Jack Ingram has taken word-of-mouth to a new level. While promoting his album Big Dreams & High Hopes, the country singer-songwriter shattered the Guinness World Record for the most radio interviews in 24 hours -- clocking in at a whopping 215.
It's a noisy world out there and it's kind of hard to get your voice heard, says Ingram, who hasn't lost his gift for gab. It was a great stunt and got the word out about my record in a big way.
Debuting this week at No. 21 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart, Ingram's third Big Machine Records set was released August 25 -- the day Ingram kicked off his talk fest. The goal? To break the June record of 96 interviews in 24 hours set by communications gurus T.J. Walker and Jess Todtfeld. The previous record holders were Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump, who did 72 interviews one day in 2008.
Ingram's marathon began at 8 a.m. in New York. During the next 24 hours, land-line phone interviews, also streamed on CMT.com, encompassed most of the 50 states and beyond -- from Gippsland, Australia, to parts of Canada and Ireland.
There was just one qualifying rule: Each interview had to last exactly five minutes. On hand to certify the results was a Guinness representative.
I don't think people realize how long five minutes really is, Ingram says with a laugh. In my shoes, it was an eternity.
That's because some radio jocks focused only on the Guinness aspect and forgot to mention the new album. Once you tell them about the (Guinness record), there's not much more meat on that bone, Ingram says. After about two and a half minutes, some would say, 'It's great to be a part of this,' and I'd say, 'No, no, hold on, dude. We have to fill two-and-a-half more minutes.' So I'd end up answering questions they didn't ask or give a long answer about my favorite song on the album and why.
During the interview marathon, Ingram subsisted on water, Red Bull and Clif Bars (You get tired after you eat big meals, he says). Pressed into service for needed potty breaks were the restrooms in a local ice cream shop. It was a hit-and-run proposition: Limited to a half dozen, each break could last no longer than 60 seconds. Nobody realized they should have built in more breaks because nobody had done this before, Ingram says.
However, Ingram did take a late-night four-hour break. I was so wired after I got back to my hotel at midnight that I had a shot and a couple of beers, he says.
After the marathon ended, Ingram performed the album's current top 10 country single, Barefoot and Crazy, on Fox News' national morning show Fox & Friends. Then the singer flew to Dallas for a show that night.
I'm not a great singer to begin with, says the self-deprecating Ingram. So after talking for 24 hours and not getting much sleep, I was concerned I'd sound like crap. Luckily my voice held out. It didn't sound any worse than it normally does.