‘Nashville’ Actor Chris Carmack Says Recording ‘What if I Was Willing’ Caused More Anxiety Than Kissing Gunnar
Wednesday night’s (Oct. 9) episode of ‘Nashville‘ on ABC found closeted gay country singer Will on stage at the Wildhorse Saloon singing ‘What if I Was Willing’ to a crowd that included Gunnar Scott (actor Sam Palladio), his friend and the man he tried to put a move on before Season 1 wrapped in May. Actor Chris Carmack tells Taste of Country that cutting recording and performing this song — which is now available on iTunes — was more nerve-racking than his big kiss.
Carmack, who previously starred in the Fox drama ‘The O.C.,’ is new to country music, but he’s been doing the research just like he spent years researching and playing blues music while living in Los Angeles. He would often cut songs at his home studio in L.A., but never released any.
“As an actor, people are gonna say, ‘Oh, I’m just some stinky actor who wishes he was a musician.’ So I kind of sat on it all,” he says. Carmack knew he had the chops, but wondered if he could keep up with the professionals in Nashville.
“Everybody here on the production is sort of rooting for you to succeed, that’s for sure,” he shares. “But still when I walk into a recording session with Michael Knox (Jason Aldean‘s producer) and all of these professional musicians I can’t help but feel a little out of my league.”
Brian Davis, Randy Montana and Billy Montana wrote ‘What if I Was Willing,’ an uptempo country-rocker (hear it below). On the show, Gunnar wrote the song. He and Will are still living together after last season’s awkward moment. So far, the response to Carmack’s character and music has been positive, he says, especially from the gay community, who are grateful he took a role that many actors would turn down.
“What is funny is when I run into people and they recognize me from the show, they’ll go, ‘Oh, you’re the uh …’ [laughs],” the star tells us. “They just pause and go, ‘The new guy!’ Everybody wants to say, ‘Oh, you’re the gay cowboy,’ and not with any derision, but with excitement … but people are scared to say it.”
As for Will’s future? Carmack says he doesn’t see scripts more than an episode or two in advance, so he’s not sure. However, the character’s big secret is sort of like a gun put in a drawer at the beginning of a play. By the end, it’s going to go off.
“It seems likely, doesn’t it,” he says about a potential outing, nonchalantly at first. “I don’t wanna give anything away, but it does seem likely, doesn’t it.”
As if fans needed another reason to tune in. ‘Nashville’ airs Wednesday nights on ABC.
Listen to Chris Carmack, ‘What If I Was Willing’