Interview with Nash Overstreet of Hot Chelle Rae

Pop-Punk quintet Hot Chelle Rae was was formed in Nashville in 2005, started making waves in 2007 with shows at SXSW, and arrived on the music with authority in 2011 when their single “Tonight, Tonight” went double platinum. They have released two studio albums (with a third on the way later this year), Won an American Music Award (2011 New Artist of the Year), and have shared the stage with with the likes of Lil Jon, Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift, and (currently) Justin Bieber.

We caught up with lead guitarist and founding member, Nash Overstreet who answered some questions for us before the band hits the stage tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.

Independent Philly: Who came up with the name “Hot Chelle Rae” and what special meaning (if any) does it have?

Nash Overstreet: We didn’t come up with it as much as it came up with itself. We were on Myspace trying to decide if people’s photos were real or not and one person was named Chelle Rae and we kind of called her out and she turned out to be awesome and were really hoping that she was actually hot in real life and not  just some guy with a mustache. So yeah, Hot Chelle Rae.

IP: You guys have a new album coming out later this year. What can you tell us about it?

NO: We’ve been fortunate enough to work with a lot of great writers and producers and different artists who are friends of ours. We have our first single from the album out (with the rest of it coming soon) and we’ve been performing some of the new tracks within the last month or so.

IP: You’re currently on tour with Justin Bieber. How is the tour going so far and how have fans reacted to the songs from the new album when you play them live?

NO: It’s going great. They are loving them. The first night we played one of the new songs it started trending world wide right afterwards and the fans have been super passionate about it and looked it up on Youtube and learned the words. It’s really cool for us to hear people singing along to songs they’ve never heard before, or maybe have heard once.

IP: Justin Bieber has been in the press several times recently for developing a bit of a bad boy persona. What’s he like in person?

NO: Super cool. Super chill. It’s been one of the most genuine crews, and artists to work with. Everyone from the guys who open doors to those working on the stage and on up has been really nice. It’s not too common but for once we are working with a main headliner who is trying to make sure that the opening artist is accommodated and has the best show they can have, which is really, really incredible to us.

IP: What are some of your favorite and least favorite aspects about being out on tour?

NO: I love being on the road. I love being on the bus and traveling different places. I think the biggest downside, for me personally, is not being able to jump into the studio everyday, and not being able to write, produce, and record music. When I’m home or in L.A. I’m working every single day, and it’s great because you write new songs, and record songs, and it’s kind of exciting. On the road it’s a totally different thing, and I love playing live, but you do miss the ability to run to the laundromat or do whatever you want to do, and you have to kind of scramble when you get home to do all of that at once. 


IP: What is your day of show routine like right before you perform?

NO: Right before we perform we usually huddle up and do a little bit of a vocal warm-up, kind of get hype with some music, then walk to the stage, get dressed, get our in-ears, then we huddle around, pray, look each other in the eye, and just say “have a good show”. Then we light it up.

IP: Was there any consideration you gave personally into making country music, given that your father (Paul Overstreet) has had so much success within the country genre? Or did you always envision taking a different avenue with your music?

NO: I kind of always new I was going to take a different avenue and my dad growing up was playing and performing country music, and writing and all of that stuff, but he was constantly playing Motown, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and stuff like that, as well as the Beatles and a lot of Pop music. So even though he played country music he’s always loved pop and passed that on to us. I’ve written country, I’ve sung a country demo before, but what naturally comes out of me in always Pop music, so that’s the only thing I can do.

IP: Did your parents name you after your hometown of Nashville?

NO: Yeah, absolutely. I guess my parents were both creative and uncreative when it came to my name. So they were like, “Born in Nashville, your name’s Nash”.

IP: Would you like to give a shout out to your fans in Philadelphia ahead of your show here tonight?

NO: Absolutely. I always love our Philly fans. I love the Flyers. My mom is actually from Philadelphia originally so it’s kind of like a second home. We’re looking forward to getting out there and seeing all of the fans in Philly!

IP: Finally, please tell us something about you or Hot Chelle Rae as a whole that would surprise or even shock our readers…

NO: Man, now you’re tempting me to be a smart-ass and say something that is totally not true, or just something mundane that they wouldn’t already know. But, let’s see, this might not be too surprising but we aren’t going to be home, until at least September 1st, at all. It’s amazing, we’re about to go to Japan, and we have the album coming out later this year so we’re going to be on the road a bunch. They might not know now but they’ll figure out pretty soon that we will probably be in their area if we haven’t been already.

You can catch Hot Chelle Rae opening up for Justin Bieber tonight at the Wells-Fargo Center. Doors open at 6pm and the show starts at 7pm.

[Interview by David Miller]

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