Final Day of January – don’t blink, it’ll be next December again! 😉 Meanwhile it’s Monday, and of course Monday means music! This week is a freebie week, so feel free to grab your favorite tune(s) and come dance with us, won’t you?
Let’s start with this American Idol Season 17 winner who just last September finally released his debut album. The subdued kid from Louisiana has had to push himself to move past the momentary recognition that comes when a teen idol wins a singing competition show. He does just that on his debut album, with 11 songs that illuminates his authenticity. He was quoted as saying:
“I’m just really, really introverted. But I’ll get there.”
Just last month, the artist made his Grand Ole Opry debut, where he was joined onstage by fellow American Idol alum Lauren Alaina and mentor Bobby Bones.
“It just feels like a dream to have been given that opportunity. I know a lot of my influences growing up have stood on that wooden circle at the Opry, and to be able to stand in the same place, that’s pretty cool. It was a dream of mine that I got to make true.”
When he talks about his songwriting, he seems to point to the fact that he has a long way to go.
“I ain’t too comfortable yet with releasing any original stuff I’ve written, because I want it to be okay.
“There are a lot of songwriters out of Nashville that are just so great, and they write these songs that tell these stories that really talk to me. And to be able to tell these stories out on the road and out on the streaming services and everything…I just feel grateful to be able to do that with these people’s songs because it’s their story too.”
Give a listen to Laine Hardy with “Here’s to Anyone”:
Next up is a new song by this artist who, while most of his large fan base came about in the last year thanks to the viral success of his song “Fancy Like,” he’s actually lived in Nashville pursuing a career as an artist for over 17 years now. There was a point in his career when he thought he should pursue just songwriting. It’s still just as hard to be a songwriter and get artists to cut your work.
There is a big difference in the fame he his now compared to before the viral success of “Fancy Like,” and the artist says it’s mainly the recognition. It felt like overnight people started recognizing him at Chick-fil-A, even his neighbors started to want his autograph when they never cared before. The different part this time is that fans want pictures with his whole family. He doesn’t mind letting his kids take pictures with fans, especially his oldest daughter, who is often in all of his dancing videos.
Though he’s still very protective over his 6-year-old daughter and doesn’t have her in many photos with fans. When talking about his family, Hayes admitted the grocery bill is always very large with 6 kids. They eat a lot of rotisserie chicken and cereal. They tend to buy about 6 gallons of milk a week, and whenever they make french toast they have to use about 20 eggs. Also adding that his 14-year-old son eats so much, sometimes consuming 4 PB&J sandwiches in one sitting.
This new song is the artist’s wife’s favorite song on the album – it’s about his marriage to her. The two have been together since high school. They had one break for about 10 months after college, but then met back up at a friend’s wedding and shortly after got engaged. Fame hasn’t changed the artist all that much, recently he was on the road for a radio show when their rental car’s tire went flat. He was able to change the flat tire in 9 minutes with the big donut in the back.
Get ready for some goosebumps, here’s Walker Hayes with “Life With You”:
Next up, this multi-talented singer-songwriter kicks off 2022 with her swooning new single with a charmingly comic music video. The song pays homage to a tumultuous dating past that paved the way to greener pastures.
“‘[This song]’ is an ode to my relationship history. Instead of being upset about the mistakes I’ve made or the guys I made them with, I wanted to write something about how much I can appreciate the wrong things because they led me to the right thing!”
Raised in New Jersey by way of New York, the artist got her start by performing a wide variety of genres and in bands growing up. At the age of 18, she developed cancer above her vocal cords, which returned following a couple months of remission right as she relocated to Los Angeles in pursuit of her music. Left unable to sing herself, she turned to songwriting for others and found industry success behind-the-scenes.
As her ability to perform returned, the artist needed to pivot yet again when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. This time she turned to TikTok, posting a hilarious response to the pop gem “Stacy’s Mom” from “Stacy’s Mom’s Perspective” which exploded with nearly 9 million views in just a few months and follow-ups including “Update from Avril Lavigne & Sk8er Boi 18 years later.”
She continued to go viral a dozen or more times over, eventually amassing over 8 million followers on the platform and over 120 million “likes” to date. Meanwhile her top performing video, “From The Kid I Babysit’s Perspective” has garnered a tremendous 113 million views. With a massive online audience under her belt, the artist began sharing her own original music in late 2020 to an overwhelmingly positive response – ultimately leading to her signing with Atlantic Records for her forthcoming debut full-length.
Without further ado, here’s the inimitable Jax with “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”:
Last, but certainly not least, this song is a bit more complicated than it may appear on the surface. What it reads like in general is that now, as an adult, the vocalist is chillin’. And the reason why such is notable is because initially, as in his youth, he appears to have been under the impression that being a grown up is hard. But now what he has learned in the process of aging and having more responsibilities is to take things in stride.
Even though the logical presumption may be that this song was inspired by the Covid stay-at-home orders, the primary message seems to be something akin to living a non-stressful, loving lifestyle is as nature intended.
“I’ll be livin’ my best life, wakin’ up with the sunrise / Lookin’ at things like, what the actual hell / But I’ve been countin’ my blessings, now I sleep with my best friend / It’s the best that it has been for a long time / It’s the best that it has been for a long time / I’m livin’ my best life”
Here’s Ben Rector with “Living My Best Life”:
That’s a wrap for this week – have a great Monday! See you on the dance floor!
Want to join in the fun? It’s easy – just find a tune that rocks your boat, post it and link up – don’t forget to grab Xmas Dolly…er, um, I mean her button…over at her place here. Check out Xmas Dolly’s sidebar for the random themes we sport each week – and you can always ask for a specific theme of music you like, too. Check out the other music lovahs and let’s jam!