In 1992, NRG Recording Studios officially opened its doors. Throughout the past 25 years, we’ve had the pleasure of working with top artists in a variety of genres. We’ve worked with acts such as Kanye West, Kesha, Evanescence, and Linkin Park.
When the studio first opened for business, one band, in particular, helped put us on the map. Hootie & The Blowfish’s mainstream debut album, Cracked Rear View, was recorded at NRG while the studio was still young. This monumental album went on the be the best selling album of 1995. Beyond this one annual accomplishment, it is the 16th best-selling album of all time in the United States.
Hootie & The Blowfish, a band comprised of 4 members was formed in 1989 when the boys were all freshman at the University of Southern California. It all started when Bryan, the band’s drummer, caught Darius Rucker, the group’s frontman, and lead singer was caught singing in the dorm showers. Between then and their uber-successful, 16-time platinum-certified album, they had released two cassette demo EPs. Their talent caught the independent attention and lead them to a record deal with Atlantic Records.
The rock quartet created a beautiful niche genre. Their combination of pop melodies and blues-rock jam music combines opposing qualities, leaving us, the audience, feeling balanced and satisfied. Beyond that, their music is pretty timeless. As much as I love songs like Christina Aguilera’s “What A Girl Wants,” upon first listen, you know the song came from 1999, but when you tune into “Hold My Hand” by Hootie In The Blowfish, you could mistake it as being a new release.
In my opinion, one of the big reason for the success of this album is the voice soulful voice for the band’s frontman, Darius Rucker. A vocalist’s job is to utilize the built-in instrument that they’re born with to evokes emotions in an audience, and Rucker embodies this idea. Rucker’s voice sounds just as dark chocolate tastes. When he opens his mouth, a smooth, rich, velvety starts to resonate, and although powerful, it still has a touch of sweet. He sonically makes you feel things.
When the Hootie hiatus was announced, and Darius Rucker declared his shift in focus towards his solo career as a country artist, it obviously shook the fans & the Blowfish community, but I think we were all pleasantly surprised with the results.
Darius Rucker’s cover of “Wagon Wheel,” a song previously made famous by Old Crow Medicine Show that was co-written by band member Ketch Secor & Bob Dylan, had even those opposed to country music dancing along. The track features the feminine yet full vocals Lady Antebellum in the background, adding another layer of beauty to this beloved song. The song went on to win the Grammy for Best Country Solo Performance, making Rucker the 3rd African American Grammy winner for vocal performance.
Darius Rucker’s maintains his emotional communication while jumping from genre to genre, making him incredibly versatile. He seamlessly went from rock-based Hootie & The Blowfish to a country soloist, capturing an audience with his multifaceted voice.
The 51-year-old artist released his fifth solo album, When Was The Last Time, this Friday, October 20th. The album has a country twang, singable melodies, and, of course, his beautiful voice breaches the surface and plays directly at the heartstrings.
It’s debut single, “If I Told You” has amassed 27,000,000 listens on Spotify, and another 18,000,000 on YouTube thus far. It has already peaked the Country Airplay charts at #1, and Billboard Hot 100 at #53. The song is so special because it connects the immense beauty of Rucker’s voice with the truthful lyrics that ask if I release everything in me, if I show you every one of my flaws and quirks, would you still love me?
In his song “For The First Time,” he sings/asks his “when was the last time you did something for the first time?” I love this song because he encourages playfulness, daring, and adventure from his listeners by questioning them in a sweet, playful tone. Once again, Darius Rucker plays with our emotions in the best way.
Ever since the beginning of his success, where he sang with us, at NRG, to his newest ventures in the country, we’ve loved Darius Rucker and his music. We can’t wait to see where his newest album goes, and will definitely be listening and singing along.