Country music star Jerrod Niemann is coming to Fargo on Saturday. The Advocate had the opportunity to chat with Niemann about being raised in a small town, his career, friendship with Garth Brooks and his most recent musical successes.
Do you have any advice for MSUM students trying to make it in the music world?
We don’t choose music. Music chooses us. So, if you are going to school for it, it must have chosen you. If it is your passion, work at it, and the music will do the rest. Also, if you are wanting to make it in the commercial music world, in a city like LA, New York, Nashville, you really have got to be there. All of us had to make the move. If you’re serious about it, you’ll do it. Also, if you are in a city surrounded around the music you are wanting to make, you are going to make connections, and you’ll plant roots. For a while you have to, I had to, keep my mouth shut and my ears open, and let music do the rest.
You have had the opportunity to work with a variety of big stars, from opening for Miranda Lambert to co-writing music with Garth Brooks. Who do you think has been your favorite person to work with?
There have been so many people that have been nice enough to let me hang out with them, but I have to stick with Garth. You hear all these stories, these out of this world stories, about him giving people cars and all these really nice gifts, and I have known him for a decade, and he is the most generous, genuine human I know. He is just 100 percent pure good, and that’s what I feel. He makes you feel so good about being in country music. I know the very, very top of all we do there is someone like him; that is pure good. I am so glad I’ve gotten to know him.
You are currently celebrating the release of your newest single, “Only God Can Love You More.” What can you tell us about the inspiration behind this song?
My buddy had an idea for that song. He said, “What about a song called, ‘Only God Can Love You More’?” I am really glad that I did it. I mean, there is nothing else I can think of that you could say to somebody that would be nicer than that. We wanted to make it a love song, but we really didn’t specify if it is between a couple or a family. What blows your mind is, as a songwriter, I wrote it sort of as a love song, and then people come up to me and say, “You know man, that really reminds me of my dad or my brother.” So whenever people can interpret your songs in their own way, it sort of makes the song that much better. And that’s what happened with “Only God Can Love You More.” People came up and said, “You know, I really needed to hear this song.”
Before becoming well-known for your own music, you made a name for yourself as a songwriter. What do you think you enjoy more: writing or performing?
Well, they would seem like they are similar when you stack them up against each other like that, but really, they are really different. Someone like Lee Brice – we write a lot together, and both of us are songwriters at heart and country singers with it. We love to get in there and get involved in other people’s processes. When you think about it, there are probably, like, a million songs that are written in Nashville, and to think out of a million songs someone says, “Hey, I want to choose one of yours.” It’s just, you can’t believe it. But on stage, to be able to sing to a crowd, it’s such an honor, and there is nothing else like it. It’s two of my favorite hobbies, and I am glad they go hand in hand. I don’t think I could ever choose, and I hope I don’t have to.
BY ELLEN ROSSOW