INTERVIEW: Hot Chelle Rae Influenced By Taylor Swift, In More Ways Than One

If you’re still not convinced that Taylor Swift possesses a pretty good amount of clout these days, look no further than Ryan Follese, the lead singer of Hot Chelle Rae. Ryan used to go by R.K. (his middle name is Keith). Then, Taylor Swift tweeted.

“Taylor Swift called me ‘Ryan’ to her 8 million followers,” Follese explained of the change, while also noting it is easier to search for Ryan Follese on the Internet than R.K. “That many fans rolled over to our fan base and our stuff and it was just easier.”


Swift is far from the only reason though that more people are discovering the Nashville quartet. After scoring a number one hit this year with, “Tonight Tonight,” HCR released its sophomore LP, Whatever. Promoting the new album took the band all across national TV, from “The Tonight Show” to “Live! with Kelly.” Although for guitarist Nash Overstreet, the group’s performance on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” stood out from the rest.

“’Fallon’ was the coolest just because of like, the set, and it was later in the day so we’re not waking up and all groggy,” Overstreet said. “He was one of the coolest guys ever, just really friendly, and so it was great to be on that show.”

Certainly it didn’t hurt that the other guests that evening were actor Jeremy Piven and rapper T.I. It also didn’t hurt that Fallon told Hot Chelle Rae he was a big fan of the group’s work.

“He was like, ‘Next time you come back we’re doing (a parody),’” recalled Follese. Fallon spoofed the band’s hit single with The Roots in an earlier episode. “It was really cool to meet somebody in that realm, and do the show, who is also a fan.”

But as cool as “Fallon” was for HCR, perhaps the guys’ biggest TV appearance to date was during the American Music Awards, when the band won the Sprint New Artist of the Year award. The nominees and winner were voted on by the fans.

“We weren’t expecting to make it past the first round,” the lead singer admitted. “But our fans, they mobilized on another level.”

Hot Chelle Rae recently announced dates for the 2012 Beautiful Freaks Tour, which the band headlines across the country. In between those dates, HCR will once again rub elbows with the oh-so-influential Swift, as the band supports her through a tour of Australia.

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