Chad Bushnell

Share your life story with us.

My dad played lead guitar in a country band when I was a young boy and that’s what inspired me to want to be a country singer. I also grew up listening to my great grandma play the piano at church and have accompanied her on guitar since I was a young boy. I started out singing at family get-togethers and singing the national anthem at rodeos when I was 3. I had my first gig when I was 5 singing for the Little Miss Tehama Pageant at my local county fair in Red Bluff, CA. After that, I started taking guitar lessons and competed in junior rodeos. My parents both competed in rodeo. I entered one of my first talent shows at a local coffee shop and won first place in my age group. I continued to sing and play sports. When I got to high school, I entered another talent show and won again. One of the judges was nice and introduced me to some local people in the community. I continued to sing and compete in High School Rodeo and FFA. I got asked to sing the National Anthem at the local PBR event and the promoters hired me to play at the PBR after party as well at the local casino. When I was singing, one of the managers happened to be there and passed my info onto a talent agency. I continued to play shows and compete in rodeo throughout high school and worked for my neighbors and began to work with my dad shoeing horses. I entered the talent show for the State FFA convention in Fresno and got selected to perform. After I performed there, it gave me lots of exposure and I got asked by local promoters to open for my first big country singer James Otto. I also recorded my first CD in Redding, CA. with former bass player for Foreigner, Bruce Turgon. Through some mutual friends, I got a call from Alabama member Teddy gentry and he asked me to fly out to Nashville to meet with him. He showed me around and it was a great experience. I continued to perform and quit doing rodeo after high school to fully pursue music and college. I learned how to shoe horses as well. When I graduated from the J.C., I got in touch with the talent agency and they began booking me shows. I played in all kinds of places for my next two years of college and coming out with new songs every month. I entered the American Country Star contest in 2013 and finished in the Top 30. I was happy, but wanted to try it one more year to see if I could win. I ended up in the Top 3 in 2014. Since around 2011 I’ve got to open for many country acts including Scotty McCreery, Billy Currington, Bryan White, Emmerson Drive, Ben haggard, etc. and release new songs and music videos. I won Best of the north state band award for 2015, 2016, and 2017. I just came out with my first official Nashville album in April and have been promoting that. One thing I have to share is my experience with the Haggards. Merle Haggard is one of my all-time favorite singers and I am fortunate to be good friends with his son Ben Haggard and have been on tour with him and have opened for him. I got to record an EP out at Merle Haggard’s studio and got to talk to Merle for about 20 minutes. It has been my best experience in my music career so far. The Haggards are very nice and down to earth people. I currently work part time as a farrier and substitute teacher during the week and play shows on the weekends…I’m trying hard to make it in the music business like many others. I thank God for everything and am blessed to have a wonderful family and fiancé. My mom helps manage my music and my sister is a professional women’s rodeo athlete.

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Share your press release.

I’ve been fortunate to have been recognized by a few different magazines and radio stations.

Enjoy Magazine:

http://www.enjoymagazine.net/2013/12/05/19492/north-state-native-chad-bushnells-nashville-journey

Red Bluff Daily News:

http://www.redbluffdailynews.com/article/zz/20130903/NEWS/130908130

Record Searchlight: http://events.redding.com/anderson_ca/events/forever-our-fair-rib-feed-and-chad-bushnell-con-/E0-001-097032520-5

Lassen County Fair:

https://lassencountyfair.org/the-annual-fair-2/2015-fair-schedule-of-events/

North Coast Journal:

https://issuu.com/ncjournal/docs/fortuna_rodeo_2015/15

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List the names of those that have assisted you so far in your music career and use this opportunity to thank them.

Jesus Christ- I thank him for everything and for giving me the strength and courage to pursue my dream Donna (mom) – for always being there for me and helping me manage my music, Wade (dad) – for always being there for me and teaching me how to play guitar and shoe horses, Chelsey (sister) – for always being there for me and keeping me grounded lol, Stephanie (Fiancé) – for being there for me and being an amazing person in my life, Rick and Angie (promoters), Diamond Productions (Promoters), State Theater crew- for giving me opportunities to open for my country music heroes, The Haggards and the Frizzells – for being good friends and for giving me opportunities I’ve been dreaming about since I was a young boy. My sponsors – Walker Printing, 530 Photography, Kystinz, Grandmas.

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Narrate your experience while recording in the studio or while touring.

I’ve had so many great experiences recording and touring that it would be hard to share them all. As far as recording, getting to record an original song in Merle Haggard’s studio and getting to sing into his microphone was pretty amazing. Also recording at Studio 19 on Music Row in Nashville was great. I got to play with a phenomenal band there. There has been some sort of magic when I get to record in a room with true professionals. It’s really a dream come true for me. I worked and performed a long time before I actually got to record my first CD in Nashville. I wrote 7 out of 10 of the songs on my most recent album. I demoed them back home in California and sent them to the players in Nashville. I flew back there and was anxious to hear their take on the song. During my last session, former lead singer of Highway 101 Band Paulette Carlson showed up in the studio when I was recording my vocals. That was pretty special and a little intimidating.

As far as touring goes, I always love it. I love to travel. I love to perform. When I was starting out, I worked for a sound guy that let me borrow equipment for my shows…thank you Chuck Lopeman. Over the years, I acquired my own gear and have upgraded little by little. I love to perform at Fairs. Weirdly, I don’t mind setting up my own sound…I kind of like it. I have been fortunate to have gotten to tour throughout much of the west coast. I feel that I’ve gotten in pretty good shape for it and am use to playing a few shows then going back to work doing my day job. It’s an interesting change sometimes. One day I’ll be playing a show in front of hundreds of people, signing autographs then the next day I will be shoeing horses back home dealing with a grumpy customer… it keeps me humble I guess.

One memory I’d like to share from the last 6 years of performing is a six day run of shows my band and I did. We left Redding, CA and performed 4 days in a row at the Western Idaho Fair in Boise, ID. After that, we headed down to Wendover, NV; to perform two nights at the Peppermill Casino. None of us knew anything about the venue or show so we asked the bass player sitting in the back if he could check it out on Google. First thing he said was that Dwight Yoakam was performing there. I got really nervous and was very surprised. My favorite country singer of all time was performing there and I had no idea. We did some more research and found out he was performing in the concert hall right down the street from us. I called the casino manager and begged him to let me meet Dwight. He told me that probably wouldn’t happen. I was disappointed, but told him if there was any way for me to meet him to let me know. He called me about an hour later and said he got things all set up for me to meet Dwight. I was so nervous and there were only 8 of us allowed to meet him. I didn’t really know what to say to him when I walked up to get a picture, but told him it was a pleasure to meet him and that I was performing right next door. He smiled, patted me on the shoulder and said nice to meet you. We each only got about 30 seconds, but it was amazing to meet my country music hero. I was on cloud 9 that night.

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Go into detail about your songwriting process.

I really hope that my songwriting has been getting better over the years. I’ve learned a lot from other songwriters and have spent hours trying to figure out the best ways to write. I think it truly comes from the heart and what you are feeling that makes the best songs. That’s exactly how I wrote my first song. We had a family tragedy that happened when my aunt was killed in a car accident (my mom’s brother’s wife). I know my uncle really loved her and they were having some issues at one point and were split up for a bit. When they were just starting to get back together, she was tragically killed. My uncle went through some very difficult times and I was around 10 or 12 years old when it happened. I had been thinking about it a lot for a while and it was all bothering me. One night I was sitting in my bedroom and was singing the song “Two Dozen Roses” by Shenandoah. All of a sudden, the hook of the song came to me “Broken Hearted Man”. I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out where I was going to go with it. I kept messing around with chords and lyrics and eventually it came to me. It was sort of about my uncle. I felt it was a good song for my first one. I sang it only once for my uncle at a family get-together and never told him that he was what inspired the song because I didn’t want it to bring back bad memories. I feel after he heard it he might’ve had an idea though. Basically, I’m usually driving down the road and randomly come up with a hook or melody for a song. When I get home, I have my notepad, guitar, and recorder sitting there waiting for me and attempt to finish the song. Sometimes I’ll only get half of it done, get frustrated and put it away for a few weeks. Then I will come back and finish it.

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Brief us on what you have on the way for your fans out there.

I am excited for my upcoming shows this year. My focus is to perform at fairs and rodeos. I’m hoping to land a few festivals as well and it would be a dream come true to have some of my fans come watch me at a country music festival like Oregon Jamboree or Country Summer in Santa Rosa. I will be releasing some new songs in the next few months. Two main stream sounding songs I will be recording in Nashville. I will also be trying something different this year. I will be releasing a country/rockabilly song and possibly a full EP. I have already written one song and am thinking about recording it here in Redding, CA. I’m also saving up money on the side to record my first rodeo album for my rodeo fans. I will be donating a portion of my profits from the album to the Western Heritage Preservation that helps keep rodeo and the western way of living alive. Also, I bought a guitar and have been getting signatures on it from country singers. I will be selling tickets to help raise money for Chad Bushnell music and will be donating 25% of ticket sales to the Red Bluff State Theater and S.T.A.R.S. I will be selling tickets for $20 if you’d like to help my music career and the date of the drawing is TBA.

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Tell us what you are doing to increase your fan base.

I’ve been trying multiple things to increase my fan base. This year I’ve been releasing music videos and it has helped a lot. The one I released in June for “You Can drive My Truck” has over 73,000 views on my Facebook fan page. I used a lot of local stuff in my video which helped out. I did most of the video at the biggest Truck dealership in the area Corning Ford and they loaned me a truck for the day. I gained a lot of fans who were Ford truck fans from that. I try and post 2 times a day on Facebook and Instagram. Sometimes I post stuff non-music related stuff like things I do with family or working with horses. I’ve also been playing in different areas. This year my main focus has been Oregon and Washington. I’ve made new friends and fans there.

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Tell us that point in time that you just feel like giving up on your music career.

I’ve felt like giving up so many times. This is a tough business and is even harder if you are on the sensitive side. For me, I always want to be nice to people and never want to hurt people’s feelings. I’ve come to the conclusion that most people in the music don’t care about how others feel and I have gotten my feelings hurt many times by people that have done shady things. That has made me want to quit at times, but I love music so much and really could never quit. It’s also been hard at times for me because I’m trying to make my way in the mainstream country market. It seems these days they are signing more country/pop artists. I lean more towards the traditional side and wonder sometimes if I’ll get a big break. I feel that I will someday. Sometimes shoeing horses and working a day job makes me want to quit music. I could have an easier job physically, but stick with shoeing horses so I have more freedom and flexibility to do music. I’m self-employed, which is nice.

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Go into detail on how you make your instrumentation or melody.

I love to play the guitar. I can sit there for hours and mess around with different guitar licks. Sometimes I come up with songs this way. I will be noodling around with one of my favorite songs and change things to make it a totally different song. Recently, I was playing a few Dwight Yoakam songs in my bedroom and came up with one of my latest songs “Lovin’ Over Me”. It has similarities to “Takes A Lot To Rock You” and “Little Sister”. I write a lot of upbeat 1,4,5 progression songs. Sometimes I’ll throw a 2 chord or minor chord in there to make it to sound different or unique. Sometimes I’ll even throw it in a weird spot and even change the timing. I did that with my song “Everything A Woman Could Be”. I think it drove the band leader crazy, but I thought it was kind of cool… at least it was different.

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Tell us your complete understanding of music licensing.

I have learned that when I write a song and record it, I get all of the profits. If I record someone else song, the songwriter gets 10%. I have to fill out a mechanical license to record someone else’ song and can sometimes do it through the Harry Fox Agency.

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Tell us the best way to get in touch with you on social media.

The best way to get in touch with me on social media is either Facebook or Instagram. I check them everyday and love to see people like and comment on my posts. You can message me on either as well, just please make sure you like my pages before you do.

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Give us the links to your various stores.

Website:

www.chadbushnell.com

For music:

http://chadbushnell.com/album_categories/music/

ITunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/tennessee/1225423512

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Tell us your favorite genre of music.

Country Music is my all-time favorite genre. It’s what I grew up on. It comes from the heart and many songs talk about what I stand for. I love the heart felt lyrics, the chicken pickin’ guitars, steel guitars and pretty much everything. I love visiting Nashville and seeing all of the history around there. I’ve always been a big fan of older country and collect old records and cassettes.

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Tell us the subject matter of most of your songs.

This changes at times, but most of my songs are about love. I think that’s the same with many songwriters. I’ve had a few tough situations with women, but have never had my heart broken really bad. I’ve been blessed in finding the right woman in my life. I’ve written heart break songs and positive love songs though.

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Tell us all we need to know about this song.

I wrote “You Can Drive My Truck” when I was really trying to write a “mainstream” song. I know everyone likes trucks so I thought it would work. I had been listening to Jason Aldean a lot when I was writing this song and was even hoping he’d try and record it. Benny Brown owned Broken Bow Records at the time and he helped make Jason Aldean famous. The same Benny Brown also owns the Corning Ford Dealership that’s near where I live in Northern California. I made sure and mentioned Ford Truck in the song. After I wrote it, I decided to get a music video done for it in hopes that Corning Ford would use it for one of their commercials. I also hoped that Benny Brown would see it and sign me to his label. None of those things have happened yet, but I’m still working on it. The song itself changes things around and actually gives the woman a chance to drive the man’s truck. It talks about what an average young man and young woman might do on a Friday after work.

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Tell us what you think about digital distribution and streaming.

I think it is a good way to get your name out in different areas without having to tour as much. People can hear your music all over the world once you put it on iTunes or Amazon. I also think it makes it easier for people to steal your music and sometimes I don’t like the amount of money that is taken out by music stores.

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Tell us various ways that artists can boost their revenue.

One way I’ve learned to boost revenue is to sell package deals at shows. I spent a lot of money on my two-song EP and it didn’t really sell like I wanted to. I decided to start selling my 2 albums and 1 EP for $20 at shows and it helped me make a lot of money over the summer…enough to do two music videos and a trip to Nashville. Making videos with your phone and posting them is a great way to boost music sales. Post a video of a song off your album you’re promoting and put a link to your music below. Having a good booking agent to help you get better shows and more money at shows helps boost revenue. Sometimes it might seem like you get taken advantage of a bit, but it helps increase revenues in the long run. Marketing campaigns are the best. Think of a cause that you want to donate to and a niche market for your music. I talked earlier about doing a rodeo album and donating a portion to an association I like. My target market would be rodeo fans and my short term goal would be to sell 1,000 albums at $10. That would be $10,000 and would pay for the album and I would have some leftover to help the cause. After that, more sells would be mostly all profit. There are roughly 20,000 people in my hometown…if I really push the album it shouldn’t be too hard to sell 1,000 albums.

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Tell us your thought on self-training and going to educational institution to study music.

I think both ways are great for becoming a better artist. I sometimes wish I would’ve gone to Musician’s Institute of L.A. right after high school or even majored in music at Chico State, but I decided to major in Business Marketing instead. I wish I was a better musician at times, but am also happy I have a good understanding of business and how to market myself. I think sometimes going to an educational institute can make you lose your creativity and make you forget who you are. You get caught up in whatever everyone else is doing and sort of lose your identity. However, I think a person should go to an institute to develop musicianship and basic understanding of music. It’s really hard to say. Merle Haggard or Dwight Yoakam never went to an educational institute that I know of and they are two of my favorite artists.

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Go on at length on what it takes to write a hit song.

I really think it’s a God thing to write a true hit song. Things have to line up just right. The right place and time is important. The wording is key. One of my all-time favorite songs is “The Dance” by Garth Brooks. The writer of that song Tony Arata did a great job with the lyrics. The song basically has two different meanings and he uses few words to say a lot. Just the lyrics alone prove that it’s a great song. What made it a hit was the melody and happened to be what Garth Brooks needed at the time. He was the biggest country artist going at the time. There are probably a lot of songs that are great hidden around that nobody knows about or the songwriter hasn’t been able to get it to a famous artist to sing.

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Tell us what you will buy if you want to build your own studio.

This is a tough one. There are so many great products out there. I’ve always been a fan of QSC speakers. I’ve always used them for my live shows. I would probably buy the best 32 channel board I could find. I would buy Shure microphones. I would have two different amplifiers. One Fender twin reverb with 12 inch speakers and one Mesa Boogie amplifier. I would buy 2 American made Fender Telecasters, one Stratocaster and one Gibson. I would buy a keyboard, drum set, electric bass, stand-up bass, and two acoustic guitars. One Taylor acoustic and one Martin. I would have hardwood floors and carpet where needed. I would have a laptop and a desktop.

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Go on at length on what it takes to gain the attention of the audience while playing live.

This can be difficult at times. I always start off with two of my strongest songs and something upbeat to get people dancing. I usually sing them together without stopping. They are usually both well-known cover songs. I take short breaks in between to talk about my originals and what I’ve been doing lately, but try to make it quick. I try to get the crowd involved throughout the show and ask them to sing with me. I give out shirts and CDs at times. I sing some Elvis songs in the middle of my shows and it always goes over well with the crowd because they usually know the songs.

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List your five favorite songwriters.

Merle Haggard

Dwight Yoakam

Kendell Marvel

Paul Overstreet

Bill Anderson.

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List your five favorite music producers.

Bruce Turgon

Ace Otten

Buddy Cannon

Pete Anderson

Keith Stegall.

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Describe in details how you feel when you hear your song on the radio.

It’s an amazing feeling to hear my song on the radio. It’s especially rewarding to hear my song on my hometown radio station. Sometimes I drive to work in the morning and hear my song on the radio for one of my upcoming shows. It makes all of the hard work worth it. It is great to hear from fans when they hear my songs on their hometown radio station. Sometimes people will video it and post it on my Facebook page and it’s a great feeling.

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Describe your best mood to write a song.

I always write the best when I have a little inspiration. If something goes well with my music it always inspires me to write. If I have a good day at work or something fun coming up I want to write. However, I also write if I’m not having a good day or if I hear of something bad that happened to someone else. Actually, some of my best songs I wrote while I was going through a rough patch with my girlfriend. My best mood I would say is when things are going good and I get inspired.

 

 

One thought on “Chad Bushnell

  1. Chad, Jerry Holler here, an old trupador. Remember to keep Christ first in your life and everything you lay your hand to will prosper. Quitters never win, and winners never quit. I think you are doing just fine, just hang on to hope and faith, and The man upstairs (God). You will succeed, you are doing a good job. I’m proud of you, keep up the good work.

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