Country Next: Timothy Wayne

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

By

Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

May 20, 2024

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3:07 pm

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Timothy Wayne; Photo by Tyler Conrad

Timothy Wayne is an up-and-coming country sensation from Franklin, Tennessee who is currently splitting his time between building his music career and studying history as an upcoming junior at Louisiana State University (LSU). 

He was raised in a family of music lovers, meaning his understanding of the power of a song came at an early age. Turning his passion for country music into a career hasn’t always been Wayne’s plan, but at around 18 years old, that desire became a full-fledged goal that has only intensified over time. Slowly but surely, his songwriting abilities started to develop along the way as well, and the combination of his growing skills has led him to earn a record deal with UMG Nashville.

On Friday, May 17, the rising country star dropped his major label track debut, “God Made A Country Boy.” The upbeat anthem hones in on Wayne’s hard-working values and respectful manners that were instilled on him throughout his small-town upbringing in Tennessee. The song was written by Brad Warren, Brett Warren and Lance Miller, and produced by Byron Gallimore as well as Wayne’s uncle, country superstar Tim McGraw

Timothy Wayne was actually named after his uncle. The “I Like it I Love It” singer has always been a family member first, but his deep-rooted connection to the music industry has also played a big role in helping the young artist pave his own unique path in the business. 

With his first project currently in the works, Wayne revealed that he has felt inspired to create music that blends the traditional country music sound of Waylon Jennings, George Strait, and Randy Travis with the flair of more modern icons like Dierks Bentley and of course, McGraw. When compiling tracks for the forthcoming collection, he explained that he followed the “best song wins” mentality and didn’t shy away from recording some outside cuts. 

The Tennessee native is looking forward to sharing his new music at Nashville’s upcoming CMA Fest in June, as well as his opening dates on McGraw’s Standing Room Only Tour 2024. This gig marks a major milestone as it marks Wayne’s first time performing on a tour.  

“This is my first tour of any kind and it’s definitely my first major tour. I’m super excited to be on the road,” he shared with Country Now

We recently caught up with Timothy Wayne to discuss his musical journey, working alongside Tim McGraw, his future plans for his career and more. Read on to find out more about Wayne in this exclusive Q&A below.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue music more seriously?

There were several points along my journey that kind of put me in the headspace that I wanted to do this, but the most memorable one was actually on Legend’s Corner down on Broadway. My mom made a call to some friends, I got up and they let me do a couple of songs with them and one of the songs I did was ‘Luckenbach, Texas’ by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. While doing that, an old cowboy asked a young lady sitting at the bar in Legends to dance and they danced in front of me and that queued more people to dance. So that is one of the things that queued me in that I kind of kind of wanna do this, ’cause that feeling was awesome.

How has it been trying to balance school with your growing music career?

That’s the gig, regardless of college, just in life trying to find the balance between work and personal. For me, it’s work, personal, and school life and right now it’s kind of on autopilot. I’m balancing between the two right now, but once things start getting heavier in college and in music, it’ll be a little bit more difficult. I’m still trying to work out exactly how it’s gonna go.

Why did you choose to study history in school and if you weren’t doing music, what path were you hoping to explore with this degree?

So before music I was actually pretty dead set on joining the United States Marine Corps. Up until about when I played Legend’s Corner and I got into singing, I was dead set on becoming a United States Marine. The history degree was actually for OCS (Officer Candidates School) and then once I started doing music, I just stuck with it because there’s no guarantees in this business at all, like many businesses. You kind of have to have something to fall back on so my fallback is still the United States Marine Corps.

What is your support system like at school?

My fraternity brothers, especially my initiation class, have been very, very, very supportive. Because of music, whether it be playing different shows or being in different writing rooms, I haven’t always been there for every single event, but they’ve stood by me no matter what. I have a great support system here, and I’m super proud of all those guys, and I’m glad to call them my brothers. 

You recently signed your first record deal with UMG. How does it feel to have that added support behind you? ‘

Support is everything for me, and I try to be as supportive as I can be with everybody else as well. One of the biggest reasons why I never really thought about pursuing music was because I didn’t think I could do it, but then you have people that rally behind you and they push you forward to do it, and then you start thinking, you know, I think I can do this. Having UMG back a 20-something-year-old kid at college, it means a great deal for them to give me a shot, stand behind me and say, ‘we’ve got your back.’

How has it been having your uncle Tim McGraw there to act as a guide and mentor throughout the start of your music career?

He’s more than a mentor. I mean, first and foremost, he’s my uncle and he’s always been one of my biggest role models. I mean, my three biggest male role models are my older brother, my father and my uncle. It’s been just like having any other uncle with Tim, but his support and his advice and his guidance through this, from when I started to now, is priceless. I’m super grateful and super blessed to have him in my corner and have him working with me and just have his support. It’s amazing.

What can listeners expect to hear during your sets on McGraw’s Standing Room Only tour?

Well, you’re definitely going to hear a couple of new songs that haven’t quite been released yet and hopefully one that will be released later this month. So you’ll hear some of the new stuff that hasn’t been released, but it’s been kind of teased, you’ll definitely hear my first single and you’ll hear a couple of covers along the way as well.

What kind of advice has McGraw offered you ahead of your time on the tour?

He’s given me so much advice and anytime I’m asked that question by anybody, it always changes because he’s given me so much advice, but there’s two sets of advice that he’s given me. One is that the song and the fans matter. The second part of the advice that I really take to heart is you have to work for it. You’re not going to be handed stuff. You have to work for everything you get and you’ve got to work hard for it. You’ve got to understand that that’s how you get there. The biggest part of the advice is just to work hard, and I take that to heart, especially with preparing for this tour. I practice every day, run set lists through my head every day.

How did your new song, “God Made a Country Boy” land in your hands and what made you want to cut it?

So I had been secretly dabbling in music and some friends of ours, the Warren Brothers and Lance Miller who have known me pretty much since my birth, heard about it and they sent the song to Tim and said, ‘Why don’t you send this to Timothy and see if he likes it?’ So then of course,  he sent it to me and I fell in love with it. ‘God Made a Country Boy’ is the song’s name. I’m still growing up, I’m still a kid, but it reminded me of how I grew up in the early days and how I’m still living the philosophy of life of being a country boy. It brought back a lot of memories and I fell in love with the song and I asked if I could record it. They said, ‘of course’ and I’ve been very, very, very privileged and honored for them to even consider me for such a task.

Can you talk a bit about your experience building out your first project?

Obviously, it’s my first time ever really building a project. I’ve built set lists before, but I’ve never built a project and getting songs from friends and also family that they have held on to for years or that they didn’t want to put out there, but then decided to put out there, it’s been fun. It’s definitely been a really cool experience getting so many songs. It’s been a hard experience too because you fall in love with so many songs and you want to put them all on there but you can’t put 40 songs on one project. So, you’ve got to kind of sift through and see which ones really speak to you in that moment and which ones do you resonate with. The song wins and you’ve got to make sure everything’s just right. 

Fans can keep up with Timothy Wayne 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.