Q&A: Griffen Palmer Reflects On His Music Journey Ahead Of Debut Album Release
This singer/songwriter is working his way towards stardom.
Griffen Palmer; Photo by Chris Hornbuckle
Since his 2020 TV debut on NBC’s Songland competition, Griffen Palmer has been steadily growing his fanbase and establishing an impressive resume.
The fast-rising country star has already been recognized as a hit songwriter for artists such as Keith Urban, The Band Camino, Chelsea Cutler, Florida Georgia Line, and more, but now, he’s taking his talents to the stage as an artist.
During his time on Songland, the recent Big Loud signee performed his lovestruck track, “Second Guessing,” which was later recorded by country music duo, Florida Georgia Line. Then in 2023, Palmer released his own version of the song and got the chance to showcase his talent once again on the latest season of ABC’s reality dating show, The Bachelor.
Up until recently, the Ontario native had only dropped two songs – “Second Guessing,” and his latest release, “25 To Life.” However, this is just the start of what Palmer has in store, because on April 28, he will unveil his debut album, Unlearn. The title track to this project, out March 31, offers a look into the powerful storytelling that Palmer is preparing to bring to the table through his first full-length collection.
The vulnerable new track was penned by Palmer alongside GRAMMY-nominated hitmaker Geoff Warburton and finds the newcomer working towards rediscovering his own definition of love, after growing up in a divorced home. This incredibly personal journey is portrayed through Palmer’s crisp and sincere vocals as he sings, “Memories take / A while to reverse / You got me believing / These songs that I’ve heard / I didn’t know it / But baby you showed me / That I’ve got a lot to unlearn.”
He’s had the chance to showcase his new songs and more throughout the last few months on tour with Lily Rose.
“Lily’s fans are awesome,” Palmer shared. “They just bring a ton of energy every night, and Lily’s also been so cool. I’ve written a couple songs for Lily, so seeing them come to life with her band has been cool. And she’s let me sing a couple of them on stage with her and just kind of feel the response from her fans too. So yeah, it’s been a great time.”
During Griffen Palmer’s recent visit to Nashville’s Country Radio Seminar (CRS), he caught up with Country Now to share a bit about his musical journey and what he’s got in store for the future.
Around what age did your passion for music begin?
I first started writing songs when I was an early teenager, but it wasn’t like full-time, taking it super seriously, probably until I was like in college…I started playing instruments when I was like eight years old and it’s been my main thing for as long as I can remember.
Did your family have any influence on you wanting to start pursuing music?
My family was super musical and I feel like my dad put me in piano lessons and stuff when I was like four or five. I didn’t care for it much then, when I had to leave from playing outside to go practice, but when I kind of discovered it on my own and did it at my own pace, it just became something I fell in love with.
What has it been like seeing country stars Lily Rose, Keith Urban and Florida Georgia Line record some of the songs you’ve written?
It’s amazing. It’s one of those things that just never gets old. You know, when you hear one of your idols or musical icons singing the words you wrote, it’s like you always kind of have to do a double take. So I hope that I never lose that feeling. I hope that I’m always mesmerized every time I hear an artist cut one of my songs.
Who would you say are some of your biggest musical influences?
Chris Stapleton, I love him in terms of like country writing, and Sam Hunt’s been putting out a lot of really cool stuff. I’ve always been inspired by the same kind of core group of artists since I was a kid, like John Mayer and Kings Of Leon, Elton John, stuff like that. But yeah, it’s always changing. Just depends on what I’m listening to in the moment.
You earned a good deal of success with your song “Second Guessing” after performing it on Songland in 2020. What does it mean to you to see such a positive response from fans on the revamped version?
It’s very cool. It’s one of those things where, you know, since I was on Songland, I’d receive messages from people all the time asking for me to put out a version. It was always kind of in the plans, just slowly working away at it, but for them to respond the way they had or have and just be playing this song, it means a lot.
How has this song impacted your career so far?
It’s opened up a ton of doors, first starting with Songland and then, you know, just signed my record deal at Big Loud, and got to play on The Bachelor. So many crazy opportunities have risen just because of this song.
Can you talk a bit more about what it was like getting to perform on The Bachelor?
I’m happy to report that it’s exactly what it looks like on TV when you’re watching it at home. You know, it’s all very hush-hush, very secret. They had me in the band like in a little green room, tucked away from the date and then had to go up through a secret elevator to get to surprise the dates and they were actually surprised when I played. So, yeah, it was very cool to go through all that and then watch it here in Nashville with my team and stuff. We had a little watch party and yeah, big moment.
You recently released a song called “25 To Life.” What inspired this love story?
We wrote this, Geoff Warburton and I, who’s one of my closest collaborators and one of my best friends, honestly. We wrote this in the middle of the pandemic. When the whole world was shut down, we just decided to live together and just wake up every morning and write a song. So this was in the middle of that and I had this title, “25 To Life,” and this concept of like, how could you write about love as if it was like a sentence, like a long-term thing. And I just felt like the whole idea of like this prison situation would be cool if you could write it right and make it about a relationship cause a long sentence would be the best one if you’re with like somebody you loved. So that’s kind of what we were thinking. Then it just became the cornerstone of the project we were making and it was the first song we decided we really wanted on the record. So yeah, it’s important to me that it’s out because it gives people a little sneak preview of what’s the come.
What was it like filming the music video for this song?
It was cool filming a music video in general, cause it was my first music video. So seeing all the crew and all the work that goes into putting together this three-minute video, and then seeing it all edited together later, it’s pretty amazing. I feel like I don’t know enough about the technical stuff. I still watch a music video, like amazed every time, so it’s very cool to see it happen for one of my songs.
There’s just so many talented people that are there doing their thing. It’s always the best when you watch someone do something they’re really great at, and Justin Clough, who directed the video, was incredible. The actors we had was a real couple in real life, so watching them act and then see them off-camera was really cool.
You’ve mentioned that your debut project in the works. Is there anything more you can share about that?
I think fans can just expect a lot of songs that kind of tell the story of what it’s like to be in your early 20s and just finding yourself, meeting new people, falling in love, and falling out of love. I hope it just encapsulates the feeling of being a person finding their way.
It’s kind of been like 25 years or 20 years of getting ready for a first project, cause you only get one. I think every new artist just hopes that they sum up exactly how they feel musically in just one piece of music. So it’s taken me a long time to figure that out.
Griffen Palmer’s debut album, Unlearn, will be released on April 28. See the just-released track list below.
Unlearn Track List
1. Second Guessing (Griffen Palmer, Corey Crowder, Ester Dean, Andrew DeRoberts, Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley, Shane McAnally, Ben Simonetti, Ryan Tedder, Geoff Warburton)
2. 25 To Life (Griffen Palmer, Geoff Warburton)
3. Unlearn (Griffen Palmer, Geoff Warburton)
4. Put Me Through Hello (Griffen Palmer, Geoff Warburton)
5. By The Way (Griffen Palmer, Jordan Reynolds, Geoff Warburton)
6. Small Town After All (Griffen Palmer, Geoff Warburton)
7. Came Here To Leave (Griffen Palmer, Geoff Warburton)
8. Late To The Party (Griffen Palmer, Geoff Warburton)
9. How Many Beers (Griffen Palmer, Geoff Warburton)
10. Bottles On The Table (Griffen Palmer, Geoff Warburton)
All Songs Produced by Joey Moi
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.