07/22/2016 04:04 EDT | Updated 07/22/2016 04:59 EDT

Canadian Country Singer Rod Black Makes Healthy Living A Priority

Facebook/Rod Black Music

Canadian country singer/songwriter Rod Black is no neophyte to the country music scene. Black was born in Winnipeg with country music in his veins where he grew up listening to classic country stars such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. By the time he turned six, Black was hooked on country music and his father Russell encouraged him to pick up the guitar and start singing.

In a recent interview, Black, wearing a black cowboy hat, a black leather vest and designer jeans, was laid back and seemed comfortable in his boots while describing his journey to the bigger stages of country music. Black, who now resides in Vancouver, talked about his music and his upcoming performance at the Rockin' River Fest in Merritt, B.C., which is a four day country music festival from July 28-31. Black says, "This will be my second time at Merritt and I am very proud to be part of the festival." Black is expected to open the Rockin' River Fest, along with some other hot performers, including Chris Buck, and 'Me and Mae,' both popular, upcoming B.C. country music performers.

After six highly successful years, the staff and planners of the Rockin' River Country Music Festival are primed and ready for their seventh year. With an expected crowd of over 24,000 people, the festival is ready for their biggest year to date. Great for everyone from singles to families, this festival has a lot going on. You'll love the variety of country music acts performing this year, as well as various fun games like Human Foosball. Another major draw to this festival is the outdoor environment. A river runs right through the concert grounds, providing an excellent way to cool off and relax. You'll find a variety of food choices from various vendors, and if you're looking for the ultimate experience try out the exclusive Party Patios. If you love country music and the outdoors, this is the ultimate event for you.

A gallery of media got a taste of Black's music when he performed two of his songs at the Rockin' River Fest press conference in Vancouver. "Miles to Go," which was his second song, had everyone listening and it recently attracted over 100k listeners in its first week of radio play. His Miles to Go music video is by Southern Row Records.

In 2014, Black launched his solo career with the release of his single "Keepin' On" which made the top 20 on the Canadian country billboards. Last year Black was nominated at the Canadian Radio Music Awards for his second solo single, "Long Gone".

When I asked him how does he maintain a healthy lifestyle? The down to earth Black answered without hesitation, "I always have been active since I was 19 from my rodeo days," and he then proudly showed me his rodeo belt he was wearing. He added, "I don't smoke, I don't drink and I don't do drugs. My favourite food is the spicy the better -- Thai Food."

When he isn't performing, he writes everyday. Black noted, "After Merritt I will be heading to Nashville."

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