FYIG recently had the chance to chat with country music artist Karac Hendriks. Find out more inside about Karac’s journey from supporting musician to a solo artist and his new single and upcoming album both entitled This Road is Mine.
Tell us a little bit about yourself outside of music before we dive into your career.
Well, I am a proud husband and father…and a bit of a television snob. Netflix is fine, but I need Crave and Prime and especially Qello! Our PVR recording list is reviewed and updated often. That being said, I still haven’t seen the shows most people ask me about…
How did you get your start in music?
It started with a Fisher Price record player and a ukulele that I’d cart around. I started singing on stage by age 4 and learning mandolin by age 6. By age 8, I was on to guitar and I haven’t looked back.
What did you learn from your years as a supporting artist that you’ve applied to your career as a solo artist?
I have been fortunate enough to have worked with so many successful Canadian country artists as a supporting musician (Gord Bamford, Adam Gregory, Ronnie Prophet, etc.). Each of them demonstrated so much to me about the importance of professionalism and not losing perspective. It’s very easy to get caught up in the fervor of this business with traveling logistics, chart positions, etc. But staying focused on delivering the best songs to the audience helps keep the craziness at bay.
What challenges, if any, did you face establishing yourself as a solo artist?
Working as a supporting musician for other artists exposed me to the realities of how hard this business really is. I found it very fulfilling to be a supporting musician, but the desire to write and perform my own music just wouldn’t go away. My wife and I finally decided that I needed to do whatever it takes for me to become a solo artist in my own right. It puts a lot of strain on our household with me being gone so much, but I am definitely the happiest I have ever been in my life once I got out of my own way.
How would you describe your musical style?
I always say proudly that I am a “country” artist. But like all artists, my tastes and influences stretch far beyond just “country”. I’ve been told that I have a Keith Urban vibe and that my voice sounds like Garth Brooks, and people have really picked up on the influence of rockers like Bryan Adams and John Mellencamp with my new single This Road Is Mine.
You performed at the opening ceremonies for the 2012 Special Olympics and the Grey Cup Festival. What did those experiences mean to you?
Singing my song that was inspired by the athletes of the Canada Winter Games at the opening ceremonies was very surreal…and such an honour. The Grey Cup Festival, too, was an unforgettable experience…and boy was it cold on the stage that day! I was in full parka if I recall.
You recently launched a new single entitled This Road is Mine. Tell us a little bit about this song.
I wrote this song with Clayton Bellamy of the Road Hammers. He and I grew up in east-central Alberta around the same time but didn’t know each other when we were younger. I had been hanging on to this title and concept for a while, and we started swapping stories about our experiences growing up out in that part of the world. I think there is something in this song that everyone can relate to, and I’m so glad that I was able to write it with Clay.
What can listeners expect from your upcoming sophomore album also entitled This Road is Mine?
This is a unique release in that it is basically a compilation of singles that I have released over the past year online wrapping up with the title track. I’m referring to it as a Playlist or a Mixtape – in fact, I even did a small run of cassettes for this album! The styles on the album are quite varied too, which should give new listeners an idea of how wide my musical influences are.
You worked on the song with CCMA award-winning producer Mike Little. How was your experience working with him?
I’ve been watching this guy from the side of the stage for a long time as he has spent many years as a supporting musician as well. But his true calling is as a producer, just as mine is as an artist. His ability to take even the most casual listener of a song on a ride with his productions…well, I don’t even know how to describe it. That’s the magic of music I guess. I’m so lucky that he agreed to work with me, and I know that we will continue working together as much as possible.
Which country artists have influenced your music? Which ones would you like to work with?
Well, I always have to give credit to Charlie Major. As a Canadian singer-songwriter when I was growing up, there just wasn’t anyone better…and there still really isn’t. In This Road Is Mine, I have the line “mixtape in the stereo, Charlie Major on full blast” – that about sums up my road trips back home! As for new ones I’d like to work with, I would love to write and duet with Caitlyn Smith. Her album Starfire is world-class!
What’s the experience like at one of your live shows?
As a lifelong musician, I take my live shows very seriously. If I’m performing solo acoustic or with my band, I make sure that there is a solid variety of familiar cover songs from all eras that compliment my original songs. And depending on my mood sometimes those familiar cover songs get a bit altered by way of mash-ups and rap breakdowns. Oh, and I’m a terrible rapper so I’m a bit more like Beck than Kendrick.
Do you have any performances coming up?
I have a number of shows in western Canada over the next year and hope to make it all across Canada over the next year or two.
What are your future goals for your career?
My goal over next few years is to be a country artist that continues to live and work in Canada. This is a big country and I want to share my music with as many Canadians in person as possible.
What advice would you have for aspiring music artists?
My advice to aspiring music artists is to just keep creating while figuring out what you expect from your creations. There are many different avenues in which to have your music heard and monetized, and none of them are right or wrong. And please join your local music industry association! It’s not expensive and you will get connected with creators and business contacts to help you figure this crazy business out.
Let the readers know where they can find you online.