This past Tuesday we chatted with Big Loud recording artist ERNEST during our latest segment of Songs I Grew Up On. Growing up in Nashville, ERNEST was influenced by some of country’s greatest artists, but he also cites songs from a diverse group of genres as being influential to his music. He admits that it was difficult to narrow it down to just 5 songs, and we had a lot of fun watching ERNEST sing along to these pieces.
1. “Check Yes or No” by George Strait (1995)
It is no surprise that this country classic made it onto ERNEST’s list. He reveals that “some of the earliest memories being in my father’s truck” were of him listening to Strait’s music, particularly his 50 number ones compilation CD. “I wore it out,” ERNEST admits.
2. “Hit 'em High (the Monstar's Anthem)” by Busta Rhymes, Coolio, Ll Cool J, Method Man, and B Real (1996)
ERNEST mentions that the movie Space Jam was one of his favorites as a kid, saying that “I’d watch that probably every day when I was 7 or 8.” While he could have included the film’s entire soundtrack, ERNEST chose “Hit ‘em High” because it was the first song he could rap all the words and proves he still remembers the lyrics by showing off his rapping skills.
3. “Your Body is a Wonderland” by John Mayer (2001)
ERNEST explains that “Your Body is a Wonderland” is significant to him because it was the first Mayer song he learned how to play on guitar. “And the girls really like John Mayer,” he joked when retelling how popular the song was amongst his peers at school. He also shares how influential Mayer’s music has been in his career, especially from a songwriting perspective.
4. “My Name Is” by Eminem (1999)
After listening to the Space Jam soundtrack, ERNEST found that he “fell in love with rap
immediately.” The next year, a kid gave him a CD with the Slim Shady songs. ERNEST explains that Eminem heavily influenced his freestyle and wordplay. He later laughingly retells the story of his mom finding out he was listening to Eminem’s music. After she took the CD and broke it, he decided that “I want to do this when I grow up.”
5. “In da Club” by 50 Cent (2003)
ERNEST considers “In da Club” as a “core memory song” that he enjoyed listening to in his fifth grade typing class. Similar to his reasoning for choosing “My Name Is,” ERNEST notes that “In da Club” is “a great hook” and considers it “the modern day ‘Happy Birthday.’”
After releasing his latest album Flower Shops on March 11th, ERNEST shared that he plans to release more music and play lots of shows in 2022.
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