Eric Church on His Success as a Songwriter: 'I Try to Put Myself in the Most Uncomfortable Situations'

He hasn't had a lot of No. 1 hits, but that isn't how Eric Church measures his success. The 42-year-old would much rather be honest –– even brutally so –– in his music, and have his fans relate to what he says, than have a bunch of songs land at the top of the charts, but have his songs lack any personal connection.

"I try to put myself in the most uncomfortable situations," Church said during Country Radio Seminar (via CMT). "I make sure it's hard, and make sure it's left-footed. For me, it's about chasing that thing that's really hard to catch. It's elusive."

Church has had plenty of songs that his fans latched on to, including "Love Your Love the Most" and "Like Jesus Does," even though they failed to make it al the way to No. 1.

"There have been some spectacular crashes and some spectacular successes," Church said. "That spirit. That freedom of when you play music here (in your heart) and not here (in your mind), it matters. I believe people feel that."

Thankfully, Church isn't nearly as interested in chart positions as he is in making music his fans enjoy.

"You can have 20 No. 1 hits — I don't know what that's like — but a lot of time there's no differentiation," Church acknowledged. "You can also have no No. 1 songs, or you can name seven to 10 songs. It's a lot about how that speaks to the audience, what it says and does it stand out.

"We spent our entire career trying to be different when a lot of the stuff is molded to be the same," he continued. "We always wanted to make people go, 'What is this? Who is this?' That's how we build that story."

Church knows there are plenty of artists who have far surpassed him on the charts, time and time again, not that he cares.

"The journey for me going through those things was where I found out more about myself as a songwriter and as a performer," admitted the singer. "I had more stories to tell and more hunger and more passion. All those guys and girls that were passing me on the charts — that was bugging me. But I was able to put that in here (in my heart).

"I wanted the music to get the attention it deserved," he continued. "I finally decided I'm not going to be somebody else to have commercial success short term. I saw a lot of that. Guys and girls who had one or two or three hits, but then never got wider, and then the next artist came along."


Photo Credit: Getty / Erika Goldring