Budding country music star Cole Swindell will headline the WWETT Industry Appreciation Party.
Country music singer/songwriter Cole Swindell is one of Nashville’s newest stars, and he plans to make some new fans when he takes the Industry Appreciation Party stage at the Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show in February.
The 31-year-old didn’t gain prominence — or a record deal for that matter — until his independently released debut single, “Chillin’ It,” started climbing the charts in 2013. It eventually reached the top spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, but Swindell knows there’s a good chance some people in the audience will be unfamiliar with his material. And he’s fine with that.
“Sometimes it’s good to get in front of a new crowd that might not know a lot about you,” Swindell says. “You get to try to make them a fan by the end of the night. I love challenges like that.
“I’m going to get up there and do what I do. I’m looking forward to it.”
Lessons from a fellow Georgian
Though still a newcomer to the country music scene, Swindell knows what it takes to put on a good show. He went on tour with Luke Bryan in 2014 and prior to that spent a considerable amount of time on the road with him, selling merchandise and writing songs for his fellow fraternity brother from Georgia Southern University as Bryan evolved into a country music star.
“For however long he’s out there on stage, he’s going to give it all he’s got. That’s something I’ve learned,” Swindell says. “People spend their hard-earned money and their time to come see us, so you want to give them the best show you can.”
He says Bryan was also a big influence on his decision to launch a career in country music in the first place.
“The first time I heard his music was over 10 years ago and I thought he had it,” Swindell says. “Even then I was like, ‘This guy is going to be huge.’ He’s from the same part of Georgia but I didn’t know him until I had gotten to college and he had already moved to Nashville. Having a guy from just a few minutes from where I grew up writing songs I thought were amazing, that gave me the confidence. ‘Hey, if he can do it, maybe I can do this.’ It really gave me the confidence to go after it and just focus and work hard.”
From songwriting to stage
Swindell says he has been a fan of country music all his life, but he didn’t start singing until he was in college and began playing the local bars. After receiving the merchandise sales gig on Bryan’s team after graduation, Swindell started to get into songwriting. He has written Bryan’s “Just a Sip,” “Beer in the Headlights,” “Roller Coaster,” “Out Like That,” “I’m Hungover,” “I’m in Love with the Girl,” “Love in a College Town,” “Shore Thing,” “Shake the Sand” and “The Sand I Brought to the Beach.” He’s also written songs for Craig Campbell, Thomas Rhett, Scotty McCreery and Florida Georgia Line.
Following the success of “Chillin’ It” in 2013, Swindell received a record deal. The first single off his debut album, “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight,” which was co-written with Florida Georgia Line, also became a hit. It reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Country Airplay chart.
“I didn’t even have a record deal when we wrote that song,” Swindell says. “I always thought they were going to record it. The second they said it was cool that I recorded it, I told them, ‘This will be a single for me one day if y’all let me record it.’ The writing process was fun. They’re good friends of mine and I’m so proud of all their success. It’s cool to get to have a little bit of each other’s success.”
With his first two singles each topping the charts, Swindell says there’s pressure to continue the trend but he doesn’t mind it.
“You come out with a No. 1 single and then you have to follow that up and you get fortunate and have two No. 1’s. Then you have to follow that up. But I think that’s a good thing, you know? The streak’s not going to go on forever and I’m realistic, but we’re going to try. I want to give the fans and radio the best songs I can, and I think [reaching No. 1] is a good goal. If you don’t reach the No. 1 spot at least you gave it a shot.”
The coming year
His debut album, two straight No. 1 singles and a nomination in the Best New Artist of the Year category at the Country Music Association Awards have made the past year quite the start to Swindell’s country music career. For the coming year he’s already scheduled to join Jason Aldean for the second leg of the “Burn It Down” tour beginning in February.
“Jason is another huge influence and there’s another Georgia boy so, man, I couldn’t have picked anyone better to go on tour with. That’s going to be an awesome way to start off 2015,” Swindell says.
That same month he will be taking a break from the tour to play the more intimate Sagamore Ballroom venue at the Indiana Convention Center for WWETT attendees. Swindell says his hope is that he can add a little “pleasure” to the “business” that will undoubtedly be a primary focus for many trade show attendees that week.
“They could’ve picked a lot of people [to play the Industry Appreciation Party] and for me to get to do it, that’s cool,” says Swindell. “It’s a different setting [than a tour stop] and there will be business folks in there, but I want to let them have a little fun that night. That’s going to be my goal — make sure they have a good time.”
For more information on the WWETT Show, visit wwett.com or call 866/933-2653.