PHOTOGRAPHY BY MAARTEN DE BOER
STORY AND INTERVIEW BY MICHAEL WILLIAMS
Chord Overstreet’s trajectory to Country Music stardom is at once enviable and seemingly inevitable but Chord isn’t a man to take things for granted. Instead, Chord is himself a big fan admirer of those who have come before him, and yes, that includes his father.
In his first Imagista interview Chord shares with us his career, journey and his love of music and his hometown of Nashville.
With an enviable upbringing, in terms of musical heritage, Country’s new rising star has his feet planted firmly on the ground.
Imagista: What was it like growing up in a musical family and how has it impacted who you are as an artist?
Chord Overstreet: Growing up in a musical family, with my dad being a songwriter and artist I got to kind of see him perform on big stages. Getting to see that immediately put that desire in me because I always wanted to be like my dad. He would bring me up on stage and I would come out with a little man bun and walk across the stage, walk past the band and everyone and go down the runaway and strike a pose. Everyone would go nuts, I do not remember this, but hearing funny stories like this always make me laugh.
Imagista: What is your earliest memory in regards to music?
Chord Overstreet: He would give me his beat up guitars and he would play stuff and I would try to sing and go up to the studio. I would always do the analogue, it was not digital back then so we would always have to rewind, push play and do everything manually. I would go there and help him run the machine and do that while he was doing vocals.
Imagista: How old were you while you were doing that?
Chord Overstreet: Probably four or five.
Imagista: It does sound that way, but did you ever feel a sense of pressure, or was it just natural and fun?
Chord Overstreet: I did not put any expectations on anything and I do not think he had any expectations. He was always cool about us doing whatever we wanted to do. I wanted to play sports professionally until I got injured, which ended up being a blessing in disguise. I moved out to LA to act, I had taken drum lessons and guitar lessons and I was always able to sing but I would do more impressions and goofy things. In High School I started to sing seriously, then I moved out here to start acting and music was always just something I did and I did not really think about it. I fell in love with music and just could not stop writing songs and singing.
Imagista: How do acting and singing differ for you?
Chord Overstreet: Music is more personal; it is more who I am verses playing a character. They are both great ways to express yourself creatively but I would say music is more getting to know somebody, their real side and acting is more playing a character really well and playing someone that is not you. I love doing both of them; you have more control over what you create. In acting you need to wait for someone to hire you, you need to audition and in music I can be writing as much as possible and recording in the studio. I can’t sit in my room and act with myself, but I do sit in my room and play music.
Imagista: There is a lot of buzz around Nashville throughout the past few years. Do you feel like Nashville has changed or evolved? What was it like growing up in Nashville?
Chord Overstreet: I am in Nashville right now and I am in a restaurant that did not exist when I was growing up. When I grew up it was a lot smaller, no traffic, it was a very homey, southern feel. Now I think there are about 100 people moving here a day and it is expanding so quickly. It has become so popular. It is a little crazy coming back, because every time I come back it is different, not in a bad way. There are better restaurants coming up all the time, more people, the music scene is great. I enjoy it more now then when I was smaller. I feel like it is growing into its own. There are places I used to go hang out with friends that used to be really bad parts of town that you would never go near only five or six years ago.
Imagista: Do you spend most of your time in Nashville?
Chord Overstreet: Most of my time is in LA. I am playing a show in Nashville so I am in town for that. I come back in town for things like my birthday, my parent’s birthdays and holidays. I try to come back as much as possible. I love Nashville, in LA everything is so fast paced so it is nice to come here and be able to catch a breath.
Imagista: What do you have going on right now that you are most excited about?
Chord Overstreet: I have a song that came out called Hold On that was featured on Vampire Diaries. I just put a remix out which I am excited about. I am also on tour with Gavin James and doing radio promo at the same time. Going to Toronto and Montreal, all the big cities. Then I go back to LA and shoot the video for this remix. I also released a little four-song mix tape called tree house tapes and it is more just to have music to come out while I am working on finishing the record.