I walked over to meet the American Authors for my interview backstage at the MIX 94.1 Bite of Las Vegas music festival last weekend, but the band was busy snapping pictures with dozens of lucky fans who scored meet & greets. As I waited, I noticed how nervous girls were to be in their presence. When that wrapped up, I caught up with lead singer Zac Barnett to chat, but first I had to ask… what’s it like being a rock star?
“It can be a little strange, and it can take some getting used to in the sense of… you’re never in the same place for more than 12 hours or so, but it’s great. You get to see so many cool things and meet so many great people. It’s a dream come true for us.”
I imagine it’s hard being away from friends and family for extended periods of time.
“Definitely. You miss a lot of birthdays and different events that happen, but at the end of the day, ever since we were young kids, we’ve wanted to be in bands and tour and be performing musicians. While it does get tough, it’s great with all the modern technology. You’re able to Skype, and call and text. You can stay in contact so well. I can’t imagine how people stayed in contact before all this.”
This advance in technology, however, changed the music industry forever. Unless you’re Beyonce, it’s practically impossible to keep entire projects under wraps. Does this add or take away from a musician’s artistry?
“You no longer have the mystique of a musician or band,” Zac said. “It’s very rare that you can find that anticipation for something. Back in the day… you had to wait six months for that magazine feature just to see a picture of [the artist]. Now, you pull up any fake naked picture of anyone in a heartbeat. So, that’s kind of gone. The cool thing about it is it’s a great time for artist and fan interaction – you can really stay connected and get on a different level, and make it more about friendships nowadays.”
The downside for Zac is anyone can be a musician because they’re so many sharing platforms.
“Everyone can kind of stay relevant to a certain degree for a longer period of time. Everyone can always be recording for such a low cost, and always get their music out there however they want… there’s so many different ways to stay in the game and stay relevant… It makes it very oversaturated.”
What separates a basic ***** from a superstar? Having that “x” factor.
“To get ahead you need to have that quality. It’s not about that one single and the rest of the album’s ****. It’s about every track needs to be great. You really need to put the thought and the effort and the care into the music.”
“It’s about having everything in line.”
American Authors recently traveled back to the states from New Zealand and plan on performing several more festivals before they headline the Honda Civic tour (their biggest tour yet). Once that concludes, they’re back recording.
“We love to write. We love creating new songs and new ideas, so we are always writing. We’ll finish up touring around January and then find some time to get back in the studio and get some of these ideas down.”
Zac admits he’d love collaborations with Kanye West, Coldplay’s Chris Martin and One Republic’s Ryan Tedder.
“We just want to write the best songs we can. Just keep taking it as far as we can go, and having people sing along and relate to our music is a dream come true. We love that. If it’s music that we love, and other people can vibe off it and love it too, that’s great. We reach for the stars, and our dreams are as high as they could possibly go.”