Cole Swindell: Just 'Chillin'' on His Upward Climb to Success

Wendy Geller


It's rare that a new artist emerges onto the music scene with a single that perfectly encapsulates his or her vibe, but Cole Swindell is one of those lucky types who managed to hit a hole in one with his tune "Chillin' It."

The tune, independently released in 2013 amid his already robust songwriting career (he's written a host of songs for his fellow Georgia musician  –  and fraternity brother – Luke Bryan, as well as boasts credits for Florida Georgia Line and Scotty McCreery) made an indelible mark on the Nashville community and resulted in the young singer-songwriter scoring a record deal, paving a sweet path for his debut full length, released this February.

I think “Chillin’ It” does kind of represent me and that’s why we picked that as our first single," the affable Swindell says with a smile. "I’d like to say there’s different sides of my music on that album. That’s why you get to make an album – you get to show different sides. But to me, my first single coming out, all the fans out there – I wanted them to be introduced to me as 'Chillin' It.'"

There are other songs on the album that have special meaning to him, however. "The last song on my album, 'The Back Roads and The Back Row,' is kinda my song about where I grew up, how I grew up, how I was raised," the small-town Southern native relates. "And so it just kinda fit to me on the album as the last song, it kind of rounded everything up. I’ve got songs on there… everything from partying to heartbreak, to love songs to this song, to this song. It’s kind of what got me to where I am today."

Partying and heartbreak are two polar opposites that Swindell, ironically, knows first-hand all too well. He he's experiencing the best party scene of all while out on summer tour with Bryan: "Just every night is crazy," he admits of the trek with his hitmaking buddy. And as for heartbreak, Swindell unfortunately became acquainted when his father passed away unexpectedly over Labor Day weekend last year – just a few months short of seeing his son's debut album released.

"in the [CD] booklet there’s a picture of me and my dad when I was a small child. He’s playing the guitar and he was the first person I ever heard play the guitar or sing. So that was pretty cool to get to dedicate the album to him," Swindell explains.

He says he may choose to remember his dad on a future album, as well. "Since [his death], I’ve written a song or two that’s definitely touched on the subject. And we’ll just see if the next album is right for that or the third album, or whatever."

On the note of the next album, Swindell admits he's already gearing up thinking about how he wants his sophomore set to shape up. "We have a long time before the album comes out, but it’s never too early for me to start writing and just start looking," he notes. "I think we don’t want to go too far off the path. I kinda dig what we did on this first album – may throw up a little different stuff in there, but for the most part, may keep it party songs, break-up songs, love songs. All the normal stuff! So we’ll see. "

When asked what it is about his home state of Georgia that has produced so many acclaimed and varied musical artists over the decades, Swindell just beams and shakes his head. "I wish I knew. I’m so proud to be from Georgia," he enthuses. "I’ve always said before I got to Nashville, there were already so many successful folks. I was like “man I hope they’ve got room for one more before I get there.” I don’t know what it is about it."

He credits his state heritage for giving him some of the oomph needed to make it in Music City. "I’ll tell you one thing, as a kid growing up, getting to see people from your area in your state make it kind of gives you a little confidence," he states. "Like me seeing Luke -- being from a small town like me -- make it so big, it was like 'maybe I can do this.'"

"So if anything, maybe it inspires the kids to go after something that normally you wouldn’t think is even possible. Because every day I get to do this, I can’t believe I’m doing this."