Do you consider Back to Then as a bridge to your country album in any way, or do you consider that as a separate piece of your artistry?
It can't be a separate piece because it's all me. My love of R&B doesn't change because I still love R&B. I still love country music. I still love rock 'n' roll. That's just a part of me. Just like my love for Frank Sinatra. Every now and then, I'll do a big band show that I put together for charity. It's just music and I just love the music. That's what I do.
The music industry often attempts to put artists in boxes, however — depending on their style. Since you're best known for being the lead singer of a modern rock band, what encouraged you to break the mold?
I'm going to play rock 'n' roll, I really want to do that with my guys. I always thought if I had a solo record and a solo career, it wasn't going to be in rock 'n' roll because that's what I do with Hootie. I've always felt that way. If I wanted to do something on my own, I want to do something different.
What is it you think about your particular style that has allowed you to be successful in all these different genres?
I've been blessed by God. It took me a long time to realize that all singers can't just get up and sing everything. I thought they could. I really thought they could. For me, I have no problem. I love getting up and singing with Brad Paisley. I love getting up and singing a country song. I love getting up and singing Sinatra. I love singing any song. For me, I've just been blessed by God and I don't know why. I just sing with the music.
Do you ever sit back and wonder why?
No. I don't want to question Him like that. I can only say "thank you."
I really love the title track, "Learn to Live." There are four lines from the chorus—in particular—that I want to focus on. If there's a particular experience that comes to mind, let me know.
"You got to live and learn, you got to crash and burn."
Mr. Campbell was a guy who lived down the street from me when I was kid. My dad was never around, so Grandpa Campbell was my dad. He did everything. He's also my best friend. He was just great for me. The crash-and-burn line just comes from when you writing and you're thinking about what people tell you growing up. You going to have fun and you got to fail because you don't know what success is unless you fail. So that's where the crash-and-burn came from.