American country singer Canaan Cox chats ahead of his show at the Banham Barrel
- Credit: Supplied by Brian McAllister
We caught up with American country-pop singer Canaan Cox ahead of his show at the Banham Barrel this weekend.
Despite the fact that he's only been releasing music for a few years, Canaan Cox grew up surrounded by musical influences.
"Mum played in a southern rock band, Dad wrote and still writes (we co-wrote Drinking to Forget), and grandma played the piano in church."
"Every family gathering we'd all bring our instruments and sit on the porch and have a "pick-n-grin" as we like to call it. Just pick a song, play, and switch instruments as we went along."
"It wasn't until about 2001 when I started gaining an idea of what I really loved as a listener and a musician; and that's when I discovered Michael Jackson."
Having grown up surrounded by music, Canaan Cox went on to study musical theatre at Catawba College in Salisbury NC.
"I've really looked at it as dedicating time. It's like they say, it's not work if you love it. Of course there were classes in college like Music Theory 4 that needed more dedication."
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It was the first song that he wrote during his freshman year at college that really made him serious about music.
"I demoed that song in the music building with my best friend on garage band and hearing it back I was hooked. Just hearing it all come together was an amazing feeling."
"I am a huge lover of imagination and it's so intriguing how thoughts and ideas in your head can play out. There are times I listen to my music and go, not in a vain way, 'I wrote this?!?'."
Since then, Canaan Cox has gone on to develop a modern country vibe that saw him make Music Row's Top 50, just three months after the release of his track Lie, as well as becoming the chart's most added song in 2017.
"I'll always be a country boy at heart but my songs definitely cater to the pop scene as it effects the live show."
"I write with the thought 'how would this feel and sound on stage'. At the core, I am an entertainer. I love to be the centre of attention and I'm full of energy so I try and bring that into my songs and on stage."
"In country, I've always loved Jason Aldean. He's one of the artists that I own every album but Michael Jackson is where it's at - the funk, the soul, the pop. I try and mix the authenticity of country lyrics with the feel and groove of pop."
Having originally grown up in Hendersonville, NC, Canaan decided to make the move to Nashville in September of 2016.
"If you don't know, the entertainment industry shuts down from November until February; there's just nothing going on. I couldn't have chosen a worse time to move so I quickly got a serving job at Del Frisco's Grille."
"As the year turned I released a music video for Just Me. It got picked up by country music publication Whisky Riff who featured it on their website. That got me some minor attention from folks which lead me to push a single to music row - releasing Lie in August of 2017"
"Within 3 months the song had jumped all the way to the Top 50 which lead me to be able to quit serving and making music full time as I could start to book more shows."
Canaan followed this with the release of his self-titled EP which was featured on iTunes Country for six weeks in a row.
"It was pretty baller! Lie was featured on there for 2 weeks so to have a follow up EP that did so well for so long was incredible."
Most recently Canaan released his latest single When It Comes to You, a true story about an ex.
"The words in the song say it all. An ex that I hadn't talked to, or even thought I'd hear from again, called me out of the blue. We spent and hour and a half talking, catching up, and it was just an amazing yet weird feeling seeing as we hadn't spoke in over 5 years. We got off the phone and I wrote When It Comes to You."
The official video for the single also showcases his dancing abilities - something he learned and practiced through his degree and dance lessons.
"My degree is in Musical Theatre so I've had every dance class from tap and jazz to ballroom. My first job out of college was performing shows at theme parks in Texas where we did loads of dancing and singing. With that being such a big part of who I am, I wanted to give my audience a little peak into that world."
"I also directed, produced, and choreographed everything but Marissa's solo. I wanted to challenge myself in that area while at the same time giving my audience something they haven't seen from me."
Canaan Cox will be heading over the UK to perform a series of dates that kick off in London tomorrow, June 14. This is followed by a date at the Banham Barrel in Norwich on June 15 along with numerous other UK and Ireland dates throughout June.
"When I started getting a lot of love from the UK on socials I immediately started asking them where I should play. Of course London was a go to but I did some research on my own. Having performed on cruise ships, I knew folks and areas of England and simply searched anywhere that had live music."
"Funnily enough, Banham was one of the last places I emailed and just so happens to be my favourite spot to play. Brian, there at Banham, does an amazing job with the venue and pub as well. He gets quality acts in there but also is just the nicest man. He and his team made me feel right at home, so when it was time to book a full UK tour, he was first on my list to call."
With country music continuing to grow in popularity in the UK, Canaan Cox looks forward to coming over and being a part of that.
"Timing is everything and I think I've come just at the right time in this rise. I'm super excited to see where it leads and hope to be headlining the O2's soon enough."
With the tour already receiving a lot of hype, Cox hopes to extend it across Europe in 2020 "so stay tuned!"
- Tickets to Canaan Cox's show are available for £13 advance from the UEA Ticket Bookings website and on the door on the night