GRAMMY-winning artist Darius Rucker was the guest of honor on Dec. 13 for The Recording Academy and MasterCard's latest installment of GRAMMY Artists Revealed. Taking place at the Highline Ballroom in New York, the event was part of MasterCard's signature Priceless New York series, which gave contest winners the chance to attend the event, and, as I was in the house for the concert, it really was "priceless."
The show included an intimate performance that took place at the Highline Ballroom. Rucker, a rock star-turned-country singer, performed popular hits from his days as frontman for Hootie & The Blowfish, as well as a few songs from his recent forays into country music. I've been to concerts at the Highline Ballroom before, but I must say this event felt much more intimate.
While country music is one of the genres I listen to least, I loved Hootie & The Blowfish in the '90s. Rucker performed some of my favorite songs, including "Let Her Cry" and "Hold My Hand," while introducing me to his country songs such as "Southern State Of Mind," "All I Want" and "Drinkin' And Dialin.'" In between performances, Rucker recounted personal stories behind a few songs. For example, he shared that he jokingly wrote "Only Wanna Be With You" as an exercise to create a corny love song that no one would love. The song turned out to be a hit and peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1995. "Southern State Of Mind" was inspired by the years he spent living in New York while courting his now-wife, Beth Leonard.
I had a chance to interview Rucker at the show and he offered up some fun and interesting facts: He's met and performed for all of the living presidents; if he weren't a musician he would likely be a bartender; and he says the biggest difference in his career today is not the genre change, but the change in administration. Now that he is a solo artist, a lot of the decision making falls on him, and that took some getting used to.
Overall, I enjoyed the evening and encourage you to check out GRAMMY.com for exclusive video footage from the event.
Thanks to The Recording Academy and MasterCard for putting on a great event. I am a new fan of country music and fully intend on exploring more great music from other GRAMMY-winning artists.