By Kelly Potts
Fresh off touring with Florida Georgia Line, country music up-and-comer Frankie Ballard is bringing old-school country back to the radio.
With hits like “Sunshine and Whiskey”, and recent release “Started with a Beer”, Ballard has taken country radio by storm. We had a chance to catch up with the star in anticipation of his free show 6 p.m. Saturday, March 26 at UltraStar Amphitheater Maricopa.
AFM: Thanks for taking time this morning to chat with me. I am excited for your show at UltraStar. I know you have played shows in Arizona before – what keeps you coming back?
Frankie: The fans! There are so many country fans out in Arizona, its pretty great. But, truthfully, I will go play a show anywhere as long as fans show up and want to sing and dance along. I’ve found that every time I play in Arizona.
AFM: What was your inspiration growing up to get into country music?
Frankie: Growing up my dad always played the classics, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings – you name it. We would just play them and sing along by the campfire. I really got serious about it after high school.
AFM: What changed and made you want to make this a career?
Frankie: Well, I started writing songs. After you write a song, you want feedback. You think the song is good but you want it to be judged and see. Turns out some of them were good. I feel blessed to be in this industry and blessed that I am able to do what I love to do.
AFM: What has been your inspiration throughout your career?
Frankie: To get better – write better songs, perform better, make my next album better. Just to be better. There is always room for improvement and that’s what keeps the fans coming back!
AFM: Your music is very different from the likes of Sam Hunt and Florida Georgia Line – what is the influence behind yours?
Frankie: I love those guys, after being on tour with FGL and seeing them perform their hearts out and what makes them tick, was amazing. They are definitely inspired by more pop and R&B, where as I love the old school rock and roll vibe. But that’s the amazing thing about country music; there is so much room for both. There always has been.
AFM: What is your favorite song to play live?
Frankie: Right now, has to be “Sunshine and Whiskey”, or “Young and Crazy”. That’s the stuff the fans know and came to see, so you bet we are going to play that for them.
AFM: How does social media play into your career?
Frankie: It’s the best – I love interacting with fans on Twitter and Instagram. And, its great to get that immediate feed back and see the show from their experience. They are tagging me and Tweeting me what they loved, what they saw… its pretty great.
AFM: Who would you love to tour with?
Frankie: Hands down, Keith Urban. I think that would be a fun show. We are both guitar guys so it could be pretty awesome. And just to see his show from stage every night and see him do his thing, that would b e one of the best parts.