When asked about being part of this week’s New Faces Show at the Country Radio Seminar, Jon Pardi makes no secret of his excitement.
“Being part of New Faces is awesome,” he tells Billboard. “It’s a big deal to any new artist to be selected as one of the five top new acts by my friends at radio. I’ve had singles on the radio for about five years now. I can’t believe it’s been that long. I’ve heard about the New Faces Show for so long, and to be selected is very much an honor. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Pardi is no stranger to Country Radio, with five years of hits under his belt. He released his debut single, “Missin’ You Crazy,” in 2012, and watched as the song hit No. 25 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. Since then, the Capitol Nashville recording artist has watched as his star has grown. His past two singles, “Head Over Boots,” and “Dirt On My Boots” have each made the top ten on the Airplay chart, with the former topping the list in August 2016. Pardi says he knows his success is owed to those long-standing relationships at radio.
“The longer I’ve been at it, the more relationships I’ve been able to make,” he says. “There’s so many great people in Country Radio, and I appreciate all the support they’ve given me. Having them in one spot is a lot easier than travelling across the country. Hopefully, it will be a big celebration for all of us.”
Pardi has nothing but fond memories of making the rounds at radio over the years. “I remember lots of flights, lots of dinners and drinks, and lots of conference rooms. My favorite thing about going out on the radio tour was that it was all a new experience. You’ll never have that same feeling again. I enjoyed going out with the reps from the label, and learning everybody’s name. I kept everything written down in a journal for a long time so I wouldn’t forget,” he says.
One aspect of Pardi’s success that has gotten much press is that he is one of the more traditional-sounding artists on the airwaves these days, and he knows that is a rarity. “Radio has had my back since “Missin’ You Crazy,” which was a very traditional kind of song.”
He also says he feels he can do it all. “There’s also a rowdy side to what I do, and they’ve embraced that as well. I can play with Florida Georgia Line. We can throw down with people. I think that’s what sets me apart. I can be a traditionalist, but also play with Luke Bryan and get the crowd to go crazy. I think that mix is a lot of what has kept me going, and kept people fired up about the music. No matter what, I always want to sound Country.”
Currently out on the road with Dierks Bentley as part of his “What The Hell” tour, Pardi allows that he is having a blast. “I love Dierks. This is my second tour with him. We went out on his shows back in 2014, and we had a blast. I’m really glad to be out with him and Cole [Swindell]. This is a dream tour, because we’re all buddies, and we all hang together backstage. It’s always fun."
And, so far, Pardi has avoided Bentley’s yearly challenge of making his opening acts jump in freezing cold waters as part of their “initiation.” The singer jokes that he doesn’t understand Bentley’s fascinating with sub-par temperatures: “He loves being cold. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who loves being cold as much as him. The man is into ice baths. He hops in a bath of ice cubes. He’ll sit in there for thirty minutes. I can’t understand it... But, he’s one of a kind."