LAUNCH: Cole Swindell

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In honor of the release of his self-titled debut album, Cole Swindell is our Launch artist this week.

Swindell got his start in the music business in an atypical manner — he worked as Luke Bryan‘s merch guy. Fast forward to 2014, and now the Georgia native has a brand-new album with his own name on it, and a major hit single to back it up. Watch the “Chillin’ It” video below:

 

Swindell first met Bryan as a college student at Georgia Southern University, the same school the Crash My Party singer attended a few years earlier. “When I was in college he had already moved to Nashville,” Swindell told Radio.com in a recent video interview. “He came into town to do a show [and] me and my buddies were sitting on the front porch of the fraternity house waiting on his show that night. He came up needing to change his strings and played something he had written and I was like, ‘Man, that’s what I have to do.’”

The two kept in touch and when Swindell moved to Nashville nearly six years ago, Bryan happened to need a merch guy. Swindell needed a job, but while on the road he focused on songwriting and began writing with Bryan and Florida Georgia Line, who were the “Drink A Beer” singer’s opening act at the time.

“Just getting to write songs out on the road like that, that’s what got me started,” Swindell said. “Everybody has their own path and mine started through songwriting.”

Swindell has written several songs for Bryan, including “Beer in the Headlights,” “Love in a College Town” and “Shore Thing,” as well as Thomas Rhett‘s “Get Me Some of That,” Scotty McCreery‘s “Water Tower Town” and FGL’s “This Is How We Roll” with Bryan, who also appears on the song. During that time Swindell also wrote “Chillin’ It.” 

“I just wanted to do something fun,” he said of the song, which turned out to be his debut single. “After I wrote it, I knew it was special. It ended up getting me a record deal, so it’s a pretty special song.”

The laid-back track is an adequate introduction to Swindell’s self-titled debut album (out Feb. 18), but it doesn’t display all that he can do as a songwriter. “The album is full of different kinds of songs,” he explained. “I’m not all about ‘chillin’ it’. That’s not real life. There’s [songs about] heartbreak, where you come from, how you grew up.”

Cole Swindell track listing:

1. “Before I Die”
2. “My Boys”
3. “Home”
4. “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight”
5. “Let Me See Ya Girl”
6. “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey”
7. “Brought to You by Beer”
8. “I Just Want You”
9. “Get Up”
10. “A Dozen Roses and a Six-Pack”
11. “Down Home Boys”
12. “The Back Roads and the Back Row”