IMPACT: Daughtry Steps Out of the Comfort Zone for Folk-Tinged New Album, ‘Baptized’

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In celebration of their fourth album Baptized, released Tuesday (Nov. 19), Daughtry are the CBS Radio Impact band of the week.

Motivated by creative co-writing sessions with Martin Johnson of Boys Like Girls, Sam Hollander [Gym Class Heroes, Coheed and Cambria], and Claude Kelly [Bruno Mars, Whitney Houston], leader Chris Daughtry found the album’s new direction.

“I needed a change,” he said. “I started hearing these new sounds over my voice, and it was so inspiring. There wasn’t just one style either. It was a completely different vibe all around. I really wanted to pursue that to the fullest. This is probably one of the most inspiring records I’ve ever done.”

Daughtry had a hand in writing all 12 of the tracks on the album. In between touring, he’d fly to Los Angeles to meet Johnson, Hollander and Kelly in the studio, each writer would pushing him in a new direction.

“As fans of the band, they [the songwriters] would do things that I normally wouldn’t do, and that’s why it was so exciting,” he said. “I was much more open to explore a new style of writing with this album. Whether it was on keyboard, piano, or even banjo in some cases, the soundscape really felt alive. We’d write a song together and cut the vocals right then and there to capture that energy. It happened so quickly. We didn’t need to overthink anything. The magic was there.”

Daughtry’s current single “Long Live Rock & Roll,” written with Johnson and Hollander, is an example of just this. The folk-tinged track includes hand-clapped rhythms, banjo and arena-ready anthems, bringing to mind acts like Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers.

“It was so far out of my normal comfort zone,” he said. “Everything has always been so serious in the past, but rock ‘n’ roll is meant to be fun. I wanted to cut loose and have a good time. We went places I’d never been musically.”

Daughtry album artwork

Title track “Baptized” also follows uncharted territory, as Daughtry embraced the dobro for the first time. “I always wanted to call the album Baptized, because it felt like a new chapter,” he said. “It’s a bold statement.”

For the debut single off the album, “Waiting for Superman,” Daughtry looked to his wife and daughter for inspiration.

“It was never about a superhero per se,” he said. “It’s about waiting for that someone in your life to step up and be what you need in that moment as a ‘rock’ or ‘strength.’ I’ve heard it so many times. I chose one of the biggest pop culture archetypes out there because it can mean many different things. I love the image of a girl waiting for someone to save her. Personally, it stems from my own experiences with my teenage daughter and wife. They were my muses.”

While Daughtry embraced new instruments and writing styles on Baptized, he can only hope fans keep an open mind.

“The songs are very much what I do lyrically and melodically. I’ve always been a sucker for a great melody. That’s what songwriting is all about. Can people relate to this? Is it real? Is it honest? That’s what everyone should take away. It’s real and authentic. This is where I am right now.”


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