When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States early last year, frontman Zac Brown of the Zac Brown Band made the difficult decision to cancel the group’s concerts in 2020. As a result, the group became one of the first groups in the United States to stop touring for health and safety reasons. While some of the group’s partners questioned the decision, Brown has remained firm in his research.
“I had read international news about it before many news outlets in America knew when it was happening and what it was going to mean,” Brown, who recently recovered from COVID-19, tells me. . “He was the right thing to do.… You hope for the best and you plan for the worst and we did.
Without any touring plans for the foreseeable future, Brown had to lay off 90% of his crew. He took out a loan to keep himself afloat and his remaining 40 employees. Now he’s working hard to pay off the loan with help from the band’s 2021 tour, which wrapped up last night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
The group’s The Comeback Tour 2021, however, was not without its obstacles. After contracting COVID-19 last month, Brown was forced to cancel five dates.
“I played concerts with the flu, full of 103 degree fever,” he says. “If I miss a show, there’s something really wrong and my team knows it. … We’ve tried to make the environment as safe as possible, and we’ve been really locked behind the scenes trying to keep everyone safe. As with everything, you have to pivot and go with the flow of what needs to happen and try to keep a good, positive frame of mind and get through it.
Now fully recovered, Brown is in promotion mode for The return, the group’s seventh studio album is now available through Warner Music Nashville. The singer co-wrote and co-produced all 15 songs on the project over the past year with numerous tracks addressing themes of overcoming unforeseen obstacles in life and love. The return is a return to the roots of the GRAMMY Award winning group and a reflection on the past year.
While the wellness top 10 and rock climbing single “Same Boat” embody the philosophy that we are all the same and hope for the best in life, the title track “The Comeback” is about the world recovering. together after the COVID-19 pandemic. Brown says he hopes the songs will encourage people to hang on and wait for this big comeback.
“You brave the storm, you go through it and you find redemption afterwards,” he said. “It’s always easy to panic when you’re in a difficult situation because you don’t know what the outcome is. You don’t know what it’s gonna be down the road. … It is the hope that is around the corner that we need to remind everyone about instead of the tragedy that is at hand.
While COVID-19 has taken its toll in many areas, including the tourism industry, Brown’s bright side is that the pandemic has helped him become smarter in business. Resourceful by nature, Brown says he works hard to find the best solution in every situation and how to best take care of his team. The pandemic has led the singer to reassess some companies and in turn sell some of his companies. Brown remains involved with wine brand Z. Alexander Brown, audio company DemerBox, and knife company Southern Grind.
As Brown continues to repay the loan he borrowed to survive the pandemic, he has started to look at his businesses differently. One of the lessons he has learned the hard way is that his businesses are as good as the system he has put in place for checks and balances.
“If the system you have in place for your business allows anyone to take advantage of it, they will,” he warns. “People will benefit. People I would never have thought of in a million years would benefit – some of them were the worst. If you are not able to supervise and know your systems, observe the systems and adjust them as you go so that everyone is properly checked and the checks and balances are in place, it will to fail.
While Brown says he’s leading by example, he admits he didn’t have his eyes full on some companies and it ultimately hurt him. It was a difficult lesson to learn and leave after close colleagues took advantage of him. A friend offered advice on which he lives.
“A very good friend of mine, I asked him, ‘How do you deal with people betraying you personally? The people who stabbed you in the back the most? ‘ He remembers. “He said, ‘It’s just the cost of doing business. If you’re going to take a risk and you’re going to have a business and it involves employing a lot of people, it’s going to happen and you can’t take it emotionally. You have to think of it as a cost of doing business. Get these people out of your circle and focus on the ones who are doing a great job.
The pandemic has given Brown time to reset and figure out how to better run his businesses. It also allowed Brown to consolidate roles within each company and become more involved with each employee while giving them more time to focus on music.
“I know every face of every person who works for us, and I can personally get a report and know exactly what’s going on in real time,” he says. “I was born a scammer and I will look for the best solution and how to take care of the people who took care of me and how to get back to our fans in the greatest possible way. This album is the culmination of all that. … It means to me that I can do a little part to help bring people together.