It was different because the genres are so different, but country music, especially the artists, are just so welcoming. Rock ‘n’ roll and pop, a lot of times … a lot of people, they make it a competition. It seems like, for me, in country music, everybody thinks there’s room for all of us, if you’re good.”
Next year, Rucker will take his music overseas, with a slate of tour dates in the U.K. and Ireland.
Watch his full interview above.