Interview ©Muriel Genty - Photos © Gérôme Simonnot - David Schaefer © Country France -
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Translation in French
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Official Site of Clay Walker.
Clay Walker headlined two shows at the Country Nights Festival in Gstaad, Switzerland, on the 20th and 21st of September 2002.

Other artists performing at the show were David Holt, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Chely Wright.
If before the entrance of Clay Walker the public was already very warm, the handsome texan got the crowd rise to its feet, with his great voice, his incredible presence and energy on stage and a diverse musical set satisfying all tastes.

Check out our exclusive interview in which the singer talks about his new Christmas and RCA albums!
CF: First of all, I’d like to know what your musical influences are?
CW: I have several musical influences but mainly just the radio, most of the artists that were played on the radio. Growing up I listened very close and sang along with every song, male or female. But I also had some unusual influences. I liked a group called Boston which is a rock n’ roll group when I was growing up. But the biggest country influence would be Merle Haggard.

CF: During your show yesterday evening, you played a lot of different styles of music, new country, spanish music, bluegrass, rock n’ roll. Was that to please all the tastes of the audience or because you like yourself to play a lot of different styles?
CW: I do like a little bit of everything. And I also think that people are very diverse. To me I don’t like to have fried chicken every day, I just like it one day a week. I like steak one night, and pasta. So, I try to give everybody a variety of music. Plus, as far as the Spanish goes, I’m learning Spanish and I love the language, I’m trying to learn French as well. I just think that the more that you can relate to people, the more people that are gonna hear your music.
CF: Being from Texas, country’s in your heart. What do you think of the country music that’s being done in Nashville at the moment, as compared with the country music from Texas?
CW: You know I could have a closed mind to it but I don’t. I think that when you look at the artists, if they are doing the kind of music that they want to do and they’re doing what’s in their hearts and people are liking it and buying it, then they must be good. No matter what it is, if it’s from Texas or if it’s from Nashville or if it’s from Zurich.
CF: Can you tell me about the Fan Fair fan club party / benefit raising that you had at the Wildhorse Saloon last June with Chely Wright, for Chely’s Reading, Writing and Rhythm Foundation?
CW: I’ve known Chely for 9 years and Chely did some shows with us whenever we first started out, and she first started out, and we’ve been friends since then, not extremely close but just good friends and we have the same management company in Nashville and she was doing the charity and had several acts on the show so I went down and volunteered. It’s a very good cause, I think Chely’s a very smart lady. And the main reason why I wanted to do this was because I knew that whatever money was generated from the show and from the charity, all of it would be used for the right reason.
CF: Can you tell me about your 2 new albums, your first Christmas album, and your first RCA album?

CW: The Christmas album we just made should be coming out right now. The thing I like about it so much is all of the songs are standards.

No written, new material. I would rather personally sing along to a standard myself. So I just put myself in other people’s place.

The thing I like the most about it is that it has orchestra, strings, horns, real orchestra, its costs a lot of money to make.

And the RCA album is by far the most diverse album that I’ve ever made and it gives people a really good look at what I’m about. I think this album probably symbolizes me best. This album is very special.
CF: What will be the first single off of the RCA album?

CW: I think the first single off of this record is going to be a song called “A Few Questions”.

CF: How will this new album be different from the previous ones musically speaking?

CW: The material that was given to me to record is very different soundly. I wrote a few of the songs, I actually wrote a song called “Jesus Was A Country Boy”, it’s very different, kind of a bold statement.

My previous album, “Say No More” I’m very proud of that album, I probably sang better on “Say No More” than I ever sang before, and I try really hard to give everything I have on every album, but in the new RCA album there’s a lot of emotion and a lot of my heart went into this album and it’s something that I think I’ll look back on in 10, 20 years and say “I’m really proud of that particular one”.
And you hope that each album you make is better than the last, but this one would definitely make a statement. It will be different from the albums that we made before in some ways. There are some songs that I think will definitely get a rise out of people.
CF: You recorded and wrote the official theme song for the newest National Football League expansion team the Houston Texans, “Houston Texans Fight Song”. Tell me about that experience?

CW: A dream come true. I’ve always wanted to be part of the NFL in some way. I guess it’s like soccer is in Europe, football is to us in America.

It was great to see the cheerleaders performing to the song, to know that the team wanted that song as their theme song. I performed it on the first game and they beat the Dallas Cowboys.
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That was a part of History and you know no matter what happens I’ll always be part of History because we wrote the song for them.
Copyright photo Fan Fair : David Schaefer
CF: You also played at the Astrodome for the Houston Livestock Rodeo. How was it to play in front of such a huge crowd?
CW: Oh, it’s wonderful, especially when it’s your hometown.

CF: What do you think of the European public?
CW: This is my very first show outside of the continental US. It’s amazing to me how far country music has sprayed and how much people really love it. And it seems like people that are here are really fanatical about country music. In the States there are people that are fanatical but here it seems like they’re listening to every word and they feel it more and there’s something very different about it. And the people here seem to take more time in a conversation with each other. If you notice two people talking in swiss german or whatever, even though I can’t understand them I can tell they’re interested in each other’s conversation and it think that relationships here are probably a little bit more important to individuals locally. And it means a lot to me to be here. I’m looking forward to coming to Paris, too!

CF: Clay, thanks a lot for answering our questions. We sure hope to see you back in Europe sometime soon.
lLeft : Journalist Muriel Genty and Clay Walker during the interview in Gstaad Festival.
Interview © Muriel Genty - © Country France -

Contact for Muriel Genty

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