Hot Chelle Rae once didn't quite know if they'd make it. But after their standout hit "Tonight, Tonight" went double platinum, there was no more doubt of these Nashville natives' place in the Pop Rock world. The 2011 winners of the AMA's "Best New Artist" aren't settling anytime soon. After nearly 50 million combined YouTube views, they've jumped aboard Justin Bieber's "Believe" tour alongside Mike Posner. I spoke with HCR's lead guitarist, Nash Overstreet, about an upcoming album, growing up with a Glee star, and his country songwriting upbringing.
NUVO: You guys are currently on tour with Justin Bieber and Mike Posner. How has that been going so far?
Nash Overstreet: It's been amazing. All of the shows are completely sold out. Arenas across the country. You know, Mike's a really good friend of ours, so it's cool being out there with him. You know, we're able to hang out. Teachin' him some guitar lessons and every now and then we'll go out with Justin and hit up a spot, see some things that we haven't seen before.
NUVO: When you think of Justin Bieber, you think of his die-hard fan base, the Beliebers. What has your impression of them been so far?
Overstreet: [They've] been amazing. The fans that know our music are listening to our brand new music that we haven't played at any shows before this. The fans that never heard us, they seem to be loving it. They're jumping right in and singing along and really enjoying it. It's been a great match up.
NUVO: This isn't the first time that you guys have toured with some big names. You've also toured with Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato. Have these multiple tours been comparable in how they've played out?
Overstreet: They all should be similar, but they all are totally different. The Demi Lovato tour was all outside, for the most part, at big amphitheaters and what not. This Justin Bieber tour has been all big arenas. Taylor Swift's tour was all arenas but in Australia. So the fans, the way that they react, has been totally different. Most definitely as loud. Being in a foreign country is a whole different thing anyways. It's been really cool to get different experiences and it's always new and exciting.
NUVO: You guys are slated for some stadiums like Chicago's United Center and the Bankers Life Fieldhouse here in Indianapolis. It seems like quite a way away from your earlier days. What's it like seeing how you all have progressed?
Overstreet: It's amazing. Knowing that back in 2005 when Ryan [Follese] and I met and were talking about where we wanted to be and what we wanted to do, and actually being able to do any part of that, and our goals, and anywhere around there, is incredible. It's exciting, it's inspiring, and makes us want to go out and do more. The second we play a new song at a new arena and people love it it's just like "Yes, all right, cool!" it gets us excited for the next single and the next album that's about to come out. It really gets us on our toes to make sure we do the best that we can every time we do it.
NUVO: Having formed back in 2005, you guys have had so many great accomplishments, but being together for that long is an accomplishment in its own sense. So many bands form and break up so early. You guys have been together for already 8 years now.
Overstreet: It's really wild to think about. It seems like a long time, but then it seems like not long at all. It's even in the same way of when we were younger, like 15 or 16, and before that and thought that we'd have a record out in a year, and it's like "No." Then we got a record deal in three years and by the time we were 21 we were still kind of dumbfounded because that seemed fast, even though it seemed like forever. Time kind of gets crazy when you're on a pathway that never has a definite future and you're just figuring it out as you go. I think that's why we love what we do. You definitely have to be a completely different breed to do music and enjoy it at all because you're gone from home and friends and family most of the time. You really have to be able to love going out night after night and playing and writing, creating. You have to be a little tortured. If you're gone that much, it's definitely a sacrifice. For us, it's worth it and it's totally what we like.
NUVO: Your dad was a country songwriter and your brother is on Glee. How music oriented were your earlier years?
Overstreet: Definitely heavily influenced by my surroundings, and the kind of household that we lived in. Both of my parents actually were involved with music. We were surrounded by studio musicians and [were] around producers and [saw] all of the inner workings of music. It was kind of like going to college when you're still in high school. It's really important and valuable and we never really knew what we were learning until we were older and had the frame of knowledge that we didn't know where it came from. It was really cool growing up in a musical house. My brother does the acting thing, kind of parallel to what I do with music. He does music as well. He'll hear our new songs, so when we are playing a new song on tour, that's like two months old to him.
NUVO: Did you ever see yourself following in your father's footsteps in country songwriting/performing, or was pop rock always what you liked best?
Overstreet: I always did what naturally happened. [My father] was always encouraging about that. As far as the whole country thing, I have written country and done country and played it, but it was never the most natural fit. I naturally fell into the pop rock. It's what I grew up listening to and what we enjoyed performing and creating. Whatever we do is usually the most natural thing that we are into at the moment and that we enjoy.
NUVO: Are there any updates on the album that is to be released this summer?
Overstreet: We are basically almost done with our future, upcoming album. It will hopefully be out by the end of the year, I'm sure. We've got a million songs written and mostly recorded. There's some stuff to finish up here and there. We've got several songs that we've mixed this past week. We are definitely looking forward to putting out a new single probably within a month. As that goes, you can never really tell. We're very optimistic about the next couple months. The new album should be out by the end of the year. It has a lot of cool tracks on it. We are super excited. As soon as we can stop keeping it a secret, that'll be the day that I'm really happy about.