In Tune with Uncle Kracker: A Revealing Q&A Session

By Zoe Blakeman

Introducing the man behind the music, the charismatic troubadour whose melodies have woven their way into the hearts of fans worldwide: Uncle Kracker. In this exclusive Q&A session, we dive into the life and career of this iconic artist, exploring the stories behind his songs and the inspirations that drive his creativity.

Join us as we uncover the personal and professional journey of Uncle Kracker, from his beginnings in Detroit to his rise to fame as a solo artist. Here are some firsthand insights, anecdotes, and reflections from the man himself as we navigate the fascinating world of Uncle Kracker.

Read the Q&A below!

ZB: Our music spans multiple genres, from rock to country to pop. How do you navigate between these different styles, and what draws you to each of them?

UK: I like a little bit of all music. I like certain things about different genres. So, when I write music, things are never just black and white. Whatever feels good at the time is what I write; it meshes genres sometimes. What draws me the most is whatever is going on at the moment. I feel things in the moment and take everything day by day.

It’s whatever feeds my inspiration. It could be something like soul-sounding, pop-sounding, or even rock-sounding. I’m all over the place, which keeps it fun and interesting. But I’ve been lucky because when I got a record deal, nobody was ever around in the studio, and nobody was overseeing the music I was making. It was awesome and terrible at the same time. When it came time to put a record out, nobody knew who I was, and nobody told me what kind of music I should make. So, I made what I wanted to make, which was awesome.

ZB: “Follow Me” was a massive hit that resonated with many people. Can you share the story behind the song and what it means to you personally?

UK: There was no real personal story to “Follow Me.” It was just gibberish when I wrote it. I was paying homage to all the old Motown music, which is why the chorus has a lot of harmony. It was originally done with just a finger snap and a melody, and that was it. As we continued with the record, Mike Bradford came in with a guitar underneath the melody and an intro, which was needed.

There is no real meaning behind the song. It makes it even more awesome when people tell me it was their wedding song. I love that people can take it any way they want. It doesn’t have to mean just one thing. People have their own interpretations of things. I could say something so dark and weird, and people could get something so positive out of it, which is kind of crazy.

ZB: You’ve collaborated with artists like Kid Rock and Kenny Chesney. How do these collaborations influence your own music, and what do you enjoy most about working with other musicians?

UK: I’ve worked with Kid Rock for a long time, and we’ve written many songs together for his albums and my albums. He and I have influenced each other a lot. He’s been an older brother figure to me since I was 13, affecting me greatly. He’s helped me tremendously with songwriting as a craft.

Like everything else, he does many things that I don’t do. Working with Chesney is awesome. He’s taught me to relax a lot, and he has such a carefree vibe. I mean carefree because he has a carefree feeling, but he cares a lot about his music and how he interacts with the world. I don’t normally like working with others because it turns out to be a mess. Trying to coordinate with people’s schedules gets in the way of the original collaboration.

ZB: Your latest album explores themes of love, life, and redemption. What inspired the direction of this album, and how do you hope listeners will connect with it? What do you want people to take away from it?

UK: I put my own experiences and thoughts into these albums, and I just want people to take what they can from that. I can only be so lucky that people take away anything from my songs. I’m lucky they even listen to my songs, but I’m even luckier that people take away anything positive from my music. It’s the same way music has helped me growing up. My overall constitution is hoping people take away good things from anything I do.

ZB: You’ve been in the music industry for a long time. How has your approach to songwriting and performing evolved over the years?

UK: I want to say it’s evolved greatly, but it really hasn’t. The only thing that’s changed for me is my confidence and ability to care or not care when needed. That probably comes with the confidence part, but I have become more confident in myself and my music. I want to say I’ve matured a lot over the years, but I don’t think that’s true either!

I don’t feel any smarter than when I walked out of high school. I’ve learned a lot of life lessons, but my evolution hasn’t been that great. I’ve always known who I am, so I don’t think I’ve changed much. I still give the same amount of energy toward songwriting as I did when I was 19. I’ve always had fun with music, and I don’t think that’ll go away.

ZB: Your music often has a laid-back, feel-good vibe. How do you cultivate that atmosphere in the studio and during live performances?

UK: I’m a pretty laid-back dude, a perpetual man of leisure if you will, and I think my music resonates with those vibes. I don’t like anything angry or mad, but I’m like everybody else, just working for the weekend.

ZB: In addition to your music career, you’re known for your philanthropic work. Can you tell us about some of the causes that are important to you and how you use your platform to support them?

UK: I don’t really use my platform for that type of thing. I’ll donate my time to homeless teen shelters or donate dinners, but I don’t use my platform for these things. I never have, and I don’t plan on doing so. I like to donate to hospice and Alzheimers, but a lot of my time more than anything else. I never want to use my platform for these things because I like to donate as me, not as Uncle Kracker.

ZB: What can we expect from your upcoming performance at Soldier Field next month?

UK: Good vibes and a lot of crowd participation. Nothing crazy like no smoke or fire unless cigarettes count. I don’t like to put too much pressure on it because nobody gets disappointed—just good vibes.

Check out more great interviews here!


Uncle Kracker cuts right to the chase. He knows people want to kick back, forget about their troubles, and have a good time, so he’s always willing to oblige. For over two decades, the multi-platinum artist born Matthew Shafer has consistently soundtracked such good times with his boldly breezy blend of country, pop, and rock spiked with a splash of hip-hop.

The world initially met Uncle Kracker during his stint in Kid Rock’s Twisted Brown Trucker Band, lending his songwriting and musical acumen to seven cuts off the RIAA diamond-certified Devil Without A Cause. However, fans fell in love with him on his solo debut Double Wide in 2000.

It not only crashed the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 at #7, but it also picked up a double-platinum certification and paved the way for the gold-certified follow-up No Stranger To Shame [2002]. He has impressively notched #1 entries in three different genre lanes, topping Pop, Adult Contemporary, and Country charts.

The platinum “Follow Me” clinched #1 in four countries, while the double-platinum “When The Sun Goes Down” [with Kenny Chesney] vaulted to #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks Chart. He made history with his cover of Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away.” It logged 28 consecutive weeks at #1 on Adult Contemporary Radio, earning “the most weeks atop any Billboard chart.” Meanwhile, “Smile” shined across culture.

It reached triple-platinum status and landed dozens of syncs, including a spot for The Office and a tribute montage to Regis Philbin on his final episode of Live With Regis & Kelly. Following 2012’s country album Midnight Special, he served up singles such as “Endlessly,” “Floatin’,” and “No Time To Be Sober.”

Now in 2023, he’s released “Sweet 16” — his first proper single since the notorious pandemic — followed by “Reason To Drink” and most recently, “Cruising Altitude.”


MAY 18 SAT – Mercedes-Benz Stadium @ 5:00pm – Atlanta, GA, United States

MAY 25 SAT – Commanders Field @ 5:00pm – Landover, MD, United States

JUN 1 SAT – Acrisure Stadium @ 5:00pm – Pittsburgh, PA, United States

JUN 7 FRI – CMA Fest 2024 @ 11:00am – Nashville, TN, United States

JUN 8 SAT – Lincoln Financial Field @ 5:00pm – Philadelphia, PA, United States

JUN 14 FRI – Stix Ludington @ 7:00pm – Ludington, MI, United States

JUN 15 SAT – Soldier Field @ 5:00pm – Chicago, IL, United States

JUN 21 FRI – Rock The Country at The Grounds @ 12:00pm – Mobile, AL, United States

JUN 22 SAT – American Family Field @ 5:00pm – Milwaukee, WI, United States

JUN 28 FRI – Rock The Country at Brick’s Offroad Park @ 12:00pm – Poplar Bluff, MO, United States

JUN 29 SAT – TQL Stadium @ 5:00pm – Cincinnati, OH, United States

JUN 30 SUN – Adelphia Music Hall @ 7:00pm – Marietta, OH, United States

JUL 4 THU – Lazy Gators @ 7:30pm – Lake Ozark, MO, United States

JUL 5 FRI – Barnato @ 8:00pm – Omaha, NE, United States

JUL 6 SAT – Arrowhead Stadium @ 5:00pm – Kansas City, MO, United States

JUL 7 SUN – Captain’s Getaway @ 7:00pm – Arnolds Park, IA, United States

JUL 11 THU – The Newberry @ 7:30pm – Great Falls, MT, United States

JUL 12 FRI – Happy’s Inn @ 6:00pm – Libby, MT, United States

JUL 13 SAT – Lumen Field @ 5:00pm – Seattle, WA, United States

JUL 16 TUE – America First Field @ 5:00pm – Sandy, UT, United States

JUL 18 THU – The Guild Theatre @ 8:00pm – Menlo Park, CA, United States

JUL 20 SAT – SoFi Stadium @ 5:00pm – Inglewood, CA, United States

JUL 27 SAT – Empower Field at Mile High @ 5:00pm – Denver, CO, United States

JUL 31 WED – Lafayette’s Music Room @ 7:00pm – Memphis, TN, United States

AUG 3 SAT – Nissan Stadium @ 5:00pm – Nashville, TN, United States

AUG 8 THU – Historic Crew Stadium @ 5:00pm – Columbus, OH, United States

AUG 9 FRI – Cheboygan County Fair @ 7:00pm – Cheboygan, MI, United States

AUG 10 SAT – Ford Field @ 5:00pm – Detroit, MI, United States

AUG 11 SUN – Washington Town & Country Fair @ 6:00pm – Washington, MO, United States

AUG 17 SAT – MetLife Stadium @ 5:00pm – East Rutherford, NJ, United States

AUG 23 FRI – Gillette Stadium @ 5:00pm – Foxborough, MA, United States

AUG 24 SAT – Gillette Stadium @ 5:00pm – Foxborough, MA, United States

AUG 25 SUN – Gillette Stadium @ 5:00pm – Foxborough, MA, United States

AUG 30 FRI – Nugget Casino Resort @ 7:00pm – Sparks, NV, United States

SEP 6 FRI – Indian Crossing Casino – Waterfront Restaurant & Ballroom @ 6:30pm – Waupaca, WI, United States

SEP 7 SAT – Foster Park @ 6:00pm – Kokomo, IN, United States