‘Everybody brings their own thing’: John Oates finds new inspiration away from Hall and Oates partnership

For years, John Oates was known for his work with Daryl Hall. These days, he’s working with a dizzying array of big-name collaborators — from Vince Gill to Hot Chelle Rae, not to mention producers for Taylor Swift and Eric Clapton.

A new project has opened up a whole world of possibility for Oates, who has begun releasing a series of singles — rather than the traditional studio effort. At some point down the road, the singer-songwriter says he’ll collect it all into a full-length called A Good Road to Follow, which follows his rootsy 2011 record Mississippi Mile.

“I didn’t want to make a solo album, because I think albums in general are becoming a thing of the past,” Oates says in the attached video from WMMR. “I’m calling this thing A Good Road to Follow, because it’s kind of like a musical journey that I’ve been on. I thought, if I don’t have to make an album, then I don’t have to care about whether the songs all fit together. So, I just decided I would do anything I wanted to do.”

That meant writing, recording and producing individual tracks together — regardless of how the themes or feel might vary. Already, Oates has sat in with country legend Vince Gill, pop hitmakers Hot Chelle Rae and Ryan Tedder from One Republic, bluegrass star Sam Bush, Taylor Swift producer Nathan Chapman and Eric Clapton producer Tommy Sims, among others. “Stand Strong,” featuring Teddy Morgan, arrived last month.

“What’s really cool about it is, everybody brings their own thing to this,” Oates says. “Each song is different. … I’m touching on all of the things I love about music. It doesn’t matter what style it is: Some of it’s R&B, some of it’s pop, some of it’s rock, some of it’s blues. It’s really cool.”

Oates helped compose a trio of charttopping Hall and Oates smash hits, “I Can’t Go For That,” “Maneater” and “Out of Touch.” He also co-wrote familiar tracks like “You Make My Dreams,” “She’s Gone,” “Sara Smile,” “Do What You Want, Be What You Are” and “Adult Education,” among others.

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