In an alternate timeline, Scots singer Chris Andreucci has just played the biggest gig of his career, sharing the bill at a huge arena show with one of his idols.
To add to that, the Glasgow-based songwriter is preparing to jet out to the US, ready to work alongside top record label producers in the mecca for country music, Nashville.
Unfortunately though, like many other up and coming artists, the coronavirus outbreak has put plans on hold for now.
But it’s very much a case of hitting pause not stop for Chris and his fellow musicians.
“We’re all in the same position, and it’s a real bummer because that’s how we pay the bills and promote ourselves,” the 21-year-old says.
“We’re fortunate enough though to live in the digital age, where we have the services of Facebook Live and whatnot that we can use to virtually play a show to our fans and interact with them.
“It’s not a really comfortable or natural thing to do but the fans really get behind you and support you, tipping over PayPal and things like that.”
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Chris hopes that 2020 will still have plenty of ups despite the disappointment of his appearance at the Country 2 Country festival at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro being postponed.
He had been due to play at the popular weekender last month, before it became one of many gigs to be called off this year.
“It’s a shame really, it was something that I was thinking would be the highlight of my year,” he says. “I was going to be on the same bill as Luke Combs, who is an idol of mine and I even have his lyrics tattooed on me.
“Health and safety comes first though and it was the right thing to do. I spoke with the organisers and they guaranteed me my slot at the rescheduled date.
“Every cloud has a silver lining so hopefully it goes well and we all get to play together again and celebrate.”
Country music is often described as three chords and the truth, with Chris saying that his style perhaps adds a couple of extra chords but encompasses his personality, whether it’s a slow number or something more upbeat.
A genre that’s much maligned, he reckons it’s become cool again as people finally realise it’s not just ‘sad cowboy songs’.
“There really is a modern take on the whole genre, it’s exciting,” he says.
“I’ve been amazed at the amount of people at gigs that I play in hotels or bars who come up and say that they usually don’t get any country here but loved it.”
Chris cites the musical education given to him by his dad as setting him on the path to country music.
Willie Nelson was the starting point, as well as a bit of Bruce Springsteen and many more in a wide range of artists.
But it was his time studying abroad in the USA that really sparked his career.
“It changed my songwriting in general,” he says. “I started loving to tell the stories and that’s one thing I love about country music.
“It’s not just a song, you can actually understand exactly where the songwriter is and what they’re telling you about and feel the emotion.
“To be able to recreate that myself is incredible and I guess that’s why I’ve fallen in love with it.”
Heading out to North Carolina on exchange as part of his international business and marketing course at Strathclyde University in January 2019, Chris played a few shows locally to get a feel for the American crowd.
He then expanded his horizons – and ended up playing coast-to-coast.
“It’s very different from the UK or especially a Glasgow crowd. I thought I might as well go on a tour. I started booking venues, wherever I could get in the states nearby.
“I started up in Pennsylvania, did Philadelphia and then, when you play one place, other bars and venues start asking you to play.
“The Scottish influence really helped and, before I knew it, I had 17 shows playing through 15 states from the east coast, through the south and out to California.
“Nine times out of ten when you’re chatting between songs with the audience, the first two seconds are people looking at you trying to work out what you’re saying!
“Once they get through that they love it, and are always trying to buy me drinks at the bar afterwards.
“There’s a different culture there, it helped me relax and get used to speaking to people and playing in America.”
About halfway through, Chris stopped off in the spiritual home of country music, Nashville.
One of the few places you can walk down the streets at 10:30am to find bars packed with people having a beer and enjoying some live music, Chris reckons it has a buzz like no other place he’s been.
He says: “The thing I love about it is that, no matter if you’re a country music fan or not, everyone goes there and has a great time. Everyone lets their hair down, sings and dances.
“It doesn’t matter where you’re from, for the time you’re there it’s incredible. Every time I go back I get the same feeling, the novelty doesn’t wear off.”
While he was there on tour, Chris played in a writers round, where artists and songwriters take turns to perform their work and give background on what the song’s about.
Luckily for Chris, watching were representatives of Century Music Group, who were keen to sign someone new.
“A Scottish guy playing country music was something a little bit different for them. They liked it and the following week we signed a deal.
“The tour was incredible and unlocked so many opportunities. I got to meet so many new people and experience so many new things.
“I couldn’t really believe it. I’m just a guy from Ayr! It’s a bit surreal but you stay humble and just keep doing your music and writing. Keep working hard, stay grounded and don’t let it get to your head.
“The label have been great with me. They let me finish my degree and have really taken me under their wing. I’m really grateful for the position I’m in.”
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Post-lockdown, Chris will be heading back across the pond to play more shows and get into the studio again.
And it won’t just be a fleeting visit, he intends to stay for a few months.
“The unknown excites me, there’s something about it,” he admits. “There’s a lot more opportunity out there for me and having done it last year it’s something that I feel I need to do.
“I’m excited, a little nervous because you never know what can happen 4,000 miles across the ocean away from your family.”
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