"This is will be the biggest day of my career." Of course, Cole Swindell is talking about Tuesday (Feb. 18), when he'll release his self-titled debut album on Warner Brothers.
The lead single from the set is "Chillin' It." Currently No. 3 on the Hot Country Songs chart, the song is a story within itself. The single had sold well over 125,000 downloads – without the help of a label. The exposure the track received on SiriusXM was a big boost for Swindell, who suddenly found himself being courted by the biggest labels in town. He chose Warner Brothers, and the single has now sold over 600,000 downloads. Throw in an album release next week, and the singer says he wouldn't have believed the path his career would take if you had told him two years ago.
"Just to have one of the things that has happened to me in the past year – most people would be crazy," he admits of the signing and success with song downloads. "It shows you the power of a thought that it can happen. It's an exciting time."
He is quick to tip his hat to SiriusXM for their part in his story. "They have a thing called 'Highway Find,' and that's where they give a chance to unsigned artists. They gave the song a shot, and it shows you just how powerful is. It has such an impact on people buying your songs. That really opened up the eyes of record labels, and here I was taking meetings, and getting a chance to sign with Warner Brothers. These days, there is so much talent, and labels have other artists they are working on. They have to really believe it's going to work for them to put the time into signing you."
One of Swindell's biggest cheerleaders in the business is Luke Bryan, who has recorded nine of Swindell's songs during his career. He also sold merchandise for Bryan from 2007-2010. He says that the superstar has been there all along to offer advice, such as enjoying the moment. "I'm sure he's speaking from experience. He knows how stressful it is, and how much pressure you can put on yourself as an artist – as well as other people. I think he just wants me to enjoy it like he did. He's let me figure it out for myself, but I know he's proud. You can tell in his interviews. He talks about my music, and he records my songs. For me to come up as a fan, and he being an inspiration to come up here and write songs, it's a pretty big compliment."
He's hoping that fans will appreciate the light-hearted feel of the single, as well as some of the heavier songs on the disc.
"Chillin' It' is just one feel-good song, but to make a complete album, you've got to touch everything. You're introducing yourself, and a big part of me is about 'Chillin' It.' That's what I love to do, and it kind of describes me. But, that doesn't tell you where I grew up or what I believe in, like 'The Back Roads and the Back Row,' that's why I moved to town – to write songs like that. It's great to write the fun one that give you a shot at having a career because they are hits, but there are songs that really rip at you. I wouldn't want a whole album of those songs, because I'm a lot about having fun. I want people to know how I came up, and that's a song that does that for me. I'm excited for people to hear the different sides because they will realize he's been through things like the rest of us, and he's a normal guy -- just like me, whether it be a guy or girl."