Parker McCollum was introduced to the mainstream country world in 2019 with the release of his major label debut single, “Pretty Heart.” Written by McCollum and Randy Montana, the song finds him analyzing the role he played in the ending of a relationship. As the song barrels toward the Top 20 on the charts, McCollum reflected on the process of writing it, which involved uncovering a long-forgotten video clip.
“That was my first experience co-writing [in Nashville], and I was looking for some kind of idea or something to go off of for a write the next day with Randy Montana, and I really just didn’t want to go in empty-handed,” McCollum told Sounds Like Nashville and other Nashville media during a virtual interview. “I was scrolling back through some videos on my phone and I found a video from 2013 or 2014, and it was a melody of me singing this line, saying, ‘What does that say about me? I could love somebody like you.’”
That line eventually morphed into the song’s chorus about regretting his decision to end the relationship, in which he sings, “What does that say about me? / I could do you like I did / That I could break an angel’s wings / What does that say about me?”
Although some mainstream country fans are just now getting to know McCollum, the Texas-born singer is no stranger to the spotlight. Growing up in Conroe, Texas, he remembers spending summers working on his grandfather’s ranch and listening to country greats such as Willie Nelson and Porter Wagoner. He began to gain notoriety with the release of his debut independent album, The Limestone Kid, in 2015, and later with its follow-up, Probably Wrong, in 2017. From there, McCollum continued his organic career rise by touring and eventually landed his record deal in 2019.
“The end-all goal really was to come to Nashville and sign a major record label deal and try to go play country music on the biggest level. Exactly how I envisioned it when I was a teenager, 16, 17 years old, it’s gone identical to that dream,” he says. “To say I’m lucky and blessed is an understatement.”
In addition to the rising “Pretty Heart” and recently-released “Like A Cowboy,” McCollum promises more new music in the coming months. He also says his major label debut album is “done for the most part” with the exception of a few songs. When it comes to what kind of music to expect from this newcomer, he says he’ll be keeping it real.
“The number one thing that I would like people to know is just that I try to sing real, honest country music to the best of my ability,” he says. “Keep real instruments on the recordings and only real instruments coming through the speakers at the live shows, and just as real and as genuine and as handmade as it can possibly be and still be on mainstream radio.”