Wicks would write songs during the day and at night he often found himself parking cars that belonged to some of the co-writers he'd just written with. "As soon as I moved here I had to get a job," Wicks says. "I parked cars seven days a week at Fleming's Steak House. I was writing during the day and working at night. Some of those songwriters that I was writing with, I would actually park their car at night when they'd go out to dinner. It was a humbling experience for sure. I knew that I had to work hard and I knew there was a time where it wasn't going to be easy--and that was definitely the time--but I knew I just had to keep on going."
Perseverance paid off. Wicks landed a deal with RCA Records and began working on his album with producers Monty Powell and Dann Huff. The result is a compelling debut, a collection of songs that demonstrate a depth of artistry not usually found on a first album. The strength of the record is a reflection of the years Wicks spent honing his talent. There's a warm, self-assured quality to his voice, and the songs give voice to the hopes, fears and dreams of today's Americans.
"When You're Single" is an unflinching look at a solitary life and the desire to be in love. The song boasts a warm, lilting tone reminiscent of James Taylor at his best. On the flip side, "She's Gonna Hurt Somebody" is an up tempo ode to a woman who has been done wrong and is looking for revenge. "Man of the House" is a tender ballad about a young boy trying to help take care of his family while his father is away serving in the war. "Mine All Mine" showcases Wicks' penchant for R&B and the soulful edge in his voice.
The first single, "Stealing Cinderella," is about a guy asking his girlfriend's dad for her hand in marriage and seeing all the photos of her growing up. It's obvious she's the apple of her dad's eye but to him, the young man is "just some fella, riding in and stealing Cinderella." "There are a lot of great songs that I can't wait to get to, but as far as coming out of the box as a new artist, we wanted something that would stand out," says Wicks of the song, which was inspired by a girlfriend whose job was playing Cinderella at Disney World. "Just the title alone, ï¿½Stealing Cinderella,' makes you want to listen to it and when you listen to it, it's such a great story. We knew it was the right choice."
It's just latest in a long line of right choices for Chuck Wicks. He's a talented young artist, unafraid of hard work, and with a strong sense of his own musical identity. "This record reflects who I am as a person. I hope people will hear that and want to be a part of what I sing and write about," says Wicks, who will take these songs on the road in 2008, opening for Brad Paisley. "I don't think I'm like anybody else, and it translates through my music and the album that I made."
It may have taken a few years to get to this point, but Wicks wouldn't change a thing. "I'm a much better artist now," he says. "I wasn't ready before and now I am. I'm glad I parked cars for five years. It makes me appreciate everything that I've had to work for to get to this point."