Spotlight: Have you ever been to Fargo?
Niemann: I played a show there with Dierks Bentley. I actually have a connection with Fargo because when “Lover, Lover” came out the label told me that to this day, per capita more people have downloaded that song in Fargo, N.D. then any place else in the country. So I love to go to Fargo.
Spotlight: Talk about the success of “Shinin’ On Me” and your upcoming album, “Free The Music.”
Niemann: “Shinin’ On Me” is the first single off our sophomore album, “Free The Music,” which comes out Oct. 2. It’s got some really unique instrumentation and recording techniques that were really fun and challenging.
Spotlight: Your music incorporates several different genres. Talk about your background and how that influenced your music.
Niemann: I’m a country music lover because I was raised in a small town. Country music stole my heart. For me I love all types of music but for me, coming from the country, it’s all about interpretation of what you wanted to find from each genre. For me each song is different. It has its own life. At the end of the day it’s all about your song.
Spotlight: You’ve been writing songs for years, even writing “Good Ride Cowboy,” “Midnight Sun” and That Girl Is A Cowboy” for Garth Brooks. Explain why writing is important and talk about working with Brooks.
Niemann: Songwriting is something that I can’t turn off. It’s just something that consumes my existence. I love to write. My first big break was that I was fortunate enough to play a few of my songs with my buddy to Garth Brooks, and he called us both and invited us out to his house. For about 11 years now I’ve known Garth, and I’ll tell you what, I’m so grateful for all the help Garth got me with my songs but at the end of the day I’m so grateful to know Garth because he’s somebody that has done everything and is the best at everything and he’s still such a great human being. It gives you somebody to look up to.
Spotlight: You’re known for your sense of humor with your jokes during a performance or your double entendres (Your first album, Judge Jerrod and The Hung Jury). Why is humor important to you?
Niemann: Doing a show is kind of like a conversation with people. They’re coming out there and these songs connect with them. I want them to undestand where this music came from, why it exists and who it came from so I want the personalities to show through. I love writing funny songs and double entendres…I’m so glad they exist (laughs.) I love going to concerts that are entertaining, whether it’s from the lights and the mirrors or a comedian standing on stage. For me, I say let’s just do our music and talk to these people that are here like our family, because that’s what Country music is, it’s a giant family. I’ll admit I’ve said a few things in the mic I probably shouldn’t have. (Laughs)
Spotlight: How are you handling your recent success?
Niemann: You always hear that when you sign your record deal that’s when the work begins but I’ve always loved music so it’s not work for me. Obviously, when the world accepts your music and you can travel across this wonderful countries and play shows, like in Fargo, you’re so thankful for that. You travel a lot but to be able to do something you love is amazing.
Spotlight: What’s your favorite fair food?
Niemann: I might have to stick with the old school corn dog, just because they fry everything now.