Cole Swindell | Hardworking Southern Boy

prof cole-swindell_75There are a lot of tour dates and a lot of fans between him and a recording studio.


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From playing sold-out amphitheaters to hanging out with his tightly knit band to writing his new record on the road, country music darling Cole Swindell is far from “Chillin’ It” this summer. The Georgia native is opening for country music superstar Luke Bryan on his “That’s My Kind of Night Tour,” along with Lee Brice of “I Don’t Dance” and “Hard to Love” fame. “Last time I was in St. Louis, I was just filling in; we’re actually on the ticket now,” Swindell said. “It is so wild how things have happened, but we’re all so excited.”

Swindell started from humble beginnings, playing college bars at Georgia Southern and befriending fellow Georgian Luke Bryan before moving to Nashville with only 18 credits left until graduation. “I met [Bryan], and through him, I was meeting other songwriters and kept in touch with people in Nashville, because when I was in college, there weren’t a lot of songwriters walking around to write songs with,” he said.

Swindell has written a myriad of hit songs, including Craig Campbell’s “Outta My Head” and Thomas Rhett’s “Get Me Some of That,” as well as a co-writing credit on Florida Georgia Line’s summer anthem “This Is How We Roll.” “I moved to Nashville wanting to be a country artist and a better songwriter, and the artist thing just happened along the way,” Swindell said. “I got a publishing deal where I wrote songs, so for three years, writing songs was all I wanted to do. I kept turning in my songs and I was singing on them, and people were like, ‘Why aren’t you trying to get a record deal? I think you can do this.’”

His first single “Chillin’ It” off his self-titled, 2013 debut hit #1 on the U.S. country music charts. Swindell humbly acknowledges the guidance and opportunity provided by different mentors and collaborators along the way. “I think it comes down to having good people to surround yourself with. But you have to work your butt off. To me, I think it is all about songs.

“I was working merchandise for Luke, and it was my first job ever,” he continued. “I was working with him when he was at the same point in his career as I am in mine now. I’ve watched him work and work and work, and get to where he is now. I would have to say that Luke is someone l look up to in the business.” Swindell also mentioned artists such as Tim McGraw, Eric Church, and Dierks Bentley as others he admires.

This summer, the singer/songwriter considers himself to be lucky to be on the road with both Bryan and Brice—along with his band. “Those are the people who are out there with you, going to work every night. They’re playing my songs and making them sound just how I want them to,” Swindell said. “We spend so much time together; they are my best friends on the road. We all have each other’s backs, no matter what.”

While on the road, Swindell is also beginning to work on the follow-up to his self-titled debut. “As of last weekend, I had a writer out on the road with me in order to get back into the writing thing,” he said. “I’m proud of this first one and my first single, but it puts pressure on you to follow all that up. It’s never too early to get started in my opinion, so I’m excited to get going.”

At the same time, there are a lot of tour dates and a lot of fans between him and a recording studio. In many ways, this hardworking Southern boy’s journey has just begun. “The thing is, I’m getting to do what I love every day. If I’m playing somewhere on a holiday, if I’m entertaining, and that’s where people are going to have to good time to forget about everything else—I would gladly take that job any day.” | Katie Herring

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