“Canaan Cox is truly a manifestation of the phrase “hard work pays off.” With a “rules are meant to be broken” attitude, this North Carolina bred country star has taken Nashville by storm.” — press release
Can you share a brief overview of your career to date?
Well I’ve always had this dream but haven’t been ‘professionally’ at it for long. Moved to Nashville not even 2 years ago and just have been hustling ever since. I moved here already having released an album a few months prior and was eager to get into it. In Spring of 2017 released a music video for my single “Just Me” with no expectations at all. However, it is kind of what got things going for me. A few companies messaged me, the video got featured on Whiskey Riff, and people were wondering ‘Who are you.’ So, with a few folks, we rebranded the album I previously released. Took the best 5 songs off the album, remixed/mastered them here in Nashville and released my single “Lie” to country music radio. And not to be vain, but it took off! It quickly charted on Music Row and I was on the road for three months doing radio tours. Released a few music videos for the EP, booking shows/tours, and finally just dropped new music June 29th with my latest single “Out of Nowhere.” There, you’re all caught up :)
What music and artists influenced you as you grew up in North Carolina?
Well, being from the Appalachian Mountains, bluegrass was everywhere. Grew up in literally a 10–20 congregation church singing and playing with my family there. My dad cranked Conway Twitty, Mom played/still plays in a southern rock band, and I just kind of listened to whatever was on the radio. Remember picking on the mandolin to Nickel Creek albums when I was 9 and other instruments came in time. My favorite 90’s artist growing up however is Joe Diffie. Me and my dad will blast John Deere Green when I come home to visit.
How has your family supported your career?
My Dad likes to call himself my “South East Regional Manager” so if that doesn’t sum it up I don’t know what will. I have so much support from my family it’s insane. And not even just my actual family, but my hometown of Hendersonville, NC! They’re some loyal #CanaanitesForLife (my fan group). They are the reason I am where I am, do what I do! Things have been progressing and they’re right there along for the ride with me!
What are your fondest musical memories?
Playing piano with my grandma. She played for the church and she’d let me sit beside her when I was little and just play on the keys. She’d show me which ones to hit before the song started and I’d hit those throughout the song. She always threw in her own touches and funk on traditional hymns and such and I think it rubbed off on me. I always found myself throwing a bit of my own flare into music whether it be covers or even whilst in orchestra. My teacher wasn’t always the fondest of my ad libs but, what are you going to do? Kind of fun to hear the Graduation March song with a little extra pizzazz on it ;)
Your path to Nashville went from studying musical theatre at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C. to Carnival Cruise Line for three years. What was that experience like and how did it influence your music?
Having a degree in musical theatre has influenced me in more ways than one. Not necessarily in my music directly but in the work ethic and performance side. Having a degree where you are performing never is a bad thing when on stage. It definitely helps me up there connect with my audience whether it’s a packed auditorium or a small coffee house vibe. And the degree itself was CRAZY! I’d have class 8–3pm, go in work on the sets, lights, paint, the whole thing, then rehearse 6–10pm, then homework. It definitely taught me time management and organization which I think is critical in this field. As far as cruise ships — It was amazing! You had 2,500 different people from all over the world on a weekly basis. So not only was it great to build a fan base and expose but it helped me dive deep into my genres/artists of music. So, when I play my shows downtown or on the road people are always amazed to hear the variety in my set list. One second I’ll be blasting a George Strait favorite then the next song it “How Far I’ll Go” from the Disney movie Moana. It keeps people engaged.
Can you remember the first time you wrote a song?
Yes, I can. It was my freshman year of college (2008). I wrote a stupid love poem for a girl back in college and I read it to my roommate in college. He said, “dude, you should put it to music!” So, I did. And the rest is history. Thanks, Vaughn!
Where do you draw inspiration from when you write songs and what’s your favorite part about the process?
So far about 98% of the songs I’ve written come from an actual experience! Which is great I think, however, when it comes to sitting down and writing something new it makes it harder to pull ideas from. So sometimes I will put myself in old situations from the past, hone in on how I felt, and use that as fuel. My favorite part is hearing/seeing the progress. Going back and listening to the first voice memo you recorded on your phone to the full on mastered product. It’s insane and an amazing feeling.
Which song did you have the most trouble writing?
“Lie.” I had the idea and the first verse/chorus written and I was like “YES, I know this is a cool idea…but what story can I tell?” It literally took me two years to finish it. So, thanks ex-girlfriend for the heartbreak cause you created a master piece! ;)
What is the backstory to “Out of Nowhere”?
“Out of Nowhere” is actually my first co-write here in Nashville. Everything I’ve written is 100% me, or some help from my Dad. He writes as well and we have a few tunes in the works that are 100% his and I can’t wait for you to hear them. But I digress! “Out of Nowhere” isn’t necessarily about anything/anyone in particular but the idea is. Like I’ve mentioned “Lie” was about a relationship that was kind of crazy. So, to be frank and quite honest, been rough to really let anyone in ever since. “Out of Nowhere” talks about finding someone that does just that. Here I was, scared of love, scared to let down my walls, but here you are smashing them to pieces and being ok with it. So, in all honesty, think it’s more wishful thinking and hoping to find someone that does that. So, ladies, if you’re out there … I love chocolate milk and going to the movies.
For someone who has never heard your music, can you explain your sound in five words? Which song of yours best captures your sound?
Maroon 5 does country music.
“Lie” is probably the best thing to date that kind of sums my sound up. Has a mix of 3 elements being lyrically country with a pop vibe and a rocking texture!
Who are you a big fan of and what do you find most inspiring about his/her music?
Ed Sheeran. He has a way of telling a story that is melodically insane. I think that’s what we all love about music, is it being so relatable. And if it also can get stuck in your head at the same time, that’s a plus.
What’s the best concert you’ve ever seen and what was so special about it?
To be honest, I haven’t been to a lot of concerts. But out of the few I have been to, Sara Bareilles takes the cake. Being from a musical theatre background, vocals are a huge draw for me. She didn’t miss a dang note! She did an acoustic version of “Chandelier” on the Ukulele and it was LIFE!
Where is your dream venue? Who would you most like to open for?
Taylor Swift sold out Madison Square Garden in less than a minute … I want to beat that. Open for? I want me, Luke Combs, Eric Church, and Chase Rice on the same tour and call it the Carolina Boys Tour! Luke and Chase are actually from the same area of western North Carolina. So, I think it’d just be cool to take a kick ass show on the road and root for them TAR HEELS while we are doing it!
Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?
On that tour ^
If you could dabble in any other genre of music, which would it be?
Pop / R&B. I love country music, don’t get me wrong. But deep down inside of me, I’m Stevie Wonder. Playing MJ covers are my absolute favorite thing! I have a lot of funk and groove in this heart of mine so … I wouldn’t be surprised if you see me and Stevie on CMT Crossroads one day!
What are five things you can’t live without?
Fitness — Chocolate Milk — Phone call from my dad — peanut butter — Chris Pratt (HERO)
What’s your motto or the advice you live by?
Hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle — I am a huge fan of Gary Vee (if you haven’t heard of him, get to it). Music is fantastic and I love it, but if you want to have real talk, this is a business and a tough one at that. You have to be very entrepreneurial about this life and the reason I am where I am in a short amount of time is just that. I work.
How do you balance your music with other obligations?
Every night I make a to do list for the next day and when it becomes too cluttered, I start a “next day” to do list. Example, it is Sunday and I have quite a few things on my agenda today, so in my SUNDAY: TO DO LIST I have a segment that says “FOR MONDAY.” Write it down.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing or playing?
Working out, cooking, or going to the MOVIES!!!!