Interview: Wrapping Up 2016 & Looking Toward 2017 with Cole Swindell

Country singer-songwriter Cole Swindell has had quite a year, filled with “You Should Be Here Moments” that he would love to share with the special people in his life. Swindell had two songs added to his growing list of No. 1 hits and spent time out on the road, surrounded by industry friends and supportive fans. Now, as 2016 comes to a close and an already exciting year is within his view, Swindell looks back on his many successes and anticipates a fun-filled future.

Retrospectively, Swindell couldn’t quite pinpoint a moment over the last year that he would say was the landmark experience; however, he could put his finger on a collection of memories that all trace back to one special song.

My song “You Should Be Here” hitting the top of the charts, and not only that, but getting to perform that every night. I can’t name one performance of it because it’s literally every time I get to sing that song it’s just so special. And just to see, you know, I’ve had some success with my music, but I’ve never had a chance to see the power of music from something I’ve written really affect people the way that song has, and I think just every time I went on stage this year and sang that song has been one of those moments that I haven’t experienced in my career.

Aside from being able to sing the song across the country, express his feelings, and touch fans from afar, Swindell has cherished the personal fan encounters he has had, thanks to the sentimental lyrics.

It’s crazy. Every night I meet somebody with a “You Should Be Here” story, some are more in-depth than others. I’ll never forget going back to a year ago, pretty much when this song was released, I remember the first day at radio, and I’ve heard so many stories since then, but this one stuck with me because I happened to see a message on my social media and it was from a kid that was from around the same part of Georgia that I was and he had heard the song and wanted me to know that he had lost his dad three years ago. So I’m reading it and relating to it and I’m like “wow, that’s awful.” He told me the details and he was actually driving the vehicle and they had an accident and his dad passed away and it just, things like that made me realize that day, the first day, that it wasn’t just about my dad. Everybody had their own story they were going to relate to, and I just knew from reading that first message. I mean, it brought chills and tears to my eyes just knowing that was one of who knows how many I was about to hear, and it really has changed me for the better getting to hear these stories. . . . It never fails to bring chills to my skin seeing people out there and wondering who their “You Should Be Here” person is.

Moving into 2017, Swindell will have many more of those moments where he looks into the audience and sees people reacting to his words. In fact, he will be heading out on the road with Dierks Bentley and Jon Pardi on the What the Hell Tour starting in January. He is especially eager to tour with a major influence in his career (Bentley), as well as to experience all the road life has to offer with an artist he is watching “blow up” (Pardi). However, before he can load up his bus for what is sure to be a memorable ride, he has one last order of business in 2016, and that is to perform at the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on December 31 in Orlando, Florida.

I’m there with Buffalo Wild Wings just honored to be a part of the Citrus Bowl, and I am a Georgia boy, so I’ll have to stay neutral. I think it’s gonna be a great game, I can’t say I’m pulling for one team or the other. We’ve got the Heisman Trophy winner on Louisville, and LSU, I mean SEC, I grew up around SEC football, and just knowing what kind of defense LSU has. I’m not going to be pulling for anybody, I just want it to be a great game and a big win for the Citrus Bowl and Buffalo Wild Wings. You know, for them to include me, it’s the third year they’ve been the sponsor, and for them to let me have a chance to do anything like this, playing halftime, getting to play two of my No. 1 songs, getting to play a mashup of that. Just sports and music are what drive me, I mean I love both of them, and the fact that I get to do something I love watching something else I love is pretty, I don’t know. That doesn’t happen every day for me, so I’m just honestly, it’s an honor for them to include me.

Aside from all the huge career moments Swindell has to look back on and forward to, he is simply anticipating some downtime with his family and being afforded the opportunity to ring in the new year with those he loves. He admitted that he’ll also start 2017 out resolving to eat better and get into shape, even though he foresees the road and tour life as potential fitness speed bumps.

Additionally, what Swindell foresees is the release of a new single in early 2017 and some headlining shows following his run with Bentley and Pardi.

The exciting part about this next year is knowing we’re opening for a huge artist and we’ll have some headlining dates. Right now the What the Hell Tour with Dierks Bentley and Jon Pardi is the number one thing on my mind.

For more information on the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl and how you can watch Cole Swindell perform live from Orlando, click here. A complete list of Dierks Bentley What the Hell Tour stops can also be found on NashvilleGab.