Jason Aldean set to take on Australian country charts
JASON Aldean is a name known among many of Australia's country music aficionados.
But he's no household name like our most successful export Keith Urban.
Soon he will be, though, if he finds even a portion of the success he has had in the US in recent years.
The 37-year-old had the fastest selling single of last year in America.
He beat the likes of Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, Beyonce and Ed Sheeran when his song Burnin' It Down went platinum (one million copies sold) in just nine weeks.
The song is the lead single off his sixth studio album Old Boots, New Dirt, which reached No. 1 on the US Billboard albums chart in October. That's the overall Top 100 albums chart, not the country music chart.
He's the second country musician to do so, along with The Voice US coach Blake Shelton.
Rounding out his trio of impressive accolades is Aldean's enviable position as the top-selling male country singer of the digital era, ever, with more than 21 million downloads to his name.
"We felt good about it (releasing Old Boots, New Dirt) but you never know," Aldean says over the phone from Kentucky.
"Obviously you've got a bit of that nervousness when you put anything new like that out there.
"But they (the fans) showed up for us when the album came out. It's been a good ride."
Aldean has never been to Australia, and until yesterday had never released any of his music here.
Sony Music has made Old Boots, New Dirt, as well as his entire back catalogue of albums and DVDs, available to Aussie fans.
"We want to make that an annual thing for ourselves where we tour there for a month or whatever every year," he says.
"Australia has been a big part of the conversation the past few months. We'll probably get there next year if not the end of this year."
When I speak to him he's in the final few days of rehearsals before his American arena tour with fellow leading man Kenny Chesney.
The tour is punctuated with a string of Aldean's first European dates in Norway, Sweden, Ireland and London's O2 stadium.
The Georgia native moved to America's country music capital Nashville when he was 21 and has been based there since.
"Nashville kind of accepts everybody with open arms; it's a cool town," he says.
"I moved there as a songwriter and a lot of people there in the songwriting community accepted me. You know, I was a 21-year-old kid. I thought I knew a lot at the time but looking back I didn't know a whole lot (laughs)."
Aldean's interests in music are wide-ranging, and he credits his 11-year-old daughter for keeping him up to date on the latest hits.
"I've always been a fan of good music. I really don't care what it is … if it's good it's good," he says.
"I will maybe pick something out of a Lil Wayne song or an Adele song or a Sam Smith song or whatever.
"I think you can pull ideas and get inspired by any artist at any time. It's just about being open-minded and looking at it that way."