You began writing when you were around fourteen years old, so was music something that you always wanted to pursue?
Yes, it was. I started singing in church when I was twelve and began playing guitar in high school. Once I played guitar well enough I put melody with lyrics and in college started playing in bars and building a fan base. I knew that I loved songwriting and performing and decided to move to Nashville - and here I am today.
In 2013, you moved to Nashville where, in under a year, you acquired a publishing deal and became an in-demand songwriter.
When I moved to Nashville, I had already known Cole Swindell and Greg Hill, who is now my manager. Cole gave me a lot of advice about where to go and who to connect with and Greg really encouraged me to write. So, I took the time and about three months later, I went back to Greg with songs I had written. He and I met with a lot of people and I was ultimately signed by Universal. Early on, I found my champion at UMPG in Ron Stuve who got me into rooms where I was able to write with good people and songs like “Sippin On Fire” and “Home Alone Tonight” were born. It’s all been such a blessing. I know so many people come to town and nothing happens for them for ten or fifteen years, so I count my lucky stars every day I get to do this for a living and have had some success early on.
The songs you mentioned both went to #1 and you have songs on hold by other well-known artists. What do you think draws artists like FGL and Luke Bryan to your songs?
I think it starts with an undeniable melody. Growing up, I fell in love with the music of Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, and Alan Jackson. They had songs with nice melodies and simple lyrics that were easy to digest – and that’s what I do with my songs. I try to write songs with simple lyrics that people will hear and relate to.
But, in addition to those country artists, I also listened to Master P and Usher and what I really enjoy doing is putting a R&B melody in a country song. It’s funny because when people ask me to describe my music I tell them it’s the sound of a burnt cd because when I was growing up you could have anything you wanted on one cd - and that’s what my music is, it’s a bunch of different genres, not just one.