Daughtry Grace the Cover of Billboard Magazine

Chris Daughtry and his band have the big cover story in next week’s issue of Billboard. Daughtry’s next record, Leave this Town, is set to be released July 14.

The band’s next single, a ballad called “Life After You” will be released to radio this fall, following their current single, “No Surprise”. At the end of September Daughtry begins a 100-stop North American tour.

Check out some choice quotes from the story after the jump.

The group’s second album, “Leave This Town, ” set for release July 14, gets a leg up from this foundation; it’s another record full of songs that make you want to roll down the car windows and bust a vocal cord or two while trying to match Daughtry’s gravelly wail. But there’s one key change to the music: Daughtry’ the band’ created this album, instead of it being the work of Daughtry the brand.

Right now the leading contender for the second single is the ballad “Life After You, ” a plaintive take on loss that’s reminiscent of “Home” from “Daughtry.” McIlwaine is giving “No Surprise” plenty of time to develop; “Life After You” will start being worked to radio in the fall.

And while Daughtry’s voice and rock riffs still play center stage to most of the album’s tracks, several songs take some creative chances. Daughtry wrote “You Don’t Belong” on his own; it’s a hard-driving song that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Alice in Chains album. And “Tennessee Line, ” featuring a fiddle and vocals from Vince Gill, fits comfortably in the country-rock crossover space, a la Lady Antebellum.

In total, they developed more than 70 tracks for “Leave This Town.” “It was easy to find the 20, ” Daughtry says with a laugh about the album’s shortlist. “There were about 50 that were about nothing.”

They road-tested some of the contenders during their performances’ a smart strategy, given their touring success. According to Billboard Boxscore, as a headliner, Daughtry grossed $1.4 million from 29 shows, selling out 28 of those dates. The members really made their name as an opening act for both Bon Jovi and Nickelback; as part of those concerts they played to 1.2 million attendees and grossed $95.5 million.

This time Daughtry will tour as an established headliner in support of “Town.” The band will do 15 shows this summer across the country for fan club members and radio contest winners; at the end of September Daughtry begins a 100-stop North American tour.

The label is considering appearances in Australia, South Africa and Europe. The United Kingdom was Daughtry’s most significant sales territory outside the United States, where “Daughtry” peaked at No. 13 and has sold 42, 000 copies, according to the Official Charts Co.

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