Parker McCollum’s forte for songwriting has not gone unnoticed since the release of his debut record, Gold Chain Cowboy. While the 10-track collection touches upon various vulnerable matters, McCollum recently revealed that he had to turn to illicit substances to push him to dig deep.
“For a long time, I thought I had to do those things, too, to get those songs out,” he told Sounds Like Nashville. “Which, I got a lot of good songs out of it.”
While penning single “Rest Of My Life,” which lives on his introductory LP – the Nashville newcomer did not shy away from speaking out about his internal battle with substance abuse.
“There’s a picture frame hanging a little to the side | Some drugs on the counter in the kitchen by the wine | And I’m shaking like winter, but I just can’t eat,” sings McCollum while opening up the mid-tempo ballad.
The breakthrough artist told the publication that the raw lyrics came from a healthy place and served as a “wakeup call.” In just around seven minutes, McCollum managed to write “Rest Of My Life” sober and instantly decided to make a significant change within his creative process.
“That was kind of my wakeup call,” shared the hitmaker. “It’s probably the second time ever that I’ve written something and gone, ‘Man that is really good.’ Most of the time, I think everything sucks. I don’t know that I would call it a life-saving moment, but it was really good for me to write something like that not under the influence of anything,” he added.
McCollum continued to declare that his main priority was always to wear his heart on his sleeve while penning the full-length album. On several tracks, well-respected co-writers such as Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall, Rhett Akins, Randy Rogers, Brian Kelley, and more encouraged him to think outside the box.
However, “Rest Of My Life” ended up being the only piece on the project that McCollum whipped up independently – leaving him to push his musical boundaries without the help from his gifted friends and harmful substances.
“I really, really care about songwriting,” says McCollum. “I always want people to know when they listen to my music; whether they like it or not, they can’t say it’s fake. It’s all incredibly honest and really real and comes from a super real place. They come from the right place where all the best songs come from.”
The Texas native did not fail to mention that his fiancée, Hallie Ray Light has also inspired him to put down the drugs and alcohol while honing in on his craft.
“It’s much easier to make good decisions and live the right way when I have her in mind,” he gushed. “Ever since we got together, my career has taken off tenfold. It’s because I’m focused, healthy, and working my butt off. All those things are paying off."
The carefully crafted collection became McCollum’s golden ticket to stardom, as the project received the highest first-week debut album of 2021. “Pretty Heart” hit No.1, and the fan-favorite melody “To Be Loved By You” dominated country radio.