Local country star releases 3rd album
Three years after winning Country Music Television’s search for the No. 1 unsigned artist in the nation, local country singer Chance McKinney has released a new album.
“Think About That” debuted June 1 at No. 62 on the iTunes country music charts.
McKinney said the follow-up to “Be Real” broke into the Top 100 thanks to the continued support from his network of former students at Kamiak High School.
“I chalk it up to what (opportunity) the students gave me,” he said. “I mean, the national notoriety I get – people from Connecticut, Virginia, Florida – outside of areas I’ve ever performed in contact me all the time to tell me they love my music.
“The only thing that can be attributed to that is what the kids did through CMT.”
A former math teacher at Kamiak, McKinney hit it big in 2009 when he won CMT’s Music City Madness title with more than 1 million votes cast.
He beat out 63 other unsigned country singer-songwriters after 2,200 Kamiak students told friends and family in at least 28 states and five countries to vote for his original song “Be Real.”
From there, McKinney’s music career took off. He and the band CrossWire have toured with the likes of Dwight Yoakam, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, and Dierks Bentley and more.
His “industrialized” country – which blends in 90’s rock, 60’s Motown and heavy metal influences – has taken McKinney all over the Northwest, with stops in Nashville.
“I’ve been averaging 80-100 shows a year since the competition,” McKinney said. “The past three years has pretty much been filled out.”
“Think About That” is the third album release from McKinney. He wrote three of the 11 songs on the album: “Good Life,” “Photographs” and “How’s That Workin’ For Ya.”
After “Be Real” won, McKinney rushed to record his album of the same name in six days. With this follow up, however, he was able to put in 11 months of good work.
“It is literally 10 times better than the ‘Be Real’ CD,” he said. “I wasn’t just going to rush out and get another one done. This took awhile. There’s a difference.
“I hope this is every bit the direction people wanted me to go.”
About three years ago, McKinney was a math teacher at Kamiak who pursued a career in music on the weekends. Now country music is McKinney’s full-time career – and he’s ready to take it “all the way.”
“It’s been a blessing and a responsibly to take this on,” McKinney said. “You go out, and you show well. You don’t take a night off. You go out to impress because of the gift they (his students) gave back.”
Since 2009, McKinney’s Kamiak students, along with former students and athletes from Skyline, Inglemoor, Woodinville, University of Washington and Washington State University have formed a “massive” network throughout the United States.
They promote his music on Facebook and Twitter, pack his shows, and some of them even hire him to perform.
His youngest students, Kamiak’s class of 2010, are now old enough to go to his 21 and over shows.
“We’ve kept in touch ever since he stopped teaching and I graduated,” said Curtis Reid, a former Kamiak student. “I go to a bunch of his shows and, any time he needs help promoting something, I spread the word for him.”
Reid, a fan of country, had friends from as far away as Idaho, Missouri and Virginia vote for the song “Be Real” back in 2009. He’s happy to help “Mr. McKinney” make it big, anyway he can.
“To take that bold move and leave a stable career to go out for your dreams is really inspiring,” he said. “Music is his drive, that’s what he wants and, eventually, I think he’s going to get it.
“I think he’s an awesome guy; I think it’s even cooler that someone I know is playing music that I love.”
Find “Think About That” at the iTunes Store, go to www.chancemckinney.com for tour dates, or follow him on Twitter @ChanceMcKinney.