Anderson East doesn't need big venues, spacious amphitheaters or sold-out arenas. Instead, the 30-year-old just needs a crowd singing along with him while he is on stage.
"That's my church," he tells Rolling Stone Country of his love of performing. "I'm trying to get something really big out of it – getting musically to a place to where I feel justified, like I'm actually at the right place in the universe. I need that in my life."
It was East's love of performing that inspired his latest album, Encore. Filled with 11 songs – all but two co-written by East – the record was East's way to illustrate, and capture, his love of performing.
"Whenever it's great inside the venue, it's a different experience," East shares. "It's like drug-addict-junkie level – you just want to do it more and more. I wanted to capture that emotion on a record."
East's co-writes on Encore read like a who's who of songwriting giants: Chris Stapleton, Morgane Stapleton, Natalie Hemby and Ed Sheeran, to name a few. But, according to East, it's the songwriters more than the performers that he most closely relates to.
"I never really had the goal of being the artist," East explains. "My day job was a recording engineer, and I really loved writing songs. So I was like, hell, if I can get a publishing deal, that would be amazing."
The Alabama native adds that, for him, songwriting is best done when he can collaborate with others.
"I've got buddies who pretty much write by themselves, like Jason Isbell," says East. "That's just not my process, because I tend to get really dark. I did that for so long, thinking a true artist has to find this knotted-up version of themselves and untangle it within a song. I would much rather have fun doing this thing that I love in every aspect."
East is spending most of 2018 on the road, as his is girlfriend, Miranda Lambert. Their busy careers make the romance challenging, but East says they find a way to make it work.
"There's a true admiration there and a large level of understanding on both sides, for sure," Anderson says. "It's always difficult to be a traveling musician and still keep things together. Understanding is definitely a huge factor."0comments
Photo Credit: Instagram/AndersonEast