Family is number one, writing songs is a longtime passion, and being a country mainstay is the goal. That, perhaps, is one way to describe country newcomer, Drew Green.
The McMinnville, Tennessee native recently signed a joint record deal with Sony Music Nashville and Villa 40, a new label imprint co-founded by industry veterans Joe Fischer and Brad Margolis.
Green has been writing songs for years, even before getting offered his first publishing deal. In fact, if not for the leap of faith taken to pursue being a country singer-songwriter, he would probably still be working at his post-college full-time job at a bank.
“I had a great job, I just got promoted to manager-in-training, and knew that I had a steady, good career using my degree ahead of me. [But] in the middle of that, I realized that if I didn’t [pursue songwriting full time], I’ll miss out on a whole lot and possibly regret that forever,” Green admits during a phone interview with Sounds Like Nashville. “My wife provided for me while I was not making a dollar (laughs) and writing songs for free for a long time. And she’s the reason I get to do this, really.” With her support, he went off to his new full-time gig: being a singer for Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge’s house band.
While spending time in the heart of Music City, Green started scheduling as many co-writes and meetings as possible, all with the hopes of getting his foot into the business. At last, all the hard work paid off in November of 2018, when he signed his first publishing deal with Cornman Music, a co-venture between Warner Chappell Nashville and acclaimed songwriter Brett James, who also serves as Green’s manager.
One of the rockets to help launch his career was when Florida Georgia Line released “Colorado,” a song from their Can’t Say I Ain’t Country album, which Green had co-written with HARDY and Hunter Phelps. When asked if he had any foresight on the success the track would bring him, he swiftly quipped, “Oh gosh, no!”
“I was at a bar with Hunter and HARDY eating dinner. It was actually one of the first times I had really hung out with HARDY. I had hung out with him, talking about business and stuff, and I pitched the idea somehow, because I had it,” Green said, sharing the genesis of the song. His idea was about “somewhere in the Smokies on Rocky Mountain high,” which stemmed from a sign he saw on a drive to Virginia. Unbeknownst to him, that sign would then be the catalytic inspiration of his first major cut as a writer.
“I pitched it, and HARDY liked it. We had a few beers and was like, ‘let’s just go write it right now!’ So we went to Hunter’s apartment just off the road. HARDY tore this old guitar Hunter had off the wall that was just way out of tune and couldn’t get it right and just kinda played on it. He said ‘what’s the song about?’ And I told him what I thought the plot was and he looked down and almost lights up that first verse about how it is. And then me and Hunter kinda wrote the chorus. It was just real quick!”
Fast-forward to the beginning of (what would be) a defining moment in Green’s career as a writer: HARDY calls to share the news of FGL wanting to cut “Colorado”—to which he responds with cautious optimism, at best.
“HARDY called me and said that he just got the word that FGL wanted to cut it real bad, and that they’re gonna cut it in the first batch of songs and put it out. Still, I had my mind made that it wasn’t gonna happen because things don’t happen to people much, and I had people say that to me before and things not happening or what not,” Green admitted. However, a pleasant surprise unfolded when the “REDNECKER” singer surprised him after a writing session. “[HARDY and Hunter] snuck me over to where they record, and I got to watch [Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley] record it with Joey Moi. It was pretty surreal and hands-down, really helped my career a lot and get me started. I wouldn’t be on this conversation without it!”
Having turned in over 120 songs this year and countless ones written, Green is no stranger to the dreaded “writer’s block.” But one way he gets past it? Sheer passion, discipline and, in true Nike fashion: Just Do It.
“The way I overcome it is, if you want it and you really want to do it, you just gotta keep writing. It’s not like riding a bike. I’ve not rode a bike in probably two years, but if I sit on a bike right now, I’d ride pretty good probably!”
Green’s major label debut single, “Little More Be Alright,” dropped earlier last month. The groovy, uplifting tune, which he co-penned with producer/songwriter Mark Trussell, has been a longtime favorite of his.
“I had that idea brewing for a couple of months. [Trussell] played that riff right off the top of the song and it just felt right. We worked through it that day and knew that it was really, really special,” Green shared.
“Over about six months of just sitting on it, it became my favorite song ever that I’ve ever written,” he revealed. “I grew up on 90’s country with Alan Jackson, and it reminds me of a sentiment of how he writes some of his songs from the past, and with a new catchy phrase to it, and it became one of my favorites.”
Earlier this month, he released his second offering—the vibrant, hip-hop-influenced “Right Where I Be.” Sonically, the track presents itself as a fitting club/dance floor country-fied anthem, accompanied by infectious synth-pop beats and snap tracks.
“I just had that title and thought that that was new and a slang way of saying something, almost like ‘Little More Be Alright,’ and I thought that was neat. I didn’t think anyone would bite on it. But, as soon as I threw that out, they liked it. Mark had a little track built, and he played the top of that chorus and I just threw the top of that chorus like “what I got bumping in the back of my ride.”
With the journey of his career in country music just taking off, Green is excited about all the future holds, including releasing more new music and getting back out on the road.
“I plan on putting out a lot of music in the next year. I have a great team and a big arsenal of people who believe in me,” he said. “I love country music, and I plan on putting out a lot of country music in a couple of years and can’t wait to play shows and, if they get the chance to come to a spot that I’m close to, I’d love to see ‘em.”
Keep up with Drew Green via his socials and website, and be on the lookout for a video for “Right Where I Be” soon.