ERIC PASLAY: DEBUT SPOTLIGHT

ERIC PASLAY: DEBUT SPOTLIGHT

Eric Paslay knows how to capture the attention of an audience and hold them in the palm of his hands.

Students perform with Eric Paslay at the Keep the Music Playing All Stars Concert on Jan. 28, 2014 at the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Photo by Donn Jones / CMA

Students perform with Eric Paslay at the Keep the Music Playing All Stars Concert on Jan. 28, 2014 at the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Photo by Donn Jones / CMA

All it takes is seeing the 6’4” singer/songwriter perform once to become hooked, a fact that has become obvious as he’s toured the country, opening for Little Big Town, The Eli Young Band, Jake Owen and others.

Paslay says his family never pushed him to play music, but supported his interest when he began playing guitar at 15. Even while building a reputation for his live show, he flirted briefly with a more stable career and during his early days in college, he planned on becoming a pediatric endocrinologist.

But music was too strong a passion to be ignored. Following a friend’s advice, he moved to Nashville and enrolled in Middle Tennessee State University. Just to get his foot in a door on Nashville’s famed Music Row, he did everything from help out at a charity golf tournament to change light bulbs in the NARAS office. He eventually landed a deal at Cal IV Publishing, where his songwriting credits include Jake Owen’s “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” as well cuts by Lady Antebellum and The Eli Young Band.

But the red-headed Texan moved to Nashville to perform, not just write. And even though EMI Records Nashville released his self-titled solo album debut on Feb. 1, his true love remains the stage.

Eric Paslay, second from the right, at the CMA Triple Play Awards on Jan. 29, 2013 at Marathon Music Works in Nashville, Tenn. Paslay received a Triple Play Award at the event.

Eric Paslay, second from the right, at the CMA Triple Play Awards on Jan. 29, 2013 at Marathon Music Works in Nashville, Tenn. Paslay received a Triple Play Award at the event. Photo by Donn Jones / CMA

“I love to entertain,” says Paslay, who has opened for Dierks Bentley, Clint Black, Eric Church, Blake Shelton and Little Big Town, among others. “The songs on this record are the ones that really connect when I played them live. When I write, I’d rather there be a little bit of hope in every song, even in the sad songs. With all the negativity everywhere these days, I’d like the positive to come out. A song can give you a little boost in confidence or make you fall in love deeper or dream higher.”

Who is your dream duet partner? “I’ve had the wild fortune of singing with some awesome icons so far – Sheryl Crow, Amy Grant. I’d love to sing with Dolly, Emmylou and Bono… the list could keep going!”

What albums are in your playlist? “U2 Greatest Hits, Kenny Rogers: You Can’t Make Old Friends, Coldplay: Xyloto and Emmylou Harris: Wrecking Ball.

What book is on your nightstand? “Bible.”

What song do you wish you’d written? “‘What a Wonderful World.’”

What word or phrase do you say over and over again? “THANK YOU!”

What actor would portray you in a biopic? “Conan O’Brien”

Bob DiPiero, Craig Morgan, Phil O'Donnell and Eric Paslay performs at CMA Songwriters Series and Joe's Pub in New York City on March 19, 2013. Photo by Kevin Yatarola

Bob DiPiero, Craig Morgan, Phil O’Donnell and Eric Paslay performs at CMA Songwriters Series and Joe’s Pub in New York City on March 19, 2013. Photo by Kevin Yatarola

What moment would you like to relieve? “Christmas with my whole family as a child.”

If you weren’t a musical artist, what would you be? “A carpenter or a pediatric endocrinologist.”

What’s been your greatest performance to date? “I hope it’s always the last show I played. But it was a privilege to play ‘Even If It Breaks Your Heart’ at the 2013 ASCAP awards. There was a magic in the air that night and I hope that I gave a little piece of hope to all the songwriters in the room.”

What was your first gig? “My first gig was singing ‘How Much Is That Doggie In The Window’ at my cousins wedding when I was about 4. I think I did rather well! Critics gave me 4 1/2 stars! Ha!”

CMA Members: Read more about Eric Paslay in the Feb/March 2014 issue of CMA Close Up!





Below, check out the official video of Eric’s hot new single, “Friday Night”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhQbhDjtreI

Also, check out the behind-the-scenes video of “Barefoot Bluejean Night,” a song Eric cowrote with  Dylan Altman and Terry Sawchuk:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfXikzfrsYo

By CMA