Logan Mize finds success and satisfaction at home in Kansas

Prairieville, Kansas is not on any map, but it has become a way of life and life for Logan Mize, a country music singer from Clearwater who found his greatest success after returning from Nashville.

“It’s hard to write a country song when you’re in this mad rush for America’s fastest growing city,” recalls Mize, who lived in a housing estate 30 miles south of Music City. . “It feels like I’m lying when I get on the bus and we play somewhere in the middle of Nebraska at a festival. I was like, “I used to know what this stuff was like, now I live a whole different life. You feel like you’re lying to them.

Mize brought his wife and children back to south-central Kansas three years ago, living near Andale but with an address in Mount Hope, where he helps his in-laws with cultivation when not writing. songs, does not record or rotate.

“I’m just trying to live a bit like an average life in the Midwest and I think that helps me have a better writing outlook,” Mize said. “I’m still going to have this artistic bone and hunt it down, but it’s good to have a little bit of normalcy. You can get caught up in this plastic world of who’s-who and all that.

His latest album, “Welcome to Prairieville” was released in October and, while it reflects the prospect of a return to Kansas, it is also the creation of Mize and fellow Kansas native Blake Chaffin.

“It’s definitely inspired by growing up in this field for sure,” Mize said. “I started writing this album in 2011 when I was still living in Nashville. It was kind of a 10 year process to write this down. It started as a concept album from this fictional city and I started to dig into the concept.

It came to fruition when Mize met Chaffin, a Hays native who has been a songwriter in Nashville for decades. The two were set up on a songwriter’s “blind date” to collaborate on possible country songs, either for themselves or to present to other artists.

On their second meeting, they both realized the other was from Kansas and immediately had a shortcut to communicate.

“As we called it, we were both talking about a windmill,” Chaffin said.

Their weekly songwriting sessions on Tuesday continued for eight years.

“There are just certain ways of writing or talking about a small town, and how do you necessarily describe it to people who have never been there,” Chaffin said. “I think there is a Kansas influence in us and in our lives and who we are. It’s just a constant that has made writing for each of us so easy to collaborate with over the years.

Of the 11 songs on “Welcome to Prairieville”, eight are co-written by Mize and Chaffin (sometimes with a third author), one by the couple individually and one in collaboration with Mize and another author.

The videos on the album also reflect Mize’s roots, shot in and around Pretty Prairie and Clearwater, including her parent’s Mize’s Food Store.

“Welcome to Prairieville” is Mize’s fifth album since his eponymous debut in 2009. Like a growing number of music stars across genres, he doesn’t care as much about album sales or radio appearances as he does. of the successes he obtains on music. streaming services.

“It’s weird how the music industry has changed so quickly, and things are different now,” Mize said. “I made a conscious decision to focus on streaming and let radio play be something where if it happens, it happens.

“You can kind of see the new age coming where streaming would eventually take over, so I put all my eggs in that basket,” he added. “So far it has paid off.”

Chaffin added, “It’s hard to do the national radio thing with a label from Nashville to get you up the charts. You can still have access to Spotify and Apple Music playlists, it really has become the name of the game.

Social media is as much, if not more, of a launching pad for performers than radio, Chaffin said.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen with TikTok and stuff like that these days. Is Oprah going to see a song and tweet about it?” He said. “I see him making his own way. , and he’s had huge online success – millions and millions of streams of his songs. “

Although he has signed previous deals with the divisions of Sony and Atlantic Records, he is happy on a more independent label, Big Yellow Dog Music, where he signed a writing contract shortly after moving to Nashville.

“I’ve kind of learned in my experience that a contract with a big record company can be a positive thing if you’re open to it,” he said. “But you can kind of become a product. He loses this personal relationship. It felt very cold to me, and it wasn’t something I felt natural to do. I’ve always been better at DIY.

After moving to Nashville, Mize worked as a truck driver during the day and at 4 p.m. he made his way to one of the many songwriter nights at Nashville bars. Soon after, he signed a deal with a publishing house to start writing songs for $ 16,000 a year.

“I didn’t even know what a publishing house was,” he recalls, laughing. “My first thought was, ‘What am I going to do with all this money?’ “

Mize’s Kansas home, which spans five acres carved out of his wife, Jill’s family farm, includes a studio where he records demos, but he doesn’t have the staff to try and record an entire album. , did he declare. , although he is considering a studio in Kansas City for the next project.

“I would love to record everything here, but there are so many resources in Nashville that it’s hard to make that move,” he said.

Introduced as Jill Martin, Mize’s wife is also a songwriter who met when they collaborated in Nashville in 2009. They have two children, Lincoln, 10, and Violet, 6.

Writing songs is his favorite part of his job, Mize said, but he didn’t believe he could have been happy to write only on Music Row.

“I like being able to go places and like to load in a room and find out what the cool local cafe is and find the cool local music store,” he said. “There (in Nashville) it’s a 9 to 5 job, which I was trying to avoid in the first place.”

Next month, Mize will mark a turning point in her career with her first performance at the Grand Ole Opry. He is due to perform two songs during the performance on January 7.

Mize said he wasn’t nervous about performing on country music‘s most famous stage.

“I’m not too nervous anymore. I had the chance to spend 13 years on the road, to really sort out all the problems and to learn how to be a performer, ”he said. “There’s going to be that feeling of nervousness, especially since it’s the Opry. But it feels good to have the approval of the mothership. “

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