One of the best things about country music is that the majority of artists are also songwriters. More often than not, country singers get their start in Nashville by finding a publishing company that enjoys their style and wants to pitch their songs to other artists. When an artist goes down this road, they often find work as demo singers. They sing the versions of the songs that publishers play for artists to convince them to record the song. This puts some money in the aspiring artists’ pocket and it gets their voice exposed to not only artists but the movers and shakers of Music Row.
Here’s a look at several songwriters-turned-artists singing songs that were hits for other stars:
Who do you think sang it better?
1. Lee Brice // “More Than a Memory”
Lee Brice’s life changed forever when Garth Brooks decided to record “More Than a Memory.”
2. Kacey Musgraves // “Mama’s Broken Heart”
Originally, Kacey and frequent co-writers, Shane McAnally and Brandy Clark, wrote this for Kacey. Miranda Lambert made it a mega-hit, but Kacey took home a GRAMMY for it.
3. Will Hoge // “Even If it Breaks Your Heart”
Will recorded “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” which he co-wrote with Eric Paslay and released it on his 2009 LP, The Wreckage. That didn’t stop the boys of the Eli Young Band from taking it to No.1.
3. Luke Bryan and Cole Swindell // “This Is How We Roll”
Cole Swindell partnered with his old boss, Luke Bryan, who he used to sell merchandise for on the road to write this Florida Georgia Line hit.
4. Eric Paslay // “Barefoot Blue Jean Night”
Eric Paslay began making waves around town with his songwriting prowess. He co-wrote “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” with Dylan Altman and Terry Sawchuk, while Jake Owen took it to No. 1 on the country charts.
5. Chris Stapleton // “Your Man”
Long before releasing his debut album Traveller, Chris Stapleton was one of Music Row’s most sought after songwriters. Among his hits is “Your Man,” which Josh Turner made a classic.
6. Rhett Akins // “Honey Bee”
Rhett Akins spent the ’90s as an artist, before stepping out of the spotlight into a much cushier job: songwriter.
7. Old Dominion // “Better Dig Two”
8. Randy Houser // “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”
Randy Houser came up the songwriting ranks with Lee Brice, who is also one of his closest friends. Among his hits was the playful “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” for Trace Adkins.
Image Source: CMA, PR Photos