Plus the singer opens up about his music for 2022 and heading to London to headline for the C2C music festival, as well as his collaboration with Wheels Up
We first saw Darius Rucker as lead singer in the band Hootie and The Blowfish, then he went solo as a Country Music artist, and now he has his own exclusive merchandise line with the NFL shop and Fanatics. The NFL X Darius Rucker Collection by Fanatics is a licensed line of looks for all 32 National Football League teams that started off as a conversation, and now it’s a reality to carry Rucker and football fans through the rest of the season and beyond.
The Grammy-winning and CMT Music Awards and Billboard Music Awards winner was stoked to do this collaboration. “BCL Entertainment came to me and asked me if I would be interested in such a collaboration, and I said yeah, so they took it to the NFL and they liked the idea. I’m a huge NFL fan and I couldn’t believe that I was asked. But, someone thought of me and it worked out.”
From t-shirts, to fleece, jackets, sweats and more, pieces from the collection range in price from $29.00 – $99.99. “I always wanted to do something with fashion but I never thought I’d be able to jump in with two brands like the NFL and Fanatics. The NFL is the number one sports brand in the country and Fanatics has been selling merchandise forever. I couldn’t even let myself dream of such a possibility,” says Rucker.
Born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, unfortunately, for the singer who is a huge football fan his home state doesn’t have an NFL team. Do you wish South Carolina had a pro team, I asked? “I do, I do,” he laughs. “I always wish that and I always think the Charleston Dragons would be a great team for the NFL,” he continues laughing.
Wondering if Rucker got his sketchpad and pencil out to draw the collection, he assures that the process was less tedious than that. “We started getting ideas together and they [the NFL and Fanatics] were really great with me. I got to say yes to a lot of stuff I liked and there was some stuff I didn’t like very much and that I didn’t want it to be a part of my collection, so they were cool with that. I’m not a big designer but I told them I like the flannels and the fleece, and now we have these seventeen pieces that I love.”
And for the NFL they were excited to work with Rucker. “Our celebrity collaborations perform well on the NFL Shop, and we are thrilled to now be teaming up with country star, Darius Rucker for the NFL x Darius Rucker Collection by Fanatics apparel line,” states Ryan Samuelson, Vice President of Consumer Products at the NFL in a statement.
Turning to music, 2022 is looking to be good year for Rucker after two years of a harsh pandemic. “Zoom writing got really big during the pandemic and everything has really changed with touring. We haven’t been on the road for almost 2 years and this hasn’t happened since I was 19, so there was a lot to get used to. But the positivity that has come out of this is people are hyped and ready because they have missed live music.”
Rucker will be kicking off his Darius Rucker Live tour in Philadelphia in February, and he’ll be heading across the pond in March to perform during the Country 2 Country (C2C) music festival that happens between London, Glasgow, and Dublin. “I got to play their first year and played again a few years later, and now I’ll be headlining in March. I love that festival and I’d go every year if they’d have me, so I’m pumped because the crowds are amazing.” C2C doesn’t just draw the British, the Scottish, or the Irish, but it brings in Eastern Europeans, Germans, and Italians to enjoy Country Music ballads and melodies. “You know, when we went to Europe with Hootie, the Pop thing is universal, but to see Country Music spreading the way it is makes me so happy, and to see non-Americans singing every word to deep album cuts, I love that.”
Making his tour and music career possible is Wheels Up Experience Inc., known as Wheels Up, a private aviation company offering luxury services with on-demand flights, membership programs, and commercial travel benefits. Partnering with Delta Airlines Wheels Up founder Kenny Dicher provides members and Rucker 1,5000 safety-vetted and verified flight possibilities. “It’s an honor to partner with Darius Rucker as a Wheels Up Brand Ambassador. He embodies so many values core to our business, and as an iconic, award-winning, singer and songwriter provides a tremendous halo for our brand. Perhaps more importantly, his tireless work focusing on inclusivity in Country music is so well aligned with our vision for diversity and inclusion in our industry,” shares Chief Marketing Officer, Lee Applbaum.
Will Rucker dive deeper into fashion? It’s something he’s open to. “I’m getting to a point in my career where I can do more fashion collaborations like what I’m doing and having my own line with the NFL is a great start. We might be doing it through till 2022 and I’m just excited about this possibility. The arts and fashion tie in like brothers and sisters, and they’re inseparable. After this who knows, I’m up for talking about anything to be honest.”