After over a decade in the music business, 604 Record’s Kadooh is taking things in a whole new direction and stepping into the spotlight for the first time.

Known as the guitarist and backing vocalist of JUNO nominated/multi-platinum rock band State of Shock, the musician has always carried with him an appreciation for all genres of music — and now he’s ready to take it back to his roots.

Growing up in small-town Alberta, Kadooh remembers a time where Charley Pride and Conway Twitty would monopolize his mom’s minivan speakers on long hockey trips, leading the would-be guitarist to pour over records by Garth Brooks, John Michael Montgomery, and Brooks & Dunn.

“I grew up in a really little town, it was all country and rural roads — I had a lot of that growing up,” he explained. “Country has definitely always been a part of my life.”

Now, the singer/songwriter has released his first single, “24 Reasons”, with a debut six-song EP slated to follow later this year — the culmination of what lead him to head out to the west coast 16-years ago.

“I moved out to Vancouver to be this person . . . it’s a bit of a change but it’s going to be great,” he said. “I’m so excited about it, and nervous at the same time, which I think is a good thing.”

The project was brought together with the help of producer Jeff Johnson and reflects Kadooh’s new sound — one that has found influence in not only his everyday life, but an engrained love of music as a whole.

“I try to write about what I’ve experienced and my own thought pattern . . . all I’ve gone through in relationship breakups, there are lots of lumps, or good things in love,” he said, adding as a pretty fun, tongue-in-cheek kind of person, it was important for his music to reflect that. “Country music is a genre I’ve really grown to love, and I think it’s opened itself up on both the pop and rock side. The parameters have really expanded, and that’s been really great for me.”

Another guiding force came in the form of award-winning musician and songwriter Chad Kroeger, who Kadooh said provided not only inspiration, but co-produced two of the EP’s forthcoming tracks, as well.

“Chad has always been a big influence . . . kind of the big brother I never had,” he explained. “He really bit me with the bug of playing live and his drive to be in music really helped push me in that direction.”

With “24 Reasons”, Kadooh maintains it was the kind of song that just came together after he and Johnson had just finished recording vocals for another song and were enjoying a celebratory scotch.

“Honestly, it just kind of happened when we decided to go back up to the studio to hang out. Jeff just picked up the guitar and told me to sing . . . we came up with a melody and a couple little catchphrases fell out of my mouth,” he recalled. “Soon we had a song about losing someone and figuring out how you’re going to deal with it. It doesn’t matter how much you tell someone they’ll get over something, for each of us, it’s a very personal, individual process.”

Ready to take his place front and centre, Kadooh says while he may not be used to taking on the role of frontman just yet, he can’t wait to see what this new path has in store.

“In the past, I kind of just got to be the guy on the side, and now it’s all about being in the middle and doing the best I can to entertain people,” he said with a laugh. “Music means so much to so many, and I can’t wait to get my new sound out there for people to hear.”