Q: You were signed to Decca Records in 1996 and released your debut album the same year. Now, Mr. Allan, as I’m sure you know, many people hope to someday be famous performers, but not many succeed. That being said, how does it feel to have had a decorated career that has nearly spanned two decades?
A: It didn’t happen overnight. I was offered my first record deal when I was 16, but my Dad would not co-sign for me. He said I was imitating other people and I needed to find my own sound and if they were offering me a deal now, they would offer me one later. I was so mad at him, but he was right. So I’m proud of the career I have and how it has grown over time.
Q: I want to talk about the beginning of your career for a moment. What were some of the difficulties you encountered while trying to establish yourself as a talent in the music industry?
A: That goes to some of what I mentioned above. It didn’t happen overnight, but it has been a strong steady build. I think that makes for a stronger career over all. The flash in the pan acts usually aren’t around very long and I didn’t want to be in that group.
Q: At what point in your life did you know you wanted to become a country music singer?
A: My Dad always loved traditional country music. Merle, Buck, Ernest Tubb, George Jones, Waylon and Willie were always playing on the stereo in our house. Then I started playing in a band with my Dad and my brother when I was 14. I think it has always been in my blood. I liked all kinds of music, and even played punk for a bit, but country was always in my soul.
Q: Your latest album brings your total to nine throughout your career. How do you keep finding ways to release new songs album after album?
A: My songs are always a reflection of where I’m at in my life. That is where I get my inspiration. I’m usually writing all the time, so I always have a pool of new material to pull from.
Q: Bakersfield has its own rich country history, being home to legends like Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. How do you feel about being able to perform in a city with such a strong country following?
A: I love playing Bakersfield. Growing up I would go there often with my Dad to see different people play, so he was quite proud when I started playing there. The Bakersfield Sound is such a rich and honored tradition and I’m so proud to be able to be a small part of it.
Q: What can the fans of Bakersfield expect when you take the stage on the 15th?
A: They can expect to have a great time and to hear some great country music.
Q: Does the feeling of being on tour ever get old to you?
A: I make music to play it live, so no, it never gets old.
Q: What do you hope to do with your career moving forward? Is there a goal or an accomplishment you have yet to achieve?
A: I hope to still be doing his 30 years from now. That’s my goal. I love this job.
Gary Allan performs live on Sunday, Sept. 15 at the Rabobank Arena.