Cole Swindell Continues "Chillin' It" At the Top of Country Music Charts
May 18, 2017 04:00PM ● Published by Nicole Gould
Since his debut in 2014, Swindell has sold over 1.7 million total album equivalents. His self-entitled debut album featured four of his No. 1 hits including “Let Me See Ya Girl,” “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight,” "Ain’t Worth The Whiskey,” and “Chillin’ It.”
In 2016, the country singer was named the Songwriter/Artist of the Year from the Nashville Songwriter Association Int’l (NSAI). Swindell was recently awarded his second CMA Triple Play award in 2017 for penning three No. 1 songs within a 12-month period with “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey,” “Let Me See You Girl,” and “You Should Be Here.”
His sophomore album, You Should Be Here, contains four Platinum singles, two Gold singles, has had over 520M streams and is a RIAA Platinum Certified Album. Swindell takes an emotional turn with his fifth consecutive No. 1 single, “You Should Be Here,” after the passing of his father. The soulful, tear-jerker spent two weeks on top of Mediabase, three weeks on Billboard, and four weeks on the Hot Country Songs chart.
“I didn’t plan on sharing such a personal moment, but when things like that happen; you’re a songwriter, that’s what you do. I think the stories I’ve heard from it leave no doubt in my mind it was the right decision to release it. I’ve opened up to the fans, and they’ve opened right back up to me. It’s just been a special experience. Having that song be platinum, there is no greater reward than that for me.” – Cole Swindell
“Middle of a Memory”, the first track off Swindell’s sophomore album became his sixth consecutive No. 1 single averaging over two million streams per week. The album also contains Swindell’s current single, “Flatliner,” which features tour mate Dierks Bentley.
Catch the Platinum-selling country star on Friday, May 19th at Merriweather Post Pavilion as part of Dierks Bentley’s What the Hell World Tour with Jon Pardi. Tickets are $46–76. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.
Hailing from Georgia, when did the desire to become a country music artist start to develop? Was this something you always wanted to do and what steps did you take towards advancing your career?
Being from Georgia, becoming a country music artist wasn’t really on my mind until I got to college. I grew up playing sports, but I always loved country music. It was kind of a shock to my family and friends when I decided to move to Nashville, but ever since I stepped on stage I wanted to write songs. It’s always been something I’ve loved and I moved to Nashville to take that next step. That’s what’s got me here.
In your first single off your sophomore album, “You Should Be Here,” you share a very personal experience about your dad. Did you ever plan on sharing such a personal moment with your fans? What does it mean to you seeing the level of success this song has reached and the amount of people that have resonated with the song?
“You Should Be Here” is definitely the most special song I’ve ever written and recorded. I didn’t plan on sharing such a personal moment, but when things like that happen; you’re a songwriter, that’s what you do. I think the stories I’ve heard from it leave no doubt in my mind it was the right decision to release it. I’ve opened up to the fans, and they’ve opened right back up to me. It’s just been a special experience. Having that song be platinum, there is no greater reward than that for me.
What was the experience like to perform the “You Should Be Here” at the top of the One World Trade Center for the families of 9/11 victims? Was there any particular moment while up there that has really resonated with you?
Performing “You Should Be Here” at the top of one World Trade Center for the families that lost folks that day will always be one of the highlights of my career. It’s a song that I wrote about losing my dad; it relates to people that went through something on 9/11. Something that we will never forget.
That was the biggest thing that those families told me, the biggest thing we could ever do is just never forget those that we lost. It was tough to get through that one. I remember tearing up singing it, but how could you not? I will never forget that day.
Let’s talk about your second release off your sophomore album, “Middle of a Memory.” Not only has it averaged over two million streams per week, but it was your sixth consecutive No. 1 and it was almost an entirely different song. What pulled you away from the other song to put this one together? Any regrets on putting the other song on the back burner per say?
When we were writing a song called “Kiss,” the second verse says “Girl you left me here with half a beer in the middle of a memory,” and we stopped that song and wrote “Middle of a Memory.” I learned a lesson that day from Ashley Gorley, one of the co-writers, that when you have an idea, you might as well at least record it and get it down.
There are so many ideas going through our heads, I think we forget a lot of them. It felt right to start that song, and that’s why we quit the song we were doing, wrote “Middle of a Memory,” and then finished the other one. It was my sixth single and went No. 1, and that’s just amazing.
Penning three No. 1 songs in a 12-month period is quite the accomplishment. How does it feel receiving the CMA Triple Play Award alongside many other talented country musicians such as Carrie Underwood and Luke Bryan?
This is the second time I’ve received the Triple Play Award. Moving to town to be a songwriter, three #1’s in one year just doesn’t even seem possible. To be there with people like Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, and other artists I look up to just proves they’re great songwriters as well. We have a lot of great songwriters in our industry and some of them are artists as well. To be in the company of artists like that and people like Ashley Gorley and Rodney Clawson, that’s why I moved to town. It’s one of the biggest honors that I have received.
You’re most recent career single, “Flatliner” with Dierks Bentley, was written back in 2013, but not released until 2016. What finally brought about this collaboration? What has been your favorite part working with Dierks on this song?
Dierks and I talked about recording this song together because when I wrote it years earlier it sounded like a song he would sing. We joked about it and sure enough when it was time to record the album, he was in.
I can’t thank him enough for being a part of my album. Everyone who knows me knows that Dierks is one of my biggest influences. I’m glad to be on tour with him. Being in the studio with one of the guys that made you want to write songs is amazing. It’s just a fun song, it’s not serious at all. That was the coolest part about being in the studio with him, was just seeing how relaxed he is and how nervous I was to be singing the song.
I saw you perform at Jiffy Lube Live as part of Florida Georgia Line’s “Dig Your Roots” tour, which was a great performance. What was the experience like working with such a high-energy, cutting edge duo? What are you looking forward to most touring with Dierks on his “What The Hell Tour” and what are you hoping fans will take away from this experience?
Florida Georgia Line is one of the best tours I’ve been on. I’ve been fortunate enough to be on some good ones, but they’ve been buddies of mine since before we all had record deals and they’re still the same people…just a little more successful. They treated us so well and motivated the whole camp to be better every day. A lot of people think it was a big party and while we had a good time, it was just as serious. I was lucky to open up for them.
Dierks’ tour is amazing. I’ve always been a big fan. It’s a high-energy show with Jon Pardi, Dierks, and myself. It’s definitely a lot of fun and hopefully fans will leave saying they had a great time.
Looking back at the beginning of your career, up to this day, did you ever picture yourself in the place you’re at now? What has been the best part of this journey throughout your music career? Is there anything you would do differently?
That’s a tough one. At first it was dreaming of moving to Nashville to write songs and one day getting a record deal. I don’t think I ever could have dreamt anything like this. It seems like every other day I stop and shake my head. I’m just thankful because I moved here to do this for a living because music is what I love. I’ve never found anything that makes me feel like music does, and I’m glad everything has worked out the way it has. It’s been 9 ½ years, but every year has brought me to where I am today. I’m lucky to get to do what I love.
Would I do anything differently? Maybe a few things, but it’s crazy because anything I’ve ever questioned works out better than I could ever plan, so I’m just going to say “No, I wouldn’t do anything differently because I love where I’m at.”
What can we expect next from Cole Swindell?
After the Dierks tour, we’ll be headlining some shows, and I’ll probably be back in the studio working on album number three before the end of the year sometime. I still have songs off of this album that I want to release. We’re going to keep promoting the new single “Flatliner,” and, hopefully, get another single off of this album.