The rumors have been circulating for about 6 weeks now, and it appears that they are true. Less than 5 months after signing with Dot Records/Big Machine Label Group, Season 7 Voice winner Craig Wayne Boyd is no longer on the label. The single he will perform on the show tonight has been released to Itunes under “Long Haul Records,” his own imprint that seems to be named after a track on his 2013 I Ain’t No Quitter album.
UPDATE: Craig Wayne Boyd tweeted this morning claiming he “ask[ed] off the label” (thanks Amy Beth for the heads up). Not surprising that they may not have seen eye-to-eye.
— Craig Wayne Boyd (@CWBYall) May 6, 2015
Craig Wayne Boyd was removed from the Big Machine Label Group website in mid-March, shortly after Big Machine Label Group head Scott Borchetta interviewed with San Jose country station KRTY and talked about how sometimes, you find that an artist is “unteachable, that they’re not going to get it, and you have to terminate the relationship, which is very hard to do” (around the 3:45 mark):
He went on to compliment Voice Season 4 champ Danielle Bradbery on her development for her sophomore album (she and fellow Voice alumna Cassadee Pope and RaeLynn remain on BMLG labels). But speculation about Craig Wayne Boyd’s status on the label was quieted when the Big Machine Twitter account posted this on March 28:
— BigMachine (@BigMachine) March 28, 2015
But as more time went by without his reappearance on the Dot Records website and no sign of a new single to radio, speculation kicked back up. Last Friday, a notable omission in this tweet seemed to indicate that Craig was indeed, no longer with Dot Records:
— Craig Wayne Boyd (@CWBYall) May 2, 2015
Craig Wayne Boyd’s only single for Dot Records, his coronation song “My Baby’s Got A Smile On Her Face,” written by Mark Merchetti and Steph Jones and produced by his Voice coach Blake Shelton debuted at #1 on the multi-metric Billboard Hot Country Songs based on 1st week sales of 99k, before crashing off that chart the following week with a 94% drop in sales. It was sent to country radio via Play MPE on January 12, 2015, but never got an official adds date, and did not chart on the Billboard Country Airplay or the Country Aircheck/Mediabase chart. Dot Records never sent Craig Wayne Boyd out on the radio tour expected of new acts to introduce themselves to programmers around the country – a sign of the label’s lack of investment in him.
Instead, he utilized the time by gigging around, including a number of dates opening for Rascal Flatts in February and March. During that time, he debuted the song he will perform on The Voice tonight, “I’m Still Here,” which he cowrote with Arlis Albritton and Josh Helm while still on The Voice. Check out video of a performance of the song here:
Craig Wayne Boyd’s country radio prospects didn’t seem great unless he changed his style to incorporate ill-fitting beats, rawk posturing, and acting 15-20 years younger than he is, especially considering that new male acts with pre-established fanbases have had a mixed track record at country radio over the past 6-7 years. Still, it’s surprising that Dot didn’t at least try to leverage his post-Voice fanbase into an album.
While Dot Records never seemed to give him much of a chance, Craig Wayne Boyd appears to be forging ahead. He recently shot a commercial for the Nissan Titan 2016:
— Arlis Albritton (@arlisalbritton) April 30, 2015
It will certainly be interesting to see what Craig Wayne Boyd has to say about his label experience if asked while doing Voice-related media tonight.