For country artists like Cole Swindell, who got their start as songwriters, there has been one major comfort amid all the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think we’re just glad that we can still write,” he explains. “I mean, that’s what we’re doing: Something that we can do over the computer, over the phone and stuff. I had never stopped. I’m gonna keep writing as much as I can — and for me, it’s the people that I know really well.”
While he’s limited to virtual songwriting sessions, the singer says he’s focusing on working with people who are already frequent collaborators for him. “I’m not doing a whole lot of new writes that aren’t in the room, just because…you just feel it in the room, having that personal connection with people. It’s a little different,” he points out.
But as he hones in on the track list for his next album, those limitations still leave Swindell with an impressive roster of co-writers.
“Me, Ashley Gorley, my tour mate Hardy, we’ve written some stuff that’ll probably be on my next album, that I’m excited about. Ross Copperman,” the singer lists. “The people that I love writing with, we’re still doing it, and hopefully soon we can get back in person, get back to how we really love it.”
At the same time, he adds, the experience of being in quarantine and watching the COVID-19 pandemic unfold will certainly influence his next project in some major ways. “I mean, when you’re a songwriter, I don’t know how the real world doesn’t affect [you]. I think it always does, for me,” Swindell muses.
In fact, there’s one new, unreleased song that he isn’t sure he could have written if the pandemic hadn’t happened.
“There’s a song I’m thinking of right now that I wrote with Jon Nite and Ross Copperman called ‘One.’ And it’s pretty much [about], you know, ‘All we get is one. You better quit putting off tomorrow,’” the singer relates. “I think it’s gonna be a big message song. I don’t know that we would have written that without being in the time where we are right now.
“As bad as everything has been, it seems like, I honestly think good is gonna come out of this year,” he goes on to say. “It might not look like it right now. And to me, if I can fit that into my album, I will…It seems bad, but this is just part of it, and it seems like it always takes something terrible to bring everybody together and just love everybody. Politics, all that stuff — if everybody was just good to each other, it wouldn’t matter.”
“We recorded four right now. And one of them is a duet,” he hints. “Right now, obviously, I’m not saying any more, but that’s something that I know me and the label are really excited about…If I can find a song that me and my buddies can sing on the album, I’m all in. Collaborations are fun, man.”
He goes on to say that he’s working on nailing down a time to go back in the studio and record more music, though that process takes more time than usual during a global pandemic.
“It ain’t just me being like, ‘Yeah, I’ll wear a mask and go do it.’ I have to make sure that the musicians are comfortable, and that everybody is. You don’t wanna put anybody in a weird spot, especially when you’re trying to make music, make an album,” he points out. “As soon as they’re ready, and everything’s safe, we’ll finish it up. Hopefully in the next couple of months.”