Miqael Persson aka Hicks is an award-winning songwriter from the south of Sweden, with multiple Gold and Platinum records to his credit. His rock-edged songs have been recorded by artists like Jimi Jamison (Survivor), Giant (Dann Huff), Bobby Kimball (Toto), Little River Band, W.E.T. (Featuring Jeff Scott Soto), Grammy nominated Toby Hitchcock and Grammy winner, Barbados. Hicks is an Independent Country Music Association award winner, an International Music and Entertainment Association award nominee, a Nashville Universe Award nominee and the British Country Music Association’s 2013 European Country Act of the Year. He has written with Nashville heavy-hitters like Anthony Smith, Dallas Rogers, Dennis Morgan and Sharon Vaughn. Hicks is also the first Swedish country act to reach the Music Row Top 80 (“Hayride,” #77). His follow-up is the barn-burning footstomper, “Mama’s Kitchen,” at country radio now.
Entertwine: Suffice to say, the past two years have been absolutely remarkable for you; congratulations on your many incredible accomplishments! What have been some of the most exciting or interesting situations and moments you’ve been a part of during this time?
Hicks: Thank you so much…Yeah I’m on this totally crazy ride… And it keeps rollin’. One of the biggest things was winning Best European Country Act Of The Year at British CMA in London 2013. And that got me a new nomination this year and I was invited to play at this years award show. Having my songs played on country radio all over the world. And being the only Swedish artist to chart a song on Music Row Country Chart. Got a lot of nominations for Song Of The Year, Video Of The Year, Songwriter Of The Year… Very very honored… I won Best International Country Artist at ICoMA Country Music Awards in Nashville this year.
I wanna give a big shout out to my manager Michael Stover at MTS Management Group for all his hard work making all this happen.
What was it like representing your home country of Sweden in Nashville at the CMA’s?
Surreal… Amazing… Mind blowing… I mean be invited to play at the biggest country music festival in the world. With all the greatest country artist in the world, and represent my country. That is just freakin’ awesome. And play and hang with all the other artist was so inspiring.
Meeting the fans was absolutely the best. I had fans that travelled all the way from Canada just to see me… humbling…
How did you get to this moment? Could you tell us a bit about your musical background?
Hard work… Staying focused… Luck… Faith… Hooking up with the right people… Getting out of the way, so I don’t stand in my own way, letting it happen. Maybe sounds a little out there. But I think we sometimes stand in our own way when we want something to happen. Pushing to hard so that we are so occupied with pushing instead of doing what we are supposed to do.
I grew up listening to country music. My mom and grandpa are big country music fans. So I grew up listening to Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash, Hank… I listened to rock and pop as well but those country songs made a stronger impact on me.
When I was twelve I did my first professional gig. And I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Not only did I get to play music in front of a lot of people. Somebody paid me to it. I had found my calling.
What led you to begin writing music in the first place?
I started to write songs in the different bands I was playing in. It just came natural. And after a while other bands and artist wanted songs from me. It took more and more of my time writing songs so I quit touring and wrote songs instead.
What do you like best about Nashville? How often are you able to visit the States? What are the differences between the music scenes of your hometown in Sweden and that of Nashville?
There’s so much that I like best about Nashville… The music… The atmosphere. It just feels different then any other town.
All the crazy talent that lives there. The honky tonks on Broadway. I know a lot of people hate them. Think they are too “touristy”. But I just love to hang on Broadway drinking beer and listening to music. And you never know who’s gonna turn up on stage. The songwriting. There must be something in the water that makes these guys so insanely talented. The people… it’s easy to get to know new people there.
[I visit home] once or twice per year… Nashville is my home away from home.
The country scene here isn’t that big yet. It’s starting to grow. There’s not that many places o play live for country music. As compared to Nashville where you can play everywhere.
Being a country artist over here you’re considered to be a little geeky. But over there is just who you are and what you do. When I’m in Nashville I don’t need to explain why I play country music. While here that’s the first question I get. Country music why??? And I say why not??? It’s who I am. That’s how I express myself. It’s what I love. Even though I’m coming from Sweden.
TV shows like Nashville and Heart Of Dixie sure helps to make people aware of country music. That it isn’t a guy that jodles in every song. That country music has evolved. We still have an old school look on country music over here.
You recently released a new song (‘Mama’s Kitchen’); could you tell us a bit about it? What inspired you to write this particular song?
That song is very special to me…
Me and my brothers we travel the world in our different lines of work.
One day my youngest brother called me from the airport in Stockholm wondered if I wanted to grab a cup of coffee while he was waiting for his flight to Helsinki. I couldn’t I was tied up with work. He said he’d give me a call when he was going back. Sure I said. He called me a few hours later from Brussels he had to go there in a hurry.
The day after that my other brother called me from Copenhagen where he works. And we just talked for a while.
A few days later I was on my way to Nashville and I thought about those calls. And I though that we don’t get to see each other that often me and my brothers but we always meet up in Mamas Kitchen… And I was just like Mamas Kitchen… that’s a song title. So I started writing it on the plane.
It’s an homage to our loving mom who always make sure we have a safe place to land and come home to. It’s in Mamas Kitchen we hang and tell our stories, tease each other. Having a great time just being family.
How will you begin the new year? What does 2015 hold in store for Hicks?
There’s lot going on in 2015…Just released Mamas Kitchen to radio. Very exited about that. Been asked to do a big UK tour in March. From the south of England to the north of Scotland. Going back to Nashville to perform and do some more songwriting. Going back to my hometown to play at big out door show in July. Gonna shoot a new video when it gets a little warmer over here. Finish up the album!