Seth Ennis is a star very much on the rise in the world of Country music.
The singer-songwriter made his first trip over to the UK back in March to perform at C2C: Country and Country and he picked up quite the buzz. Following the release of his debut EP Mabelle, Ennis recently returned to the UK to support Little Big Town on their UK tour.
I sat down with Seth at the end of the tour to find out what his experiences in the UK have been like, discuss writing his new single Fast Girl with the late Andrew Dorff, and talk about his plans to come back to the UK.
You got a standing ovation at the Royal Albert Hall after your set supporting Little Big Town. What was that like for you?
I have no words for it! It was pretty incredible and I never thought that would happen. I never thought I’d be playing the Royal Albert Hall in the first place so early in my career so I owe that to Little Big Town for bringing me out. To have a response like that was pure magic.
I don’t know if you could see from the stage but there were some very enthusiastic women in the front who knew every word to every song…
Yeah I did see that. I know those girls because I’ve met them when I played C2C here. They came to a meet and greet and then they actually came to shows like CMA Fest in Nashville. I saw them again when they came to a couple of shows that I’ve done out here with Little Big Town. It’s pretty cool when you have fans that are willing to see you that much and not get sick of you.
Let’s talk about your C2C experience. It’s such a massive event and you were exposed to thousands of people. How was that for your first introduction to the UK?
It was incredible man. I released my E.P. called Mabelle a week before I came to C2C. I thought that if people came to see me or knew who I was it was probably because of Woke Up in Nashville because that song had been out longer and it was the single at the time. What blew my mind is that I had songs that were only out for a couple of days and people at C2C were already singing the words to these brand new songs. It was really cool and it made me that much more excited to come back on the Little Big Town this Fall.
There was so much buzz around you at C2C. I think your name and Drake White’s are the ones that came up time and time again over the course of that weekend…
Yeah it’s cool man! It’s a weird feeling but it’s definitely makes you feel good when people when people like your.
What’s it been like being on the road with Little Big Town?
Oh it’s incredible man. They’re the best people in the business. I mean they’ve been through it all so they can give you advice on anything. They’re not off limits. They’ll hang out. They love to hang and they just do things the right way. I’ve learned so much from them and not just from a performance aspect but how to treat people. I love them, they’re like family to me.
Do you see a point in the future where you may collaborate with them in some way?
Oh yeah. Well we supposed to write out here and then we all got this little bug so we we decided we’re going to wait till we get back and write. We’ll definitely make some music.
Your EP Mabelle has had a fantastic reception and people seem to be loving it. How are you feeling about the response it’s received?
So far so good. Everyone has been really cool to me, especially over in the UK and that’s why it’s been cool to play over here more. I love to play my music for people who want to hear it and that’s what I’ve had so much fun playing over here. The response been great and I’m just ready to finish the rest of the record and get the full length out.
Fast Girl is the new single here in the UK. What’s the story behind that song?
[00:03:41] I wrote that song with this guy named Andrew Dorff, who was one of the best lyricists of all time in Nashville. He passed away this past year. He came in with that song title one day and we ended up writing that song. It’s even more special now to sing, especially with him being gone. He always had white wine in one hand and a cigar in the other hand and he was always dancing around. I actually have a video on my phone of us at his house listening to the demo and he’s dancing to it. That’s the picture I have in my mind when I play it all the time now.
I imagine you must have had a wealth of material to choose from when it came to putting out Mabelle. Was it difficult to choose the a handful of tracks to include on it?
Oh yeah. It was really tough especially as the writer of them you like them all or you want to have them all out. I wrote probably 500 songs in the last two years. It was hard to narrow that down and that’s why you know I have awesome people on my team that helped me make those decisions. I’m really proud of what I put out so far.
What do you do with all of the songs you’re not using? Do you store them up for the future or pitch them to other artists?
Yeah I store ’em and sometimes they get cut by other artists. I love writing songs for other artists too. I’m never like the one who would ever hold on to a song… although actually I did one time! I did with Woke Up in Nashville because some other people wanted it but I ended up keeping that one for myself. I’m always willing to write for other people.
Is there a little part of you that finds it hard to let go of a track incase the artist who records it interprets it differently than you intended?
Yes there is that but at the same time I think it’s an honour however they interpret the song and how they put it out like. I think it’s cool. I guess it’s another artist’s complete take on something that you’ve done and it’s really, really humbling. I feel honoured every time it happens.
Has there been a song that you’ve given away to another artist and then wished you kept it for yourself?
No. I try to not have any regrets. I’m proud of all the music I put out and here’s the deal, if I wrote a song and another artist cut it and I wanted to cut it later on, then I’ll just go cut it (laughs).
During your recent UK shows you debuted a new song titled Call Your Momma, and guilt-tripped all of us in the audience who have neglected to do just that for a while. Where did that song come from?
My momma is like a good old southern belle woman from the south. She’s sweet but she’s a handful. Every time she I call her on the phone and we talk, I listen to her talk for two hours and I can’t get off the phone. It’s about the most random things like small town drama, you know what I mean? What’s going on at church and Sunday school and stuff like that in the family. If I’m going to call my momma I know to set aside this time and I don’t get to call her a lot because I don’t have a lot of time these days. She always texts me ‘call your momma, call your momma, call your momma’. I was going in to a song write one day and then she text me that so I was like, ‘I’m going to write that song today’. I wrote it with Michael Hardy and we wrote it in like 20 minutes. It was the quickest I’ve ever written a song. That was a couple of weeks ago and we don’t even have it recorded. My momma came to a show in Birmingham because she’s visiting friends over here and so I surprise her and played it for her. Karen from Little Big Town asked me to play it again last night so I did it again.
You mentioned that you are working towards a full-length record. Whereabouts in the process are you with that and will any of the songs from Mabelle be included?
It’ll probably be a mixture. When I get home on Sunday I’ve set aside some time until the end of the year to be able to go into the Studio B in Nashville, write and continue to record, and try to finish this record up and get it out as soon as possible.
What kind of a person are you in the studio? Are you very hands or do you like it to be more organic?
I’m definitely more hands on. I think it’s just because one, I care so much, and two, when you’re a songwriter you hear things a certain way. Because I play a little bit of everything my ears are hearing the bass do this and the drums do this and guitar do this and piano do this. I know I want this link here but I want to play it on that. I’m pretty all over the place.
I’m assuming that you are your own worst critic when you’ve actually recorded music and you listen to it back?
Yeah I so many edits all the time and just go over and redo stuff and redo stuff and try to get as perfect as I can..
Do you have any plans to come back to the UK for your own headline tour?
Yeah we’re trying to work that out right. We’re trying to already get back because it works out so well every time I come so as soon as I can get back I’ll be back!
Have you been surprised by how passionate Country music fans are here in the UK?
I would say at C2C I was surprised but after I saw it once, I was kind of hoping for it to be the same on this on this tour and it was so that’s been awesome!
I heard people talking on my train home about you…
Oh that’s awesome. I think word of mouth is the best way to get your music out so that’s cool to hear.
You’re going to be concentrating on finishing your album but is there anything else you want to achieve in the next few months?
I just want to really focus on getting the record done and making it as best as I can make it. When you’re traveling all the time, which I have been this year on tours and stuff which has been awesome, you don’t have a lot of time to be back in the studio and making a record. I’m really excited to get back in the studio and do what I love to do.
How do you mentally and physically prepare for a gruelling touring schedule?
I’m not a really scripted person so I drive my management crazy all the time because they always ask me what I’m going to say and I’m like, ‘I don’t know’. I never know what I’m going to say. Whatever I say is literally whatever’s on top of my head but I think my fans like it the best when they feel like we’re friends, and we are friends. I don’t really mentally do anything to prepare, I just go do it! Physically I will say when I started my first big tour this year was with Florida Georgia Line there was a lot of running around and it’s a way bigger stage that I’m used to. I did have to start working out way more intense because you have to learn how to sing when you’re running. When I grew up I played small stages so I was always in one spot. I’ve definitely had to up the working out game so I can breathe better.
Seth Ennis’ EP Mabelle is available to stream and download now.