Interview

John Fullbright is OK-bound

Photo Credit: Vicki Farmer

Grammy-nominated singer songwriter John Fullbright returns to his home state this month with stops at Edmond’s UCO Mitchell Hall Dec. 12, OKC’s venerable Blue Door Dec. 13 and Tulsa’s Timeless Honky Tonk, the Cain’s Ballroom, Dec. 19. This young, singer songwriter is a huge talent with a dry sense of humor and beautifully crafted songs that can break your heart.

 Fullbright recently moved to Tulsa where he is closer to his family as well as some of his fellow Okie musicians. “It’s a really cool music scene, and I wanted to see what that was like. So far, it’s been a lot of fun,” Fullbright commented. “It keeps me closer to my family for right now. Both my brothers have little kids that are all about the same age, and when you’re on the road as much as I am, it’s hard to miss little milestones in their lives. It’s nice to be a little bit closer to all of that.”

For Fullbright, playing to a home crowd has both its benefits and its challenges. “It’s not playing to a crowd of strangers,” he explained. “I can look out into the audience and see 200 faces that I know, and that’s nice. It makes you feel like you need to bring the ‘A’ game. You need to bring something new because you do look out and see faces that you’ve seen before, and you don’t want to play the same old show. You want to do something better.”

Prior to his 25th birthday, Fullbright received a Grammy-nomination and heaps of critical acclaim for his 2012 release, From the Ground Up. While he’s grateful for the recognition so early on in his career, it’s hard to deny there’s a certain amount of pressure that comes along with it. “I feel it. It’s a fear for sure,” Fullbright acknowledged. “But in the past couple of years, I’ve learned how to separate all of that from the actual act of songwriting. There’s a playfulness and a seriousness that go hand in hand in songwriting. It can’t just be one or the other. You can’t be loose and you can’t be playful and you can’t take chances whenever you’re scared stiff of what somebody’s going to say. That sounds cliché, but it’s really something you have to work to get over whenever the accolades come so quickly.”

The young musician is philosophical. “There’s a Chinese proverb that says, ‘I wish you all the success in the world too soon.’ It’s effectively an insult. It’s a curse. You have to keep that in check. It’s a fear, but if you really shine a spotlight on it, it’s nothing. It’s absolutely nothing. That’s what I’ve been schooling myself in – the practice of shining a spotlight on that kind of fear and just saying it doesn’t actually exist. You just think that it does, but it doesn’t actually.”