Drew Green: “Find your sound”

Find your sound. There are so many successful singers who never write their own music, so this is 100% opinion. But, I personally feel like if you really want to be an artist and think you have something then find your sound. I’ve written over 1000 songs and love almost all of them, but watching […]

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Find your sound. There are so many successful singers who never write their own music, so this is 100% opinion. But, I personally feel like if you really want to be an artist and think you have something then find your sound. I’ve written over 1000 songs and love almost all of them, but watching and listening to them over time is still crazy. Find your “thing” that is amazing and that is you — it ain’t gonna find you, you gotta build it and spend hours/years (just like every profession) working towards that authenticity that your listener desires.


As a part of our series about music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Drew Green.

As a McMinnville, Tennessee native, Drew Green grew up just beyond earshot of Nashville’s storied country music industry. When he landed a gig as the singer for Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge house band, he began making trips to write and perform in the city. From there, he went on to become one of Music Row’s most prolific songwriters, signing a publishing agreement in November 2018 with Grammy-winning Brett James’ Cornman Music, a co-venture with Warner/Chappell Nashville. James is also Green’s manager. In 2019, Florida Georgia Line cut “Colorado,” which Green co-penned with Hunter Phelps and Michael Hardy (HARDY), for their №1 album, Can’t Say I Ain’t Country. Now, with a collection of more original songs than most artists can ever claim, the singer is poised to launch an equally fruitful artist career. Drew Green’s debut EP DIRT BOY Vol. 1 and latest release “The Rest of Our Lives” are available now.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Thank y’all for having me! I actually grew up right outside of Nashville in McMinnville, TN. My family owns a nursery (tree farm), so I spent half of my life on a farm. Since we worked from home, we had a houseboat on Center Hill Lake. So, most of my memories as a child are either working on a tractor or at the lake skiing/fishing with my fam.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to country music?

My dad always had Alan Jackson or Sammy Kershaw in the tape deck of his truck, and the only station we listened to growing up was the local country station, so country music was the root to my dream which began as a kid.

What is the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I’ve always had the dream of being a country artist but fell in love with songwriting also. About a year after signing a publishing deal with Cornman Music and Warner Chappell for writing, I texted my publisher, Brett James, to get breakfast and listen to some songs that I had in mind to potentially pitch to get cuts. After listening, Brett said he thought I was ready for a record deal if I wanted one, and he offered to take a few meetings with some labels in town. I signed with Sony and Villa 40 a week later, and to this day that is still unreal to me. I went from 7 years ago having literally nothing, and worried/mad/sad/depressed about countless life/work things with no clue about the future, to have a recording contract 7 days later.

What is one of the funniest mistake(s) you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I started playing in honkytonks like Tootsies downtown. I sang “Sweet Home Alabama” what felt like a thousand times, and one night it was absolutely packed and for some reason, I froze and forgot the lyrics halfway through the song. I think I just got too comfortable and was probably thinking about something other than my job, but the crowd booed me, and I remember feeling so embarrassed and wanting to quit right then and go home. I’m thankful for that moment, cause now if/when I mess up it’s funny — I laugh — they laugh, and we move on. That taught me that a crowd will act on how I handle any situation, and if something goes really bad, it’s okay — we’re human, mistakes happen.

What are some exciting projects you are working on now?

We got Dirt Boy Vol. 1 out now and the rest of the Dirt Boy project/album recorded and ready to roll. We are finally getting back on the road and hopefully hopping on a few tours this fall and spring. Can’t wait to get more music out and am super excited to see where my career goes.

What was the inspiration behind “Cold Beer and Copenhagen”?

Everybody has good writing days and bad writing days. The day I wrote, “Cold Beer and Copenhagen”’ was by far my best day songwriting. My two co-writers and I went to the lake on my houseboat and wrote 8 songs that day. “Cold Beer and Copenhagen” was seven out of eight — so we’d had plenty to drink, and we were having a blast. I’d had that title for a long time and just didn’t know how to do it. My co-writer was going through some relationship stuff and it just hit me what the title should be about. We were about to go to bed early that morning and I said that hook and we all lit up and wrote two more, haha!https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/684f457ba3e050bda6bbd1c26aa9073a

What are “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Share a story or example for each.

1.) Don’t overdo it. Music is an obsession, and also no matter how bad you want it — takes time, work and connections. I remember writing 10 hours a day, then playing a 4-hour show 4–5 days a week. I’m so thankful because I feel like my work ethic is what got me here. But also, I wish I spent more time with my family and doing things that really really matter. Balance is so important.

2.) Don’t ask someone what they think about anything. If you ask someone in the same field of work what they think, they will most of the time have an opinion, and that doesn’t mean shit. Be confident. Hearing yes or no to your song does nothing for the song, and at the end of the day does nothing but give you more to think about. Of course, ask for advice or help if you think you need it. But if you like it, then rock it, because songs are like clothes in Nashville. We’ve all heard the same concept of a story a hundred times, just like you’ve worn that same shirt a hundred times, but no one knows you’ve worn that shirt ever until you ask them how you look in it. Then, to them, it ain’t new anymore.

3.) “Can’t” never could do nothing! Everyone has a dream, and if you really want it, then learn the stuff you don’t know shit about, no matter what it is. Music business is about 10% singing. Everyone can sing, and everyone has a talent. Having knowledge and experience trumps talent every time — whether you’re writing, singing, interviewing, dealing with management, touring, band, etc.

4.) Find your sound. There are so many successful singers who never write their own music, so this is 100% opinion. But, I personally feel like if you really want to be an artist and think you have something then find your sound. I’ve written over 1000 songs and love almost all of them, but watching and listening to them over time is still crazy. Find your “thing” that is amazing and that is you — it ain’t gonna find you, you gotta build it and spend hours/years (just like every profession) working towards that authenticity that your listener desires.

5.) Hype is huge and time is money. Don’t beat around the bush, it’s already a super self-absorbed world and business. Everyone wants to be the best and the big dog. Find the confidence it takes for you to feel comfortable walking in a room with anyone and telling them your product is the shit and it will 100% take you places. If you can sell yourself to someone, then they become a cheerleader, and nothing beats someone else hyping you up, especially in the music world.

Which tips would you recommend to aspiring artists to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Listen to NEW music. Do not only listen to what you like, or your genre only. I get so inspired watching and listening to other artists on all levels. And most importantly, look around and take your personal life/experiences and express it so someone else can listen and relate — that’s your job, and if you love it you’ll have new stories daily that excite you, no matter where you are.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Blackouts — literally shutting down all electronics for a weekend or even a day and doing/learning something the hard way. There would be a lot more respect for everything everywhere in the world. Take time, spend time with someone with no deadlines or pop-ups distracting you. Go back a little so you can be thankful for not just electronics, but things we have and take for granted daily.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Brett James (publisher/manager) changed my life when he didn’t have to. He has 27 number one songs he has written for artists and also had a career as an artist and the sheer fact that he wants to manage me and take his time working with me is not even real life to me but could not be more thankful.

Can you share your favorite life lesson or a favorite quote? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Then sings my soul” is a line of a hymn and just those four words alone fuels me. I love singing, and if you know me, you know I sing all the time, haha. I’m not the best singer, but I love singing and I’m gonna sing today, tomorrow and the next till the Lord calls me up, and even then sings my soul.

If you could have a meal with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

Alan Jackson, because he inspires me and I love his music. I would just love to hear and learn from someone I look up to and get advice.

How can our readers follow you online?

drewgreen.com can link you to all socials and music available. Please if you do swing by the site, join the newsletter and you’ll get first notice of upcoming music by me/ shows near you / extra content and some music.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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