The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has shifted the lives of so many people around the world. Not only has it challenged attitudes, but it has also forced many young adults to contemplate their future and set new goals for themselves going forward.
But, rising singer/songwriter Baker Grissom has continued to stay the course in terms of his goals as a country artist. However, that doesn’t mean that recent events haven’t changed his perspective on things. They have, and for the better. In fact, he is more grateful for the little things in life now than ever before.
“The whole world can stop tomorrow,” Grissom said in a recent interview with Country Now while discussing the current pandemic. “It can change on a dime, and I think it’s just a good lesson of being appreciative of things.”
A native of Sherwood, Arkansas, Grissom moved to Nashville in 2014 to pursue country music full-time. Before signing with RED Creative Group in 2019 and releasing his debut five-song EP Saturdays & Sunday, he navigated his career on Lower Broadway, performing in as many local venues as he could.
“I felt like [Nashville] was the place to be for the kind of music that I wanted to do,” Grissom explained, revealing he used to manage his passion outside of working day jobs in various retail stores including, Target and Costco. “I took basically any job I could, and I was always gigging in-between those jobs too. I ran a writer’s round for a little bit. Before that, I was playing on the Nashville strip, where just about every bar has a writer’s night. So whichever one was on that night, I was there, hanging out and trying to play.”
These days, Nashville’s strip looks a bit different. The presence of music pulsating through the doors of local Honky Tonks isn’t as lively in comparison to what it was a year ago. That’s no surprise since COVID-19 forced the temporary shut down of many businesses. And, while the city is currently undergoing Phase Two of Metro Nashville’s reopening plan, its residents are still recovering from yet, another tragic event – the deadly tornado outbreak that took place in early March. As many people will recall, the powerful storm barreled through several areas of Middle Tennessee, including East Nashville, taking with it homes and buildings and displacing families and individuals.
Grissom remembers his own experience that night.
“I found out [about the tornado] that night,” he revealed. “There’s a gym called Gym 5 that’s by a bunch of little East Nashville spots, and they were saying the gym was wiped out. It hit really close to downtown. I’m not used to tornadoes going through the city. In Little Rock, [Arkansas], it was always out and went through by the water or out in the country. So it’s something that I didn’t think would happen, but it did.”
Grissom was luckier than a lot of other folks, though. He was sheltered in a safe place during the storm and left unscathed. The timing of Mother Nature, however, had more of an impact on Grissom. He and four of his buddies were house hunting during the aftermath of the storm and the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It was crazy. We were looking for a spot, and all of that stuff was happening. So other people were looking for spots [too],” Grissom said, adding that he was lucky enough to find a place that suited his needs, “We fell upon this one, and another one and we mapped out how long it was to all of the music venues, and which was closer, so this one won.”
Oddly enough, moving wasn’t the only experience Grissom dealt with that reminded him of threats happening in our outside world that we cannot control. During the conversation, he found himself reflecting on his latest music video for his recent single “Workin’ Man.” He and his team shot the video for the single on the same day that the tornado hit. Filming took place at The Rusty Nail – a bar located less than a mile from the storm’s path in Hermitage, TN. Had he not wrapped up filming that morning, he likely wouldn’t have been able to release the video, which evidently would’ve pushed back his most current release, “Drink For That.”
“I mean, it was right through the tornado’s path. So if we had not done that on that day, that video wouldn’t have been the same,” Grissom emphasized. “It wouldn’t have been able to be filmed in the same spot. I think it makes you realize that everything is temporary, and you need to watch out for that kind of stuff and enjoy the time you do have.”
Grissom’s newfound focus to enjoy the time that you have coupled with the challenges people are currently facing during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders makes “Drink For That” an even more timely release. The feel-good track, which he penned alongside his roommate and co-writer, Marc Oriet, gives listeners plenty of reasons why they should take a moment to raise a glass. And, it’s the kind of light-hearted message so many people need right now.
“For every somebody meets somebody/ Or somebody ain’t comin’ back/ For the dirt floor poor, the money, the dixie cup, or the glass/ Every just got paid, or had a bad day the future or the past/ Every reason why, you wanna raise one high/ There’s a drink for that,” Grissom sings throughout the catchy chorus of the anthemic song, which showcases his talent as a wordsmith.
For the music video, Grissom and his team had originally planned on a treatment that would feature an epic house party atmosphere. But, given the current climate, he chose to spotlight his fans instead. After seeing the final product, which features Grissom’s fans and friends toasting with their quarantine drink of choice, the singer knew he made the right decision.
“Honestly, it turned out way better than I had imagined,” Grissom said of the video. “It was really cool to have people do that. It was fun putting it together.”
“Drink For That” clearly made a big impression on listeners far and wide. The track earned a spot on Spotify’s New Music Nashville playlist, making Grissom one of the only artists to be featured on that list for a second week in a row following the single’s release. Despite his recent success, Grissom doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Even though the world has proven that it can change in a day, he fully intends to continue in his country music journey.
“My goals have pretty much been the same since I moved here. I wanted to do music full-time, enjoy every bit of it, whether it’s writing songs, or going out on the road,” Grissom, who has collaborated with numerous writers including, Casey Beathard, Mark Irwin and Cole Taylor, said. “Year one is a good thing for me. It definitely beats working odd jobs when I moved here, so I just want to continue to focus on putting out better stuff than I put out before.”