Colin Stough Talks New Single, ‘Promiseland,’ Life After ‘American Idol,’ And Details The Friendships He’s Formed In Nashville
Stough says the new single “describes me and my roots.”
Photo Courtesy Colin Stough
As Colin Stough continues to grow his celebrity status and build a fan base following a successful run on Season 21 of American Idol, he wants folks to know that he intends to stay true to his roots. And he’s doing just that with the release of “Promiseland.”
The high-energy song, which follows previous singles “I Still Talk To Jesus” and “Bad Day,” was written by Stough alongside Alex Maxwell and Dawson Edwards. The 19-year-old Gattman, Mississippi native turned Nashville transplant goes heavy on his gritty side, utilizing his rock influences as he sings about the pressures of climbing up the ladder as a singer/songwriter but intending to stay grounded in the process.
In a press release, Stough says, “Man, ‘Promiseland’ describes me and my roots. It’s a song about where I’m from and a reminder to myself that no matter where I am or what I’m doing, nothing or no one will change me.”
Adding to the excitement, Stough has paired his song release with an accompanying music video, which finds him paying tribute to his hometown. Filmed in Mississippi, the dynamic clip captures the places where the talented artist spent time growing up, from local grocery stores and restaurants to open roads and rodeos. Footage also shows Stough driving around the countryside on his motorcycle, spending time on the water, performing with a full band, and tending to his horses.
Stough, who is currently out on the road with headlining tour dates, spent some time with Country Now to talk about his new song, “Promiseland,” time living in Nashville, upcoming goals, and more.
Check out Stough’s chat with Country Now in this exclusive Q&A below.
What’s the story behind your new single “Promiseland”?
I really wanted to write a song that honors my hometown and the main places in my life, like Red Hill Road — the road I grew up on. Highway 278 (mentioned in the song) was the nearby highway. Then, the Buttahatchee River, close to my house, I spent a lot of time out there. When I first moved to Nashville, I was missing home. So what better way to say thanks to my hometown than to write a song about it? I love the song because it pushes me a little bit. It makes me not forget where I come from or who I am.
“Promiseland” comes after your previous releases, “I Still Talk To Jesus” and “Bad Day.” How does this track take you to the next step in your career?
I grew up with the Southern rock/country genre in my lifestyle, listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Stephen Ray Vaughan, big artists like that, and even some today. I wanted to take my time with this track and write something that defines who I am as an artist. So, it does have that old Southern rock feel to it. But it’s still very new. And, you know, with moving forward, all I’m saying is get ready because we’re hoping to hit the music game hard with EPs and singles. There’s a lot of good ingredients going into this. We’ve got it cooking!
How has Nashville been for you since you’ve moved from Mississippi?
The Nashville environment is definitely a different vibe from my little hometown of Gattman, which has around 70-80 people. So everybody knows everybody and stuff like that. I’ve been in Nashville for about four months now, and I still feel like I’ve got to put my GPS on to go to the grocery store. I’m definitely adjusting a good bit. But I like being surrounded by my team because they’re all from Nashville. So it’s easier to work.
Have you gotten into a lot of different writing rooms?
Yeah. I probably write at least every day or three days a week that I’m here and not on the road. One thing I love is getting into writing rooms with a bunch of different artists and hearing their ideas and stuff like that.
Have you formed any new friendships with musicians in Nashville?
So, when I came off the show and came to Nashville, I didn’t really have a place to live, but Chase Matthew, man, he’s a great guy. He pretty much opened up — I’ve stayed at his house a ton. I actually just moved out last night. He’s put food on the table for me. My motorcycle is at his house in his garage, right now. Jaren Johnston, the lead singer from The Cadillac Three, when I found out I was doing a writing session with him, I acted like a little fangirl with him for a little bit. Before I left, he had given me a Telecaster. It’s the one I play on stage. And he was just like, ‘Hey, man. I think this would fit you really well.’ So people like that. There are just so many great people I’ve met. I was saying in my own mind, ‘I’m the new kid on the block.’ But no, you’d be surprised at how many people text me to hang out, like ERNEST. I was at Big Loud the other day, writing. He showed up and introduced himself. I have a lot of respect for people like that.
Is there anything you can share about a potential full-length project or EP in the future?
We’ve got a list of great songs that are produced by great people. And we’ve got great writers, too. So get ready because great music’s coming!
Are you a co-writer on all of the tracks?
I would say that I am a co-writer on 98.9% of the music we cut and record.
How would you say you’ve grown since your journey on American Idol?
I’ve grown in every single way. I’ve grown vocally and with being capable of writing songs. I’m not the smartest guy out there. But when you write good quality songs, and even just as far as my guitar playing, I’ve grown so much in those factors. It’s good to see that because it is a job, but you can only go up.
What do you want fans to take away from the new music you’re putting out?
There are some upbeat songs that we’re writing and some slower ones. But I want my fans to take a message. One of the main things that I always stress at my shows and whatnot is that tomorrow is not promised. So whether you make that your decision or the good Lord’s decision, the main message I want to send to everybody, especially with the sadder and more heartfelt stuff, is that everybody goes through a certain point in life. I feel like a lot of fans look at artists and think, ‘It must be nice to be able to have this or do that,’ but in reality, I feel like everybody goes through adversity in life. God’s got a plan. So, I really care about the message that I give people.
What goals have you set to round out 2023?
The goal for me is to keep playing shows and having crowds coming. The part of the shows I love the most is meeting with the fans. I love watching reactions and interacting with people. Surprisingly, there are a lot of people who come up to me and let me know what they’ve got going on. That’s what I really enjoy the most is being a role model for people.
Are there any tours you’re hoping to jump on in the future?
It doesn’t really matter to me. I love doing the music and playing with different people and stuff like that. But, as long as I’m getting up there and playing songs, I’m happy.
Tell me about some of the shows you have coming up.
We’ve got a show in Alabama, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Little Rock, Arkansas. We did have the Live Oak in Florida, but unfortunately, the hurricane got it. My prayers and thoughts go out to all those people, on that side of the country.
Fans can keep up with Colin Stough on Instagram.
Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Country Now, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.