When the lineup for the 2024 Stagecoach Pageant was launched earlier this month, Bailey Zimmerman’s title was up there on the second line, correct beneath Morgan Wallen’s. It represented a heady switch up into the huge leagues (and enormous fonts) for a 23-year-old who had solely in all probability essentially the most scant consciousness that there was such an element as a country music commerce numerous temporary years prior to now. Now, he’s had among the many largest songs of the earlier yr, not merely inside the nation realm nevertheless on the all-genre charts, along with the still-rising “Religiously,” the title tune of his debut album.
When “Religiously: The Album” bought right here out in May, its first week obtained Zimmerman credit score rating for having the most important streaming debut album of the yr in any fashion as a lot as that point in 2023, along with, not by the way in which, the right streaming bow for any debut nation album, ever. For certain, he had fairly a bit going for him already to achieve at that place: “Fall in Love” and “Rock and a Arduous Place” had already every gone No 1 at nation, and the latter entered the Billboard Scorching 100’s excessive 10 whereas spending six weeks atop the nation airplay rankings. “Religiously” (the tune) is about to offer him a three-peat, from all indications. He’ll be remembered as one amongst 2023’s breakout, whether or not or not or not he turns into the unusual nation performer to realize a biggest new artist Grammy nomination.
Moreover unusual is the easiest way Zimmerman has been an exception, not the rule, in parlaying being a smash on TikTok into turning right into a smash by the same old measures of radio and streaming. He had a head start: The agricultural Illinois native had an enormous social following as a viral truck man sooner than he ever thought to utilize the medium to sing. Warner leaped in to make sure the rest was historic previous.
When Choice caught up with Zimmerman, he was rejoining the Morgan Wallen tour, the place he’s opening reveals for lots of the yr sooner than starting his private headlining trek subsequent yr at L.A.’s Novo on Feb. 1. Nevertheless April 28, 2024 is the date most SoCal followers might have circled on their calendars, as he joins tourmates Wallen and Hardy out at Stagecoach to recreate their touring chemistry on the last word night of the fest. (Passes have merely gone on sale.)
In learning about your historic previous, everyone knows you weren’t all that steeped inside the strategies of nation music or the commerce until even a couple of years prior to now. Was one factor like Stagecoach out proper right here in California even in your radar very manner again?
No, and that’s the craziest issue. I grew up in a small metropolis of 800 people who was principally three hours from wherever, so I under no circumstances purchased to go to festivals. I under no circumstances purchased to go to stay exhibits — I solely went to like one, after I used to be like 8, and it was a Tesla current. So after I purchased into music, I knew nothing. Then after I started touring, that’s after I started to review like how important these reveals that I’m getting on are. I purchased to go to Stagecoach ultimate yr and play at, I really feel, 4:30. There was not an unlimited crowd inside the entrance, nevertheless I didn’t perceive inside the once more, behind the fence [separating the VIP area from a general area], had been, like, 20,000 people. After I seen that they weren’t merely standing available on the market nevertheless singing with me and screaming, I was like, “Holy cow, so that’s what Stagecoach is. I get the hype now.” … After I heard that I get to play it subsequent yr with Morgan and Hardy, I was like, Stagecoach is about to be lit.
You’re recognized in your heartbreak songs. On the tour you’re on, you’re going available on the market sooner than Morgan Wallen and Hardy, who’ve way more rowdy celebration anthems. Does it work to go available on the market and break people’s hearts a little bit of bit first, or is the tone of your set further of a pure good-time issue than the album would counsel?
I’ve solely been an artist since December of 2020. So I jumped into music so fast that after I started touring, that’s when it started getting on the thoughts: I like these heartbreak songs, and everybody loves them, nevertheless do I would love rowdy songs? And after I first purchased out on Morgan (Wallen’s tour), I shortly realized, no, you merely have to take care of doing what you’re doing. On account of the heartbreak anthems we’ve are upbeat — so in its place of being sad, you’re almost mad. It’s not basically “Let’s go drink beer,” however it certainly’s “I nonetheless can drink beer to his songs resulting from how rocking they’re and the way in which rather a lot pleasing he’s on stage.” I make up for the dearth of celebration anthems with my crazy dance strikes and transferring into the music fairly a bit. I’ve purchased a pair songs on this 25-minute Morgan set which will be pissed-off anthems, almost, like a tune generally known as “The place It Ends,” the place you’re mad at her for shedding your time and making you suppose that she cherished you. I really want to start writing further of those songs which will be pissed off in its place of sad, on account of I actually really feel like that is my celebration anthem, in a manner.
The album is pretty close to being an thought album, as far as like your dedication to sticking with the theme. In doing a rely, out of 16 tracks, 14 are breakup songs. Then inside the heart there, you’ve purchased “Found Your Love,” which is a cheerful love tune, nevertheless that’s the outlier, with “God’s Going to Decrease You Down” being the other exception. In every other case you stick to the theme. Is that merely the place your thoughts goes as a writer, or is it solely on account of that’s what you had been going by means of at a certain time?
That’s kind of my vibe. I’ve under no circumstances been like, “Man, I have to make all of it sound the equivalent.” It merely bought right here out that method: That’s what I do know. After I started, I didn’t know how to put in writing a tune. So how I’ve completed it the ultimate three years is just get in a room and start spitting out what the chords make you feel. Every single time, it comes out to be upset a few breakup, on account of that’s principally all I do know, man. I’ve been in love sooner than, and the breakup of that love was what made all these songs. I really thought she cherished me and I really wanted to marry this girl. Then abruptly it was like, flip the script. It was merely horrible — a horrible time in my life. So, “Religiously: The Album” is de facto these songs that I wrote and that’s how I felt after I wrote them. After I might hear a observe, it wasn’t like, “Celebration!” It was on a regular basis like, “No, I’m pretty sad, man.” That additionally will get to me every day, and I nonetheless give it some thought regularly. And it seems like individuals are literally concerning this, and I’m chatting with a number of folks, and I really feel I’m merely going to remain on this vibe until my ideas doesn’t have to. On account of I nonetheless have no idea what I’m doing and the way in which to put in writing songs.
So was “Found Your Love” written in order so as to add a little bit of respite from the ache in the midst of the album?
There’s a deeper which means to that tune. “Found Your Love” was cool on account of I wrote it not about me, nevertheless about my grandpa and my grandma’s love. I wrote it by means of the eyes of my grandpa. He raised hell, he was drunk regularly, he partied his ass off, and my grandma nonetheless cherished him by means of all of it. After which, sooner than he died, he found God and really modified his full life. He quit smoking, quit ingesting and commenced specializing in family further and God further, and going to church with my grandma and making that relationship larger. And that’s what “I under no circumstances thought that I’d ever maintain it up until I found your love” was about. I’m not talking about merely my grandma’s love in that state of affairs. I’m talking about God’s love as correctly, on account of I actually really feel like my grandpa wouldn’t have gotten on target to know Jesus if he wouldn’t have given all of it up and hung it up.
After I bought right here to Nashville, I had one tune out, generally known as “In no way Coming Residence.” I wished a model new producer, and I purchased with this man named Austin Shawn, and I’d under no circumstances met him sooner than. The first day that I purchased with him to jot down songs down in Nashville with my buddy Gavin (Lucas), we wrote three songs in sooner or later — “Found Your Love,” “Change” and “Prepared” — and folks three tracks are all launched now. Nevertheless “Found Your Love,” I carried out it at my grandpa’s funeral. My grandma has on a regular basis cherished that tune on account of I outlined to her that I wrote it by means of grandpa’s eyes. I didn’t know on the time that I’d ever get to position out a full-length album or how my occupation was going to go. After my grandpa’s funeral, my grandma talked about, “I would love you to position that tune in your first album so I can take heed to it regularly.”
I remembered her saying that on the funeral, and after we went to go make the album, I discussed, “This is able to be the solely love tune on the album, and it’s for my grandma and grandpa.” Nevertheless all the heartbreak stuff on “Religiously: The Album” is definitely all me, man. It’s all of my emotions, all the points I’ve considered in relationships, or points I had, or points I wanted to convey up in a relationship that I couldn’t, so I wrote a tune about it. And I possibly will persist with the heartbreak stuff until I fall in love.
The title tune, “Religiously,” is No. 2 on Mediabase’s nation chart correct now. It’s wanting prefer it could possibly be teed up as a way to go three-for-three at No. 1.
Let’s go! It’s crazy, man.
The sentiment is frequent, nevertheless although a number of folks have written songs likening earthly romance to at least one factor religious, the title is novel.
That tune has a crazy story, too. After I first started writing and recording, and met my producer and signed with my administration, I was presumably two months into being a singer. I was very confused, attempting to find out all of it out — just like I’m now. I purchased once more inside the automotive after meeting my managers, and one amongst them despatched me a tune, and it was the first tune I’d ever purchased despatched to me. I really talked about, “What’s that this? What am I alleged to do with this?” They’d been like, “We want you to file this tune. It’s been by means of seven or 10 completely totally different artists. Nobody likes it. Nobody wants to cut it. Nevertheless we contemplate on this tune and really suppose it would contact a number of folks.” It was generally known as “Religiously,” and I listened to it, and the tune was weird, the manufacturing was weird, and the melodies had been a little bit of off too. And I went by means of all this stuff I wanted to fluctuate, and at first they bought right here once more and had been like, “No, we want it to stay the equivalent,” nevertheless then like 20 minutes later, they purchased me once more they often’re like, “Hey, we want you to file this tune. Do regardless of you want with it. … Can you go inside the studio tomorrow?” This was February or March of 2021.
I’m going in and I file it with a person named Joel Bruyere, the bass participant for Thousand Foot Krutch (the Canadian Christian exhausting rock band]. I discussed, “Hey, man, I really want this tune to be further acoustic-driven, reside drums,” on account of on the time it had entice beat drums on it. Sooner or later I’ll put out that mannequin of this tune and the way in which it started out. I discussed, “I would love Dobro” and all this stuff. We bought right here up with the first demo of “Religiously” in 2021, and I believed in it from day one. I merely cherished the tune. I was listening to it religiously, severely, every single day. …. One amongst my supervisor’s title is Chief. I generally known as him and I discussed, “Chief, did you hear ‘Religiously’?” And he was like, “It’s a smash. What you in all probability did with that’s what it’s wished your complete time.” I’m like, “Certain, dude, nevertheless I don’t have to launch it (now). If I ever get to position out an album, it will doubtless be my title observe, and it’s going to be generally known as ‘Religiously: The Album.’”
And he was like, “That could possibly be a really very long time.” And I’m like, “I do comprehend it’s going to be a really very long time. Nevertheless the motive I want to attend is on account of, in part of the tune, it says ‘And lately life’s been good to me / Mama’s healthful, and I’m serving to out your complete family / A number of folks know my title / I made a little bit of change, however it certainly don’t indicate nothing.’” On the time, that didn’t relate to me on account of I wasn’t an enormous artist. So I discussed, “No, I’m going to attend until this tune further pertains to me and I can really actually really feel this tune larger.” … So this tune that’s at No. 3 correct now went from a entice beat, rapped mannequin of the tune all the easiest way to an acoustic-driven nation tune — in the event you want to title it nation; regardless of you title it.
You’ve set streaming data for a country artist with the discharge of this album. There’s artists who’re all through radio, nevertheless can’t get streaming numbers to save lots of a number of their lives. Then you definately undoubtedly’ve purchased any particular person like Zach Bryan, who’s a streaming monster, nevertheless nonetheless hasn’t really gotten the radio play. After which you’ve bought the streaming and the radio clearly happening in an unlimited method now. However it seems to be such as you started out by eliminating the middleman, setting up that viewers on-line and digitally, and radio wanted to get in on it.
Yeah, and I’d say, as quickly as we signed with the label, they’ve their methods on the way in which to push stuff further and do their enterprise issue. Nevertheless I really feel inside the grand scheme of all of it, it was merely me in entrance of a digital digicam attempting to get people to take heed to my songs. And sooner than that I was putting lifted automobiles on social media. It’s kind of humorous — my lifted truck was well-known sooner than I was well-known for music.
I was driving spherical this black lifted truck that I constructed to positioned on TikTok. This was my dream truck and I started filming it and getting quite a lot of followers merely from my persona and me being a part of the truck scene on TikTok, driving my truck throughout the nation to fulfill up with the followers on the reveals. So after I used to be going spherical doing all the truck stuff, touring with 100 bucks in my pocket merely to go to Orange Seashore, Alabama for a truck current… I merely love automobiles. And that’s what constructed me, my truck followers. Then after I first put out my first-ever video of me singing, which was merely in my grandpa’s retailer once more residence, with my buddy Gavin Lucas having fun with a guitar whereas I was merely singing… That video was under no circumstances meant for TikTok. I was merely recording it to remember my melodies and stuff that we had written that night. Nevertheless after I purchased residence, I posted it, and it blew up in a single day. I keep in mind learning all the suggestions like, “Hey man, I didn’t know you had been a singer. I believed you in all probability did lifted automobiles. Like, are you gonna be an artist?” They’d been all so confused, too.
And I really feel that’s what really kind of gave me that step up was like, I had already constructed a fan base by means of the truck scene, and now I’m gonna do music. And I merely saved putting motion pictures up every day, doing the problems that I believed I should do. I under no circumstances quit doing social media. I possibly under no circumstances will. I’m on there two or thrice a day, on every platform. I merely love the lifetime of it rather a lot, having followers on social media and with the flexibility to place your songs out sooner than they actually come out merely to see what people contemplate them.
I keep in mind after I first had the tune come out, man, I sat on my couch and stayed up all night three nights in a row, merely replying once more to DMs, saying thanks rather a lot for supporting me, and listening to people’s tales and the way in which it’s helped them. And that’s what I contemplate really made my fan base so badass prefer it’s, is that I was so engaged to start out with. And I’m nonetheless engaged now.
The additional you place your self into it, the additional finish consequence you’re gonna have. You wanna make certain you’re nonetheless desirous about your family members. Out on the freeway, I merely contemplate my followers as my family, and I want to guarantee they know I’m nonetheless proper right here and I nonetheless love them rather a lot and I’m so grateful for this life. I’m so blessed to solely rise up every day and by no means concern about my gas bill or about my truck getting repo-ed. … A really highly effective piece of this all for me is the followers and guaranteeing they’re taken care of and guaranteeing they’re glad and loving what’s occurring.
You talked about Tesla being your first stay efficiency, and in addition you’e talked about you didn’t really develop up on nation rather a lot, nevertheless quite a lot of Foo Fighters and Hinder, and your mom was into that melodic exhausting rock issue. So, although that’s not exactly what you’re doing now, does it filter into what you’re doing?
Yeah. After I first started until now, they’re on a regular basis like, “Your music is completely totally different, man. It’s a little bit of rock too. It’s purchased this edge to it.” And I’d really give that every one to Nickelback and Tesla and Hinder and Three Doorways Down and Three Days Grace and, I indicate, severely, every rock band I’ve possibly listened to. My mom is a rocker from day one, dude. She’s purchased spiky hair, smokes cigarettes, wears Harley Davidson (gear). She’s purchased bling all through — she is a rocker mom. So that’s what I grew up on. I moreover grew up listening to nation just because that’s what was on the radio, nevertheless when me and mom had been inside the truck, it was nothing nevertheless rock.
Like I discussed, Tesla was the one current I’ve ever been to in my life. Correctly, , I’ve been to further now. Nevertheless sooner than I was an artist, it was a Tesla current after I used to be presumably 12 years earlier. I keep in mind watching (lead singer) Jeff Keith’s stage presence and the way in which he on a regular basis ran into the doorway, correct at first of the current, and he was energetic and easily lit. Then after I might watch Foo Fighters on YouTube, Dave Grohl would on a regular basis sprint to the tip of the catwalk. So, after I purchased into the reside music part of it, I nonetheless relied on my rock thoughts — like, how do I make this sick and by no means merely stand proper right here?
So really in all sides of my music, it’s purchased quite a lot of rock have an effect on, just because that’s what me and mom listened to. And it was crazy how everybody’s like, “Man, your songs are like super rock and your songs are super edgy” – yeah, resulting from Nickelback! That’s all I jammed after I used to be little. So after I’m writing these songs I’ve purchased a little bit of little little bit of nation in me, and I even have quite a lot of rock in me, so I’m merely writing correct down the middle of what I want to listen to.