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Zac Barnett of American Authors Talks Upcoming Album, The Rock Boat Cruise, Hidden Gems in Las Vegas & More

From “Best Day of My Life” to “Blind for Love,” American Authors keep writing winners and tap into a hilarious holiday tradition amongst their travels.

The Boston-turned Brooklyn-bred band’s latest single, “Blind for Love,” is another upbeat undertaking that prompted the trio comprised of singer-guitarist Zac Barnett, bassist-keyboard player Dave Rublin and drummer Matt Sanchez to start a whole batch of fresh material.

Ever since the ubiquitous smash hit “Best Day of My Life,” American Authors have cranked out an impressive outpouring of pop, folk, indie and alternative rock, packed with several all-star collaborations.

The Travel Addict tracked down the famed frontman for a sneak preview of the upcoming album, and some lesser-known tips about where he now lives in Las Vegas. Barnett also went on to talk about what to expect after sailing away on The Rock Boat and a hilariously fun holiday tradition turned brand new tune.

What’s the story behind the single, “Blind for Love.”

We did this fourth album at my house in Las Vegas and we all came there. We turned the whole house into a studio, and literally on the first day of getting there, Dave was talking. He’s really into astrology and he was like, “We should do a song about signs and astrology.”

I’m like, “Okay,” I kind of went outside and I came back with the chorus that is “Blind for Love” now. The only thing I didn’t have was the tag. Dave has this really cool button-up shirt and on the back it says, “Blind For Love.” He was like, “What about ‘Blind for Love’? Oh, this is perfect!”

It kind of all stemmed from that. And then telling the story, just about not giving up on what you believe in and feel in your heart so strongly. It’s like the signs are pointing to this. I’m going to give it my all and never give up on true love.

 What can fans look forward to with the next album?

I like to tell people that not only is it the most focused and sonically cohesive album that we’ve done, but I like to mess around and tell people that it’s going to be the most American Authors album that American Authors has ever done.

Because really for us, no one knows American Authors more than we do. So that’s why we decided just to go to my house and block off the world. Ninety percent of the album, just the three of us wrote and produced.

We really wanted to, with this being our fourth album, touch on a lot of the elements that we’ve done in the past. We wanted to take sonics from certain songs from our third album. We wanted to take lyric ideas, and common threads of stories from our second album and add it in. We wanted to pull from everywhere we’ve been musically and put it all together to make one awesome, fun, meaningful album.

It was just the three of us, and we wrote and produced everything ourselves. These guys are my favorite writers. We’ve all been able to produce albums and have had a hand in that in the past. But also, our drummer Matt got so good at doing tracks and production that it’s like, “Well, we don’t really feel like we need anyone else to step in to help with the tracks or the music, because where we’re at now, we can kind of do that pretty well ourselves.”

What does your perfect day in Vegas look like?

People don’t give Vegas enough credit because everyone just knows the strip, but the nature and the outdoors in the Las Vegas area is so incredible. And they’re also so conveniently located. I live ten minutes from the strip on side roads, but then I also live ten minutes from one of the best national parks in the country, which is called Red Rock National Park. And it’s like insane mountains, insane hiking, and amazing mountain biking. It’s so fun.

Even if you’re downtown, the arts district in Las Vegas is super fun. You can go to the other side of Fremont Street, which is way more local, where you have Atomic Liquors, and all these really cool bars and restaurants opening up, so it’s really dope. And I’ll also tell people that for me, living in Las Vegas has so much more of a small-town feel than you would ever expect.

A lot of people are moving out of L.A. and going to cities like Austin, Nashville and Las Vegas. I think there are a lot of things that you typically find in L.A. popping up in all these other cities as well.

That’s true. With that being said, I would still say that for me personally, Southern California is my favorite place in the world. The weather is perfect. The mountains are right there. The beaches are insane. The nightlife is amazing. The culture’s crazy good. It’s just like everything there. It’s just so diverse as far as activities, people, the landscape. For me personally, I don’t think you can find all of that really anywhere else.

What are some items that you have to bring on tour with you?

My running shoes. I go running every morning. I do like three-and-a-half miles every morning. I like red wine a lot, so always bottles of red wine. I’m really into that.

Do you have a favorite? 

It always depends. I’m not super picky when it comes to it, but I will say we just did a beautiful trip up in Napa. I got to go to this really cool vineyard called Charter Oak and it was so rad. It’s this cool, old farmhouse where they organically made all the wine. It felt like you were essentially stepping into this person’s living room for the wine tasting. Then we played the piano that they had in the family room. It was a very cool experience.

You’ve collaborated with lots of great artists over the years, like Post Malone, Olivia Rodrigo and Santana. Are there any dream collaborations that you have?

Of course, there’s plenty of artists that we would love to collaborate with. We used to do a bunch of shows when we were coming up with Sam Smith, because we both had singles hitting radio at the same time. I would still love to collaborate with Sam Smith at any time. I think we would love to collaborate with Disclosure. That’s one of Dave’s favorite groups out there.

What have been some of the highlights of the current tour?

Yeah, well, because we’re talking about collaborators, one of our songs, called “Bring It On Home,” has Philip Phillips on it. So this has been a really awesome moment, to get to perform that song live for the first time with Phillip Phillips singing his verse.

I also see that you guys are going to be on The Rock Boat. Have you done that before and what are you looking forward to about playing music at sea?


We did our first Rock Boat last year and it was amazing, just so much fun. Great shows, great people. I drink. I love hot tubs. I would just sit in the hot tub and drink Vizzy Seltzers all day long. It was crazy. I think one night I spent like seven hours in the hot tub just watching all the bands on the stage there!

I don’t think you’re supposed to do that.

No. Exactly. When I when I told my fiancé about that afterwards, she’s like, “that’s really bad for you.”

This year on the Rock Boat, it’s going to be really fun because again. This year NEEDTOBREATHE and Magic Giant on the boat and we have songs with them. I feel like it’s going to be doing  a heavy collaborative cruise.

So that’s going to be fun for people to look forward to. Lots of collaborations on stage. It’s a weird thing with the music cruises because you’re kind of with the fans all the time, but they are pretty respectful of people. I find as long as you’re out and about, it’s a cool thing to be able to hang with the fans and still enjoy all the music with your friends too.

Do you have any fun favorite Christmas holiday traditions?

Yeah, of course. Well, we just released our new Christmas song called “Christmas Karaoke.” And that is a very true tradition where every Christmas Eve at my in-laws, we have dinner with the full family. We open gifts that night and then my father-in-law has this crazy good karaoke system in the living room. We turn it on and then the whole family just gets drunk and sings karaoke all night.

So “Christmas Karaoke,” the new song, is out now, but it’s also the best holiday tradition!

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