Calgary-born Country artist Aaron Pollock is an old-school storyteller with a modern flair. With over 500 songs in his catalogue, Pollock is establishing himself as one of the most sought-after songwriters in the Canadian industry. Pollock recently released his latest single “I Don’t Drink Whiskey Anymore“, and we had the opportunity to chat with him about songwriting, career highlights and how he’s staying connected.
Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your latest single “I Don’t Drink Whiskey Anymore”?
Aaron: The story behind this tune is definitely an interesting one. So, I wrote the song with three of my best friends (who also happen to be three of the best writers I’ve met). One of them went through a rather painful divorce a few years back. About a year after this happened my buddy received a text from his ex, who was reaching out to recommend a new brand of whiskey she thought he’d like. He was pretty taken aback both because they hadn’t spoken in a year, and also because he hadn’t had a drop of whiskey since she left (he’d since switched to red wine). To my friend, it almost felt like his ex didn’t really know him anymore. He brought the title “I Don’t Drink Whiskey Anymore” a few weeks later. I quit drinking three years ago, so needless to say this resonated with me. We wound up writing a song about bad habits, and how sometimes they come in a bottle and other times they’re people. Getting rid of a bad habit is one of the hardest things in the world to do, but one of the most rewarding.
Kat: The single was produced by JUNO Award winners Spencer Cheyne and Justin Kudding (Brett Kissell, Jocelyn Alice, Leaving Thomas). Can you talk about the single process, and the overall sound or direction you were hoping to achieve?
Aaron: Spencer and Justin are such fun guys to work with. I approached them a few years ago out of immense professional respect, but have since had the good fortune of becoming really good friends with both of them. They’re two of the most talented musicians I’ve ever met, and I feel like they really understand who I am as an artist and as a person which is so nice. We wanted to produce this song in a way that was reverent to the country storytelling tradition, while at the same time bringing in some pop elements to make the track as expressive as possible. I think we achieved that and I’m very happy with the job the boys did!
Kat: You’ve shared the stage with award-winning artists including Jann Arden, Brett Kissel, Jocelyn Alice, and Shawn Hook, and were also one of 12 artists selected to participate in the prestigious Alberta-based development competition Project WILD. What has been a highlight for you? What have you learned along the way?
Aaron: Oh man that’s a tough one. I learned so much from performing with all of those artists. One thing that stuck out to me as a commonality between all three is that they were all so nice. All three artists took the time to help me out when they didn’t have to, and I don’t think that was a coincidence. Kindness is something that I believe is a requirement for sustained success in the music business, and every time I’m proved right it makes me very happy.
Kat: Can you talk a little bit about your musical inspirations and role models?
Aaron: My inspirations are all over the place. I grew up a diehard rock n’ roll guy with Guns N’ Roses, Van Halen, and Aerosmith posters all over my wall. I eventually got super interested in hip-hop and then country. I’ve been listening to country music my entire life, but never got super into it until I became interested in songwriting. Right now, I’m absolutely obsessed with artists like Hardy, Maren Morris, and Morgan Wallen. I feel like country music is going through a bit of a renaissance right now, and every time I hear a new Hardy song, I get double excited because my inner music fan and writing nerd both absolutely lose it.
Kat: How are you staying connected to your fans and the industry during Covid-19? What’s next?
Aaron: Well releasing “I Don’t Drink Whiskey”, but aside from that it’s been difficult with no shows. However, I’m always trying to write as much as possible and luckily that continued right through the pandemic. Because the entire industry came to a standstill, I was actually able to connect with a ton of new writers and artists from all over the place which was so awesome! We’ve written a ton of songs I love over the past few months and I can’t wait to see where they all end up.
For more on Aaron visit: www.aaronpollock.ca