It’s a long way from a potato farm in Delaware to the top of the country charts, but Chuck Wicks made the journey, and along the way has become quite the Renaissance man. A gifted singer/songwriter, devoted conservationist, triathlon competitor and acclaimed broadcast personality, Wicks tackles his multiple passions with humor, heart and an impressive work ethic.
As co-host of America’s Morning Show with Blair Garner, Wicks has proven he’s equally skilled on either side of microphone. Whether he’s interviewing one of his country music peers during the popular show or delivering a new song from his Blaster Records debut Turning Point, Wicks has earned respect as an impressive communicator and multi-faceted talent. “The days of being one dimensional are over,” he says with a smile. Take opportunity and make opportunity. Why do just one thing if you have opportunities to do something else? Go out and do everything you can do. You only get one shot.”
Armed with an abundance of energy, inquisitive nature and fearless creative streak, Wicks first established himself as a songwriter before making the leap to hit recording artist. He’s penned songs for Frankie Ballard, Steve Holy, the Swon Brothers and Jason Aldean, among others, and he co-wrote all but one song on his 2008 RCA album Starting Now. As an artist, his immediately recognizable voice has propelled such hits as “Stealing Cinderella” and “All I Ever Wanted.”
Wicks has continued to engage fans with such songs as “Salt Life,” a celebration of his favorite way of life that put him in partnership with the popular Salt Life lifestyle brand, and the poignant ballad “Us Again,” a Top 40 single which garnered strong digital sales. Those are two of the many highlights on his Blaster Records debut, Turning Point. “The singer and the songwriter part of me has never left and I’ve always been striving to do it at the highest level,” Wicks says of his commitment to his craft. “It’s exciting to have new music.
“If I had one statement around this new record it’s, ‘Hey, I’m back, but I never really went anywhere.’ This is only my second full-length album. I wanted to write songs that vocally show where I am now because I’m in a different place than I was on the first record. I’ve grown so much as a person and I’ve grown stylistically. I’ve come into a new space and I think this record is going to show that.”
That spirit of growth and change is also what inspired the album’s title. “Opportunities are awesome, but sometimes they can be a little intimidating. And that’s where I felt I was with this record. I had the opportunity to do a lot of different things — all rewarding in their own ways — and all a little scary. I didn’t want to take the safe road, and it was kind of a turning point for me. This record captures that raw emotion, that intimidation, that excitement, and the thrill of the unknown.
The songs on Turning Point range from the moody angst of “She’s Gone” to the playful “Salt Life” and the gorgeous ballad “Always,” sure to be a wedding staple for years to come. “I wrote that song from a very honest place,” he shares. “I didn’t want to get complicated with it and have a lyric that nobody understood and had to look it up in a dictionary. It was like, ‘What would you say if she was standing right in front of you?’”
He also serves up his own rendition of “I Don’t Do Lonely Well,” a Wicks composition that Aldean recorded on his Night Train album. “My version is a lot different than his,” says Wicks, who co-produced his new album with Andy Dodd. “Same lyrics, same melodies in the chorus, but the verses are a little different, a little sparse. It’s a little organic, more vibey. The record I cut on it is a little more laid back. It’s a more intimate setting.”
Wicks developed his passion for music growing up on his family’s 1,500-acre farm in Smyrna, Delaware, where he spent time working in the fields, which included planting 12 acres of pumpkins by hand.
His mom flooded their home with the ’80s sounds of Journey, Chicago and Whitney Houston while his dad introduced him to country by way of their local radio station who had artists like Joe Diffie and Tracy Lawrence on rotation. “When I got into college it was Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, all those guys,” Wicks recalls. “I was a huge fan of Bryan White. That stuff he put out was fantastic, and like the rest of the world, I listened to Garth Brooks.”
Working on his family’s farm instilled in Wicks a strong work ethic that continues to serve him well today as he juggles his recording and broadcasting careers while also training for the Ironman triathlon. “It’s a challenge,” Wicks admits with a grin. “It’s really tough, but I’ve always been an athlete. I went to college and wanted to play baseball. The first Ironman I’m going to do is the 70.3, which is also known as the half Ironman. It starts with a 1.2-mile swim, then you go right into a 56-mile bike ride, and then right into a half marathon. I love being an athlete. I love competition. I love staying in shape. This was the perfect thing for me to push myself.”
An avid outdoorsman, Wicks is involved in the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, which helps protect and preserve the elk population, and wildlife conservation is one of his passions. Somehow he finds time in his busy life to incorporate all the things that matter most to him, and he’s always striving to improve. “I’ve always been a guy who has never been satisfied,” he confesses. “I’m happy and I get excited when I can look back on stuff and say, ‘That was a cool thing!’ But I always want to be better than yesterday. I always want to write a better song than I did yesterday and I always want to do a better show on America’s Morning Show than I did yesterday. In everything that I do, I want to excel and get better. I just want to keep going. I can’t see myself standing still.”