Country Next: Carson Wallace

We are proud to showcase country music’s brightest new stars through our Country Next series. In this installment, we talk with Carson Wallace.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

June 28, 2024


10:32 am

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Carson Wallace; Photo Courtesy of Red Light Management

Rising country sensation Carson Wallace grew up in a small town of a thousand people in Springville, CA, just outside of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. With the support of his family, he began pursuing his love for music at just four years old and has never looked back. 

He got his first glimpse into the world of songwriting when his uncle, also a songwriter, created an event called Nashville Nights, which welcomed creatives from Music City into a small town where his family grew up. The emerging artist learned the value of telling real and raw stories through this experience and fell in love with the idea of being able to make listeners feel something through a song. 

This passion led the now 20-year-old to Nashville, TN where he is currently cementing his name as a force to be reckoned with. Wallace continues to draw from his Westernized upbringing and uses these real-life experiences as the foundation for his growing catalog of authentic music.

“I grew up super rural in a thousand-person small town. I grew up ranching and rodeoing, raising cattle. So about as Western and ranching as it gets,” he told Country Now. “It just gives me an appreciation for that entire lifestyle and the type of music that you listen to when you grow up in that lifestyle. It’s always going to be a part of me. I think it just allows me to be authentic when I go to write those type of songs or those type of lyrics and understand what’s cheesy and what’s not.”

He continued, “I wouldn’t say there’s definitely like a, “I grew up like that so my music sounds like that.” It’s a part of me and it’s allowed me to appreciate that…but I branch out and try other genres and types of influences. I still always have that as a landing place, and I can go back to the basics. It allows me to have the foundation of that lifestyle.”

On Friday, June 28, Wallace unveils a new song titled “Don’t Miss,” which he co-penned with Clara Park, Chase McDaniel, Averie Bielski and Zachary King. The track illustrates how easy it can be to lose your grip on someone who just isn’t ready to settle down and accept the love their partner wants to give them. The pain of his heartbreak is clearly shown through Wallace’s vocals as the mid-tempo beat elevates the powerful set of emotions at play. 

Carson Wallace; Don't Miss
Carson Wallace; Don’t Miss

We recently sat down with Carson Wallace to discuss how his love for music developed at an early age, his journey to Nashville and working with some of the biggest names in country music. Plus, Wallace opens up about his brand-new song and teases what he’s working on next. 

Read on to find out more about Carson Wallace in this exclusive Q&A below.

When did your appreciation and love for country music really begin?

I would have to say from the very beginning. I am lucky enough, I grew up in a family that has been involved in music. I have an uncle that’s a songwriter in Nashville, so growing up it was always a part of my life. I think my first show I was maybe four and I started playing guitar when I was seven and piano even earlier than that. It’s always been a part of me and I think throughout my childhood I just continued to fall in love with it. As I started looking at options after high school, I was just like, I gotta chase music. I don’t know what I would do if I don’t. That’s when I moved to Nashville and went to Belmont University for two years and then dropped out, signed a publishing deal and started really digging in on the artist side and putting music out. It’s just kind of been up and away from there.

You said you started learning instruments at a young age. Were you self-taught or did you have lessons at the time?

It was all lessons. My parents kind of forced it on me, and I’m glad they did. I started piano lessons when I was four, and then I started guitar when I was seven. All I wanted to do was just be able to play these songs that my family would play at campfires or whatever. I think the first song I learned to play was “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash, if you can imagine a little seven-year-old out there playing that song. That was what I wanted to do. I wanted to learn those songs, and then as soon as I could start playing guitar, I starting to write my own songs. That’s truly where the songwriting aspect came in, was as I started playing guitar.

Your uncle created this event in your town called Nashville Nights, was that your first true taste of songwriting?

That experience was really cool. He would fly out hit writers from Nashville every year to this town called Solvang, which is where my mom and her brothers, they all grew up there. They started this benefit concert and there were years it included like Paul Overstreet, Jessi Alexander, Lee Thomas Miller, Wendell Mobley and Jon Nite, just big writers that can really be appreciated, I think by anybody, playing these hit songs. I think that’s what made me fall in love with songwriting and the idea of it. Seeing these people doing it at the highest level and just seeing the type of people they were and the fact that that was their job just really wowed me. 

Have you kept in touch with any of the songwriters from that event that you now write with today?

Yeah, I’ve definitely kept in touch. I’ve been seeing them all and yeah, I have worked with a few of them as well. It’s a very full circle moment when you get to walk in a room, you’re like, “oh, this is so crazy.”

Do you remember where your first performance was?

So there’s this little restaurant kind of venue in my hometown, which is only like a thousand people so there’s only a few places and everybody went to them. There’s this one place called the Springville Inn and there this lady by the name Patty that was playing the show. I was all of four and I hopped on stage and did this coyote song with her where literally all I did was howl. That was my first time getting up in front of people and performing like that. And I vividly remember it still, I don’t know how. Then from there I just started getting on stage with my uncles wherever they would play and sing a song here or there. There was this duo Joe and Martina in my hometown that pulled me up on stage everywhere they went, and I would play “Blue Suede Shoes” or “Folsom Prison Blues” or any of those. Obviously, my music taste and kind of what I gravitate towards musically has changed, but I still will always have an appreciation for those classic songs.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when you first moved to Nashville and really started pursuing music as a career?

I would have to say the biggest challenge probably at first was just probably being taken seriously. Going to Belmont is a terrible blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because that got me to Nashville at an early age. I moved there when I was 17 and started school there, but it’s also a curse in the fact of, I was truly trying to act like a professional songwriter from day one, writing as often as I could, trying to get in the best room as possible, posting on TikTok, starting to post my own songs on there, and acting as an artist, but when you’re going to school like that, people kind of look at you as like a student more than a songwriter or something. So it takes some really hard work and some blood, sweat and tears to really get people to understand that you’re taking this seriously and you’re not just a college student, but you’re truly pursuing your career in music. I think once I finally broke through that Belmont fold and actually was considered a talented creative and artist is when things started changing for me and I really saw some growth and some career shifts. 

Talk about writing your newest release, “Don’t Miss”

I wrote that with a super big crew, and we all call ourselves “The Homies.” There’s five of us. It was me, Clara Park, Zach John King, which is another rising artist that I’m super pumped for, a writer named Chase McDaniel, that’s signed to Hang Your Hat, he’s great, and then Averie Bielski as well. It was a really special day when we wrote this song. It was a very packed, small room. This song has stayed with me for a while now and I write songs every day all the time so for something to still feel like one of my best songs and as relevant as it has a year later…We wrote the song over a year ago now and for it to still stick out to me, I knew it was special and I needed to put it out.

What was the inspiration behind this song?

Zach John King actually came in with this melody and I was like, oh, that’s so cool. And then we just started talking about different song ideas and stuff and Chase McDaniel threw out this title, “Don’t Miss” and I just thought about how a lot of the girls that I tend to go for in relationships, they tend to be ones that are really pretty, and you’ve got to go get them kind of girl. With that, they also tend to always end up leaving and it’s hard to make that type of girl really settle down into something, especially at an early age of 20, which is how old I am. So I think I relate to this a lot and that’s kind of where the inspiration was from, like this girl’s great, she’s everything you want so she doesn’t miss in doing that, but she also doesn’t miss, at the end of the day, throwing your heart on that list of things that she doesn’t miss. It’s kind of a cool flip on a phrase and I really think a lot of girls want to hear that, because there are a lot of girls like that, especially, again, at a younger age. And there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just a lot of dudes wonder what they did wrong.

YouTube video

Since you’ve been teasing this song on socials for a while now, talk about what it’s been like seeing the fans respond to it.

I actually teased this song on socials a year ago now, just quickly, like, “let’s see what they think of this,” and it really performed well in a short period of time, but I just didn’t feel like it was the right time for this song yet. It’s cool because as I posted other songs on TikTok and stuff, they would continually ask for this song and so it’s crazy to finally have that full circle moment of putting it out and getting it to the world.

With all the songs you’ve been releasing over the past year, are you currently working on a project of any kind?

There’s definitely talks of it. I can’t spill any details yet of exactly what that’s gonna look like, but I know for now we’re just continuing to put out songs that we love and songs that I just really feel like audiences can connect to and that convey a real emotion. I think as long as we keep doing that, it’s gonna continue to grow and build and I think it’s a matter of time before we see a project like an EP or something like that.

As more and more fans get introduced to your music, what do you hope they take away from hearing your songs?

I just hope that they know that they come know that I’m this 20-year-old kid that’s just kind of figuring it out, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I hope that when they listen to these songs, they hear that emotion of not having it all figured out and just the raw emotions of life and what that entails and know I’m not just writing songs ‘cause like, this is a cool song, but truly having some storyline behind it and some meaning. I just want people to feel something when they hear these songs… that’s my whole goal. It’s just to be different and unique and as original as I can be.

How did you get connected with HARDY and what has it been like having him as a role model?

I have written with him. It’s been really cool. I met him last year and he believed in me enough, along with his other copartners in the company, Relative Music, to sign me to a publishing deal. So I signed with them and he’s just such a genuine, awesome human and it’s been really cool to work with him. As we continue to work together, I know we’re gonna just get better and better songs. And just having a role model in somebody like him, his career is truly what I would love to see happen with my career of writing hit songs for himself and having those hits as an artist, but also writing songs for other people too, and that cool balance that I think people have to respect you as a creative when you have that diversity. I think just his ability to convey stories in such a unique, organic, original way that as soon as you hear a HARDY song, you know it’s a HARDY song, that’s just what I’ve strived to do as a writer myself. I’m just thankful to have him as a role model and mentor and I’m excited to continue growing under him. 

What other country stars would love to get into the writing room with one day?

I’ve always loved Chris Stapleton. He’s, in my opinion, one of the best voices, and I also love his writing and just grew up listening to him, so I’d love to work with him one day. Obviously, Post Malone recently came into the country scene and is absolutely crushing it, but I’ve always been a fan of what Post does and would love to do something with him one day. I absolutely love what Morgan Wallen’s doing and I would definitely want to work with him one day. There’s a band called Laney out of LA. I’d love to do something with them one day. I’ve grown up listening to a lot of their stuff. I mean, there’s so many, but those are just some that pop in my head pretty quickly.

Fans can keep up with Carson Wallace on Instagram.

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.