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Kip Moore tells us about the big mistake he sees new country artists making today Hunter Kelly/Rare Country
Hunter Kelly/Rare Country

Kip Moore has quietly built up one of the most loyal armies of fans in country music, and he did it by playing his own music on his own terms. That hasn’t been an easy route for Kip, but it’s certainly paid off. Those fans pay money to hear Kip Moore sing his own songs.

When you’re an unknown artist, it’s easy to just play a bunch of cover songs to get the crowd going. Kip knew that wasn’t good for business over the long haul.

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He tells Rare Country, “I felt like even at a young age, when I didn’t even have a record out, I would be in a bar. I would open for a guy like Rodney Atkins or Trace [Adkins] or whoever, and there’s 900 to a thousand people in the club. I knew that I was going to lose some of them by just playing my music. They were going to be talking, yapping, and this and that. But I felt like if I could really connect with a hundred or 200 of them in the room, and they really latched onto what I was doing, that’s how you build an army. That’s how you get people to dive into what you’re doing.”

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It was a mix of stubbornness and inspired vision that led Kip to just play his own music. Now that he’s had some success, he’s warning new artists coming up behind him about the trap of relying too much on cover songs to get people going.

“I actually had a conversation with an artist that I really I love the other day, and I said, ‘You gotta stop playing six and seven cover songs in your 45-minute set,’ ” Kip explains. “They’re not gonna remember you. A lot of new artists fool themselves by playing all these covers. They think they’re rocking the crowd, but you’re just another guy singing somebody else’s songs. When they leave, that’s not what makes them remember you.”

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Kip has the experience to back up this advice he’s dishing out. Those fans he connected with in the early days are still showing up to his shows today. The way they talk about seeing Kip for the first time proves that bond between artist and fan is strong.

Says Kip, “I have people all the time that that’s when they started following this journey were from those shows and those original songs. They named the songs. ‘I latched onto that, and I latched onto this.’ ”

When it comes to playing his own songs, Kip still practices what he preaches.

He adds, “Even now, when I’m doing a two-hour set, I’m usually only gonna play one cover or … half of a cover.”

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Kip has a brand-new batch of songs to play live now that his album, “Slowheart,” is out. The project features his latest hit single, “More Girls Like You.”

Hunter Kelly is a senior correspondent for Rare Country. Follow him on Twitter @Hunterkelly.
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