Joe Nichols talks ‘Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off’ and Country Jam

Joe Nichols

Country music star Joe Nichols will perform Thursday, June 19, at Major Mortgage Country Jam USA.

Nichols, a four-time Grammy nominee, recently earned his fifth career No. 1 with “Sunny and 75,” the debut single from his newest album, “Crickets.”

The latest single, “Yeah,” off that album, has received a similarly positive response and airplay.

Nichols, recipient of multiple “best new artist” awards from some of the biggest organizations in country music, also is known for hits such as “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off,” “Brokenheartsville” and “Gimmie That Girl.”

I had the chance to talk to him briefly before his appearance at Country Jam.

Melinda Mawdsley: You’re performing outdoors at a large music festival. Do you enjoy performing outdoors?

Nichols: I do, as long as the weather’s good. I’ve played there before. It’s a fun time. Rowdy crowds are a good time.

Mawdsley: When did you perform here last?

Nichols: 2008 or 2009. (It was 2008) Like I said, I had a good time.

Mawdsley: Congrats on recently being named one of the People Country magazine’s Sexiest Men of Country 2014. Did you celebrate?

Nichols: (Laughing) I didn’t. It is what it is. I don’t know. I’ve never thought of myself that way.

Mawdsley: You talked quite a bit on your website about making hit singles. Have you always made music with singles in mind then put your favorites together on an album, or is this a relatively new shift in thinking?

Nichols: I no longer think of the album has having to be an artistic reflection of what no one else is doing. My philosophy now is to find hits and good songs will come with them. What drives my career is success on the radio.

Mawdsley: How do you know a song will be a hit?

Nichols: I think it’s a combination of things. First, what strikes us immediately. If it’s “me,” people will love it. Also, the lyric content has to reflect me. I can’t sing about being a 17-year-old girl. It has to be believable.

Mawdsley: I have to ask, only because this is one of my earliest memories of your music, about the song “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.” Was this about any specific memory, because anyone who has been to Mexico on spring break can verify the authenticity of these lyrics.

Nichols: When I first heard that song, it was a very sleepy demo. I thought, this could be a really, really great song. A lot of people didn’t believe me. The record label didn’t like the song. One guy was with me. I thought if we could spice that up, this could be a really fun song. And we did.

Mawdsley: You’ve had quite the career thus far — four Grammy nominations, five No. 1 hits, and multiple “best new artist” type of awards — is this how you imagined it would go?

Nichols: (Laughing) No. Good and bad. It’s gone good at times, great at times, and not so good at times. It’s been anything but scripted.

Mawdsley: If you could collaborate with any country singer, past or present, who would it be and why?

Nichols: Merle Haggard. He’s my biggest influence and the reason I’m here.


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