615 Spotlight: Andy Gibson Writes the Songs... Just Not His Debut Single
615 Spotlight: Andy Gibson Writes the Songs... Just Not His Debut Single

Writer of Jason Aldean & Kelly Clarkson's 'Don't You Wanna Stay' Heats Up

To say that Andy Gibson grew up around music would be nothing short of an understatement. The singer, currently making noise with his debut single, "Wanna Make You Love Me," recalls how much music had to do with his musical upbringing.

"I think that growing up in my house, music was a big thing," he tells Billboard.com. "My dad was always playing music, and every day he would come home and throw on his favorite records, whether it was something from the 50s or the 60s or the 80s or 90s."

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His siblings also contributed to the cause. "My brother my sisters were into music as well, so there was a lot of it around. Then, my brother worked at a record store, and when I was a little kid, I shared a room with him in our first house in California. I think his bed was on egg crates that were full of records. I remember listening to all of his music, and taking the things that I liked about it, and singing along with that stuff when I was a little kid, everything from the Beach Boys to Dwight Yoakam to Depeche Mode. I grew up with so much music around me, that it was hard to not get into something."

At nine years old, Gibson received his first guitar -- a Fender Stratocaster, a gift from his parents. "I was lucky enough to have parents that always encouraged me," he says. "I could make as much noise as I wanted to around the house. They had no problem with me coming home from school and cranking up the amplifier."

Throughout his teenage years, Gibson continued to hone his craft -- playing whenever he had a chance. Once he graduated high school, he decided to move to Nashville. He had an advantage on many other newcomers due to the fact that he could also sing and speak Spanish. That afforded him the opportunity to sing at several Mexican restaurants in Music City, where he caught the attention of John Rich, who signed him to his publishing company. The first year, he turned in 150 songs.

His first major success came with a track that he wrote -- "Don't You Wanna Stay," the crossover hit from Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson. Gibson recalls going to a friends' house to watch the CMA Awards in 2010, where the duo premiered the song.

"I was able to go to some friends' house, and they had an awesome TV set with home theater. It was like being there. In fact, I probably had a better view there than if I had gone to the show. It was such an awesome experience. Everyone was jumping up and down screaming, and I was just kind of soaking it in. It was so surreal. It's just overwhelming to me to hear people singing my song," he says.

Ironically, his debut single is not one that he wrote. "When I heard "Wanna Make You Love Me," it moved me, and it felt like something I had wanted to write. At the same time, I think Nashville has such a deep talent pool that you would be stupid to not look for some of those great songs. It had so many great snapshots of things that I had experienced, and things that I feel. That's why I thought it would be a great song for the first single."

The single was produced by James Stroud, and Gibson says that getting to work with the legendary producer / musician was a thrill.

"It was unbelievable," he said of the recording experience with Stroud. "To be in the studio with somebody like him, he's such a legend. I've been to lunch with him with a radio playing in the background, and I think there was a streak of about five songs in a row that he had played on. To go into the studio with someone like him can be intimidating, but he's such a warm person. I think what has given him the most longevity as a producer is that he tries to find how to make a record more of an artist's record than his. It's been a great process, but it's not really a process. It was so cool going into the studio, listening for songs, and making music, and having a great time!"