Cole Swindell: ‘I Still Feel Like a Newcomer’
Cole Swindell's admission that he still feels like a country newbie is more an indication of drive and focus than one of self-doubt and insecurities. The "You Should Be Here" singer says he's ready to show fans new sides of his personality through the songs on You Should Be Here, a more well-rounded album than his debut.
The album (available May 6) promises more depth than those found on Cole Swindell. Five No. 1 hits and a platinum album typically make a guy feel pretty good about himself, but Swindell makes it clear doesn't consider himself on the level of stars like current and former tourmates Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan, and certainly not near the status of his hero Tim McGraw.
An example? Swindell admits recording "Flatliner" with Dierks Bentley left him floating. The duo spent most of the time in studio cracking jokes (he promises video highlights soon), but when the "Somewhere on a Beach" singer left, 32-year-old Swindell was pretty amped up.
“I was like a kid," he admits. "I had a vocal after that and I couldn’t hardly calm down to sing it.”
Fans are calling "You Should Be Here" a career song for Swindell, and he's flattered by the recognition. The heartbreak is why he fell in love with country music, and who he is today is a product of his late father's raising. Fans will discover more heartbreak on You Should Be Here.
"Broke Down" is the best example. The power ballad finds the singer lost in unraveling emotions on the side of the road. Michael Carter and Ashley Gorley helped him write the song, one of three unrelenting breakup songs on the album.
“I haven’t had a bad breakup in awhile," Swindell reveals with a laugh, "but I think we’ve all been there.”
There's love on the record, as well. The Brad Tursi co-written "Up" would make a fine single, and overall the album is a much more diverse selection of songs. Swindell helped write seven of the 12 on the standard edition, being careful not to rely too heavily on his own ideas, or those from friends he's had success with in the past.
“For me, that first album, there was a lot of fun stuff,” he says. “But this is me too. It’s so funny, but unless you release that kind of song people don’t know as much about you as they think you do."
"No Can Left Behind" is the courtesy party song, but the album will be remembered for the depth of emotion before any beer-spilling tracks. "Remember When" is the signature song on You Should Be Here. Tursi (of Old Dominion) and Andrew Dorff penned the acoustic country ballad, and Swindell admits it's the first time he's heard an outsider song and thought the writers were in his head.
“It was weird … like, ‘Dang, did they write this about me?’”
Look for Swindell on the road with Florida Georgia Line this spring and summer. The Dig Your Roots Tour may provide an opportunity to write songs for his third album. Along with the Cadillac Three, some of country's hottest songwriters will be chasing each other around night after night. The tour begins in Tupelo, Miss. on May 12.
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