It has been awhile since we had a chance to catch up with a good ole boy from Texas, so we jumped at the chance when it came on our radar. 2015 CRS (Country Radio Seminar) was a busy time for us and thanks to country artist Pat Waters for being part of it. The six generation Texas native made us feel like we knew him forever and swore we would catch up again. Forward to November 29th and it finally happened.
Pat Waters is a well-known, critically acclaimed Texas artist, whose first paying gig was when at 20 years old he played two songs for $25 at an Opry House in his home state. His traditional country sound and solid faith-based values and strong work ethics have gained him respect and a strong following of fans throughout his career. Pat has shared the stage with some of the greats of country music, such as Merle Haggard, John Conlee, Keith Whitley and more. His honky-tonk style is simple, fun and one you want to dance to.
With eleven well received CD’s, Pat has made the Texas Music Chart’s Top 20 multiple times and even scored a No. #1 hit in the European market which garnered him the award for Texas Male Vocalist of the Year. Since 2001 he has been the National Spokesperson for America’s Drug Free Promotions. He travels around the Southwest visiting hundreds of schools to perform and talk about the dangers of drugs, teen bullying, teen suicide and alcohol abuse. He is also awarded the prestigious title of “Go Texan” official band. Go Texan is a program that promotes and pushes anything that is built, grown, cattle, any kind of livestock, cotton etc. right there in Texas. Pat is working on some PSA’s and commercials to promote it.
Pats current single, “Beautiful Girl” is climbing the Texas charts and he continues to tour, sharing his fun and style at every stop he can. While in Vegas recently for an event we grabbed a few minutes with him to see what he has been up to since our last visit and find out what he has going on for the future.
“We are glad to finally see you again, it’s been awhile. The band and I have been busy hittin’ the pavement so to speak, playin’ a lot of shows along with workin’ a bunch of radio down in Texas. Just basically trying to grow this thing, getting out to everywhere we can.”
With most of his shows and music centered in Texas we wondered if there is still much of a reach out into what Nashville has going on.
“We do still have associations with Nashville. I record all my records there using Ricky Skaggs studio and continue to work with a good publicist friend of mine Pam Lewis with PLA Media from time to time on projects. We also have some stuff on the horizon with some folks. I’m the type of guy who strongly believes a song should stand on its own. There’s red dirt, there’s traditional and all different genres that come together in town but at the end of the day, a good song is a good song.”
We stepped back a bit to get some history from Pat on the length of his career.
“I graduated from the University of North Texas in ’92 and been doing this ever since. I love it, I’d rather get on stage and sing, then eat when I’m hungry. I simply love it that much.”
With the large Texas contingent of current and past artists it seems it is still male dominated. I will sadly admit I am not aware of that many females from Texas who are that well known other than a few.
“There are a few. Of course, Miranda Lambert is from Texas and about three of four more who are dominate. The one that is most notable right now is Sunny Sweeney who is a great traditional country artist. What they do is they go on tour with Randy Rogers, Cody Johnson or Aaron Watson to get their name out there. I think even though country music is still male dominated, I think there are a lot of women coming up strong. Like I said earlier, it’s a fair playing ground, but the women do have it a little bit harder. Nashville is a town where it’s all about the song, and I don’t think they care if it’s a male or female artist if the songs great. I do write most of my stuff but when we go in and do an album, I look for the 12 or so best songs I can get. I don’t care if I wrote it or not, that is not my type of ego. I want my fans to get subjected to the best possible material I can get to them.”
“To a songwriter their songs are like their children and when an artist can bring it in and interpret it with their own style to make it a success, that’s a compliment. I have co-written with Trent Willmon, Tony Ramey as well as some buddies here in Texas so I can relate to their love for their songs. It all boils down to dollars and cents, it’s expensive to record a new album. I don’t have the luxury to record one every year, so I must get 12-16 songs, I want them to be 15 potential singles. Never had the opportunity to be with a big record label and not sure I would want that. It at times seems rushed where you must put out five or more singles in a time frame despite the quality. I am starting to come to grips with the EP style especially as an independent artist cause of the money involved. My albums may get one or two singles released in Texas and stay on the charts for months. What I like to do is put five singles out, then put them on the EP as the hits so I can get more bang for my buck.”
There is the constant controversy of the downloading industry today: good, bad and ugly. Pat weighs in on the subject.
“Personally, I think it’s hurt the music business as far as reducing the amount of revenue streams. When I first started out there were record sales, merchandise sales and all different types of revenue. So now what has happened, the only source of income right now is live performances which make it harder for independents since all the big boys are out there soakin’ up all the venues because that’s their only revenue stream. I think that’s a negative, but they’ll have to figure it out. I have a good friend of mine in Texas, Terry McBride of the group, McBride & the Ride who had a big national hit back in the 80’s. Terry wrote it and made millions off it. They put it out in Texas and had 1.6 million streams and only made $687. He felt it surely should have had another zero added to that. That’s how much it has changed, some songwriters are starving to death.”
“David Lee, a great songwriter had to finally move back to Texas from Nashville. He continues to write but is now also performing so he can get enough income to continue to do that. I remember a time if you had a No. #1 song it would be at least over a million dollars in royalties. One upside with this is now with the internet and streaming you can somewhat compete with the big boys and be out there. Us independent artists start out with baby steps going to indicator charts such as New Music Weekly and if it does well there you promote it to Music Row, if it does well there you’ll go to Billboard. Once you get to that point it’s hard to compete when the bigger names are throwin’ millions of dollars at promotions. That’s where I go back as an artist and appreciate the opportunity and at some point, in time, the song stands on its own.”
The topic of social media comes up, since it is so relevant in these times, so we wanted to know Pat’s insight on what he thinks.
“I hate it (laughing) cause I don’t know anything about it. We hire people to handle that for us and it changes so rapidly. We were in negotiations with a booking agent in Texas and six months ago what was important was your fan page on Facebook, how many likes you had. We built ours up, not a great deal but we have over 10,000 fans who like and follow us. We go back and meet with him and tell him about Facebook, but now that’s not important, it’s now how many followers you have on Spotify. They think that what that does is a direct correlation to filling seats at concerts. At the end of the day I try to be good at what I do; that’s get up and sing. We have a great live show, we don’t swing from any chandeliers, nor super high energy but it’s fun energy, just what I want it to be. By being an independent artist, it affords me that luxury. It’s what my fans come to see and hear. I am sort of like Alan Jackson and George Strait: people come to hear my voice and how I present it.”
Every artist aspires to one day open for some of countries greats. As mentioned previously Pat has shared the stage with Merle but there are a few more that he would be honored to be a part of their show.
“I would love to open for George Strait or Garth would be good cause we are totally different and of course Alan Jackson whom I am big fan of. That would be something great for me.”
The year is just about done but Pat has a few more things going on and already working on 2018.
“We are working on touring more, working on some of it internationally over in Scotland, maybe back to Paris. The new single, “Beautiful Girl” out now that’s doing well on the top 15 on the Texas charts. Hoping to branch out from home and go on a more national level, the team is working on goals for 2018. Would love to get into some newer venues we have not been in, moving that tour value up. Like I said earlier, you have to build your tour value cause that’s the only revenue stream that is the most profitable. Success occurs when your dreams get bigger than your excuses.”
Another visit with Pat just like the first: “Like we have known him forever.” For more information on his music, and where he may be touring stop by his website. If ever in Texas or have a chance to see Pat do so, you will thank us later.