Kansas-native TuneCore Artist Logan Mize describes himself as ‘an honest and new voice for the everyman.’ The singer, songwriter and burgeoning country star has been distributing albums and singles through TuneCore since 2012, making a name for himself in the Nashville scene and beyond. Mize has found himself behind the camera in recent years, too: appearing in a nationally televised commercial alongside Nashville TV star Hayden Panettiere and on an episode of the CW’s Hart of Dixie.
After several years of life on the indie label Big Yellow Dog, Mize is celebrating being signed to Arista. Proving that working hard, gathering the right kind of support, and establishing yourself as a supporting member of your scene, Logan is true inspiration for aspiring indie country artists and songwriters. We discuss his recent signing, influences, and performing live in the interview below:
When did you know you wanted to start making music?
Logan Mize: I started playing piano around age 7, but wasn’t really aware I had a singing voice until I was 14 or 15. I was always too shy to sing in front of people. By the time I was 16 it was all I could think about.
Who were your earlier or initial country influences that first clicked?
Alan Jackson at age 8, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Loveless.
Tell us about your first couple of years in the Nashville music community. How did you make yourself stand out?
I spent alot of time trying to put bands together and learning how to play and sing with a band. I’d bring new songs in and see what arrangements worked. Out of all that I was able to find my own identity as a songwriter and musician, and I think that will always be evolving.
With so much publishing and label activity in Nashville, what was your experience with Big Yellow Dog like?
Big Yellow Dog has been a great company to work with. They’ve been very invested in my career. They see things from a Nashville perspective, whereas I have been on the road seeing what fans react to. So at times our opinions have differed significantly, but we’ve done well at continuing to find a balance and work towards a common goal together.
You released your 2012 album Nobody In Nashville using TuneCore for distribution. What kind of doors did that open for your career?
It was another step in the right direction. Through Tunecore we were able to set up our pre-sale and predict our first week numbers. We hit #48 on Billboard as a newer independent act, and that was in 2012 when digital sales were higher across the board than they are now. If we released that album to the same number of buyers this week I think we’d easily be in the top #20 Billboard sales our first week. It was a great way to turn some heads.
How would you describe your experience using TuneCore?
It’s wonderful! Christmas comes once a month when I get to check my TuneCore balance and sales reports. It’s very user-friendly. I’ve never had an issue.
You’ve had the opportunity to share the stage with some really big country names in a short time! Tell us about one of your favorite live performances or tours.
My favorites to open for have been Dierks, Will Hoge, Little Big Town, and Randy Rogers Band. Everyone was great, really, but those four stand out as performers who really care about other people and are actually aware that there is an opening band they have the option to go listen to. I’m sure they were busy with meet and greets and whatever requests there normally are before a show, but they all made the time to listen and acknowledge us. Just being a friendly, genuine person goes a long way.
Congrats on your recent signing to Arista! For aspiring independent country artists hoping to follow a similar path, what advice do you have to offer?
Thank you! I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to seek advice from me…haha. I’ve made about every wrong turn you can make along the way. But I’d say that just staying in your own lane and not getting impatient to jump to the next step in your career is important. Enjoy the hard times and don’t be negative. That decade of grinding it out for no money and no glory is where your sound, your style, your swagger, your humility, and all those crazy road stories come from. Be kind and thoughtful to EVERYONE along the way…even if they don’t return the favor.
Making the transition from an indie like Big Yellow Dog to Arista is quite the jump. What are you looking forward to most, and what do you owe this success to?
I’m looking forward to not handling the ins and outs of every little detail. It will be great to have a team around me to help continue to build the brand. I owe the success to the folks around me that have believed in me through the very, very lean times when it didn’t seem like actually having a music career was possible. Those who inspired me to to stay persistent and never give in.
Obviously recording and performing are passions of yours, but where do you fit in time to write songs for other artists? What can you tell us about your process?
I typically just write for me. I never have another artist in mind, as I can barely keep up with the ideas I have for myself. I’ve probably just gotten lucky a few times.
Heading into 2015, what do you consider to be the biggest challenges for independent country musicians?
Obviously the biggest challenge is still country radio, but it’s getting to the point that a true individual with the right drive and good business sense can carve out a nice career in country music without country radio. It seems like the list of great country independents is growing every year. It seems really hopeful for someone not willing to play the corporate game.
Conversely, where do you see the greatest opportunities for those hoping to take their career to the next level?
SiriusXM The Highway has been crucial for me. John Marks gave me an opportunity to build an undeniable demand in the market for what it is I’m doing. Between that and the growing live hard ticket sales, its hard for an industry executive to look the other way.