An obsession turned this singer from engineering to music.
GREAT AMERICAN COUNTRY
You could say it's Keith Anderson's time. Even though the 37-year-old singer/songwriter already has racked up a Grammy nomination and a ton of sales for songs he's written for others, all eyes are now squarely on Anderson's public persona.
At the same time his debut album, "Three Chord Country and American Rock and Roll," was being released, he can be found in People magazine's 50 Hottest Bachelors issue, as well as on "Today" and "Access Hollywood." Not bad for a newcomer.
"As a new artist you're just hoping people notice you any way possible just so you can get your music to them," says Anderson. "Then you just hope they dig the music."
The Oklahoma-born singer was an honors graduate in engineering from Oklahoma State University and had a well-paying 9-to-5 existence when his obsession with music changed all that. Anderson moved to Nashville in '98, waiting tables and forging relationships with some of that city's top tunesmiths.
Many of those early relationships remain strong: Anderson's debut disc was co-produced by hit songwriter Jeffrey Steele and John Rich of Big & amp; Rich. "I've been writing and working with Jeff and John for five years or more, so it was very natural in the studio," Anderson says when discussing working with producers who also are songwriters and performers. "I think the whole creative process was different because we all ... know what works for us vocally and musically on stage as well as in the studio. I don't care how great the recording is, if you can't reproduce the sound and energy on stage it's a worthless cause."
The one-time competitive bodybuilder co-wrote every track on his debut album, a rare feat for a newcomer. "A few of the songs on the record were pitched to everybody in town, but nobody at the time was interested," he admits. "I think certain songs just fit certain artists and these were definitely songs that came from my life. Maybe I was the only one that was going to make them work and come to life."
And he seems to know what he's talking about as the project's first single, "Pickin' Wildflowers," became a Top 10 country hit single and video.
Although Anderson says he wasn't the world's best waiter in those early days in Music City, he always had a CD handy in case any of his music industry customers asked for one.
So is he open to accepting CDs from folks who are serving him dinner or parking his car? "I'll just say this: I never gave a demo to anyone unless they asked for it first. But I was always ready in case they did!"