Meet Graham Barham: The Singer/Songwriter Destined To Dominate The Country Music Scene

Barham is ready to introduce his music to the world following the release of his debut EP.

By

Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

July 25, 2023

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Graham Barham; Photo by Jesse Deflorio

Graham Barham first moved from Louisiana to Nashville, Tennessee at 18 years old. Here, he attended Belmont University and began creating a name for himself among the community of artists and songwriters. With the recent release of his debut EP, North of Hell, Barham gives fans a small taste of his sound that’s been developing since he first picked up the guitar at 10 years old. 

Sitting down with Country Now, the singer/songwriter opened up about his journey so far and uncovered the roots of his love for music. His parents introduced him to a wide variety of musical genres, but country music has always stood above the rest as it most closely speaks to his lifestyle growing up on his family’s farm.

His grandmother was one of the first to instill a sense of appreciation for the art of music as she was what he considered to be a “beautifully talented organist.” Church was also an important stepping stone as it was the place that inspired him to go from singing hymns to writing his own music. 

Graham Barham; Photo by Jesse Deflorio
Graham Barham; Photo by Jesse Deflorio

At 17 years old, Barham wrote his first song during a period of grief and mourning. This allowed him to see firsthand just how much music can affect people and as a result, kickstarted his desire to continue pouring out his emotions and experiences into songs with hopes of touching those who listen.

“The first song I ever really wrote in its entirety that I can recall of significance was, I wrote a song for my best friend in high school. His mother passed away and I played just a verse, chorus and a little, almost like a poem I had written for her right before she passed,” he shared with Country Now. “Then I played it at her funeral, which really looking back on it now was kind of what showed me that, hey, you can write songs and move people in a way that I just wasn’t familiar with before that instance. I guess that’s kind of how I got into songwriting.”

For several years, Barham kept the lights on by writing music for other artists. However, once he started to garner a strong social media following, he took the opportunity to lean more heavily into his love for singing and performing. 

He eventually saw viral success with his soulful track, “Preachers Need People,” and landed his first distribution deal with Virgin. Then in May of 2023, the Louisiana native signed a global publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music and Cornman Music.

Before he dove headfirst into a career in music, he had dreams of one day becoming a professional baseball player or a farmer like his dad. However, that all changed once he found out about the magic and passion that lives in Music City.  

“I think when I started to see that I had somewhat of a knack for it, I started thinking, you know, what’s the best place to be for trying to be a country music artist? And that’s when I found out about Nashville.”

Following his high school graduation, Barham and his parents made the drive up to Tennessee to get a glimpse into what the city had to offer. While he explained that they were hesitant, he was determined to find his way there. 

“They were not fans at first. They were like, ‘hell no, we’re not letting you move to the city. This is crazy. These people are nuts,’” Barham explained. “One thing led to another and I came up here and, you know, like everybody else, I was just trying to network and play writers rounds and figure out what that means. I ended up going to school up here and somehow finessed my parents into helping me pay for college to go to school here.”

Barham went on to share that he worked as a bartender while simultaneously getting an education and building a platform for himself among the competitive pool of talent.

“Got an education and was bartending the whole time and continued to bartend for several years. And then, you know, you kinda start figuring it out and social media is like a damn bullet train to wherever you want to go if you can figure it out. And then now we’re here,” he added.

Graham Barham; Photo by Jesse Deflorio
Graham Barham; Photo by Jesse Deflorio

Along the way, Barham has also received plenty of guidance from other country stars including Dylan Scott, Lainey Wilson, and more who have been through their own similar journeys and are willing to share some of their wisdom and advice. 

“Dylan Scott’s been incredible to me, just from the time I moved here to the time that I’ve been around. Also, Lainey Wilson’s been really good to me as well,” Barham shared. “Obviously, Bailey Zimmerman has been a part of my life here and I started singing demos that we would write songs for him and that’s kind of how I got like my name thrown around town.”

He continued, “But I say Dylan is probably the one that I’ve been in most contact with throughout my entire time here. And I knew Lainey when I moved here, she’s kind of been helping me out a little bit now and Kip Moore has been very instrumental in my life right now. Just some awesome people.”

All of this work and the strong connections he’s made have led Graham Barham to where he is now with a debut EP already released and a slew of bucket list goals in the works.  

The six-track project features his viral hit, “Preachers Need People” as well as previously released “Break It In A Bar,” “Two Broke Hearts,” “Beer In My Bed,” “Breakin’ Down” and the title track, “North Of Hell.”

Graham Barham had a hand in writing every song, allowing him to highlight his twang-filled authenticity and heartfelt songwriting skills. 

“Each song was a little different in each time in my life. And I don’t really stack up songs, I just kind of, you know, if we write a cool one last week and I wanna put that out in the week after, that’s what we do. With social media, you’re able to tease stuff and see what people like, and if it’s not really taking, there’s no point in putting it out. So, you know, I just kind of see what they’re feeling and if they’re feeling what I’m feeling and hopefully they are, then you really get behind it more,” he explained. 

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Next up, the singer/songwriter shared that he has set his hopes high for hitting the road and bringing his music to a whole new crop of country fans. 

“I wanna get on a direct support for a large tour here in the spring and then hopefully have my own headline tour in the summer and then maybe get on an even bigger tour in the fall or hopefully, if things keep at the rate they’re at, have my own headline tour in the fall. I think right now the goal is to get on a tour, a substantial tour that can enable me to really, really shed a lot of light to the records.

Additionally, he teased that he’s getting ready to drop “a lot” of new music. 

“It’s only begun. I mean this has been a decent start, but we’re really just getting the wheels turning right now and I’m about to throw this thing into overdrive.”

Throughout the year, Graham Barham has appeared at a number of fairs and festivals including CMA Fest where he made his debut on the Hard Rock stage. He has yet to announce any upcoming shows or tour dates, but fans can keep up with him on Instagram for updates.

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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.