Lawson Bates grew up in the hills of Tennessee, where music, family, and his faith in God were instrumental in his background. He prayed to become a Christian as an 11-year-old. At eighteen, he began working in Nashville with award winning instrumentalist and producer Andy Leftwich on his first solo album, Freedom Sure Ain't Free. The album featured two original titles. In 2015, he released the single "I Thought I Had Problems" to raise awareness and support for global disaster relief. He released his second single, "I Will Always" in 2016, which climbed to 46 on the iTunes country charts and all the way to number one on Amazon traditional country.
Lawson has recently released his first full country album What Country Means to Me, an album that consists of originals coming from Lawson's pen as well as significant covers. In fact, Lawson wrote and co-wrote eight of the twelve songs on the new album.The set also features some of Nashville's top artists and musicians.
Lawson also stars with his parents and 18 siblings in the hit reality television series Bringing Up Bates.
Q: Thanks Lawson for this interview. As I was listening to this record, I have to say I love the fact that you do tell some great stories in your songs. Who influenced you the most in terms of songwriting?
For me, country music is all about the stories, and finding the best way to share the emotion you feel with the listener. Most of the inspiration for this album came from personal experiences.
Q: Also, many of the songs have great melodies. Does songwriting come easy for you?
Well, about 80% of a song comes super easy for me, but the last 20% sometimes takes forever haha. I'm very much a perfectionist and maybe sometimes to a fault.
Q: One of the songs that I keep returning to is "Time." It has a simple title, but the story is so profound. For our readers who have not heard it, tell us what the song's about. How did this song come about?
Coming from a very close family it's been a little tough for me working in Nashville and traveling as much as I do lately and it kinda made me think about how it's so easy for all of us to get caught up in the rat race of success while often neglecting what matters most; relationships. That's the inspiration behind "time"It's also a song I wrote without any cowriters, so it has a special place.
Q: You have picked some interesting covers for this record. Why Frank Sinatra's "The Way You Looked Tonight"? You don't find this on most country albums.
A few of my biggest Musial influences are Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, but I was really on the fence about covering "The Way You Look Tonight" because this is a country record, but after telling my family I was considering it and talking with my producer about it they loved it and wouldn't let me back out of the idea lol. The band helped bridge the big band & Country music worlds nicely and it turned out to be one of my favorites on the record!
Q: Another cover is Aaron Tippin's "You've Got to Stand for Something," which I love. Why did you pick this?
I feel that a lot of country music has kinda lost it's heart; the songs about faith, values, standing up for what's right even when it isn't popular, those are the kind of songs that really inspire me, and that's the reason I chose "You've Got To Stand For Something" as one of the few covers on the album.
Q: Emily Ann Roberts gets to sing with you on a couple of songs. Tell us more about who she is?
Emily was runner up on Season 9 of NBC's The Voice and is from my hometown. We met at a local event and became friends. We share a lot of the same musical influences and I thought she'd be a great fit to collaborate with. "I Have Decided" is probably my favorite song on the record.
Q: Many of your songs have a strong moral and spiritual undertone. Tell us a little about your faith.
My faith really isn't just a part of what I do, it's who I am and even though I sing and write about many different life experiences, my ultimate goal as a believer is to glorify God in all that I do! I hope that always shows through in my music.
Q: What does country means to you?
It's simplicity, a slower pace, faith, integrity, honoring those who gave all, a way of life, not just a place on a map.That's what country means to me:)