The release of “Your Heart or Mine” has been a long time coming for Jeremy Studdard. The Tishomingo, Oklahoma native began singing at just five years old, and a career in music has seemed almost pre-determined to him. The first chapter in that career came as a member of Jackson Tillman, with whom he had the opportunity to release music for the first time.
Fast forward to 2020 and Studdard has stepped into the forefront, with his introduction to the country music community being “Your Heart or Mine,” a fiddle-driven, rocking song that harkens back to country music’s tried and true them of heartbreak. The single is listeners’ first look into his upcoming EP, fittingly titled On My Own, set for release this year.
We chatted with Studdard about getting involved in music at an early age, stepping to the forefront as a solo artist, recording with some of Nashville’s top musicians, all about “Your Heart or Mine” and more!
Pro Country: Who are some of your biggest musical influences that have shaped your sound?
Jeremy Studdard: When I started singing, I was about five years-old. I started singing gospel music with my grandma, then I started singing Elvis Presley. My dad bought me a box out of Elvis Presley, that got me drawn into music. After that, I fell into George Jones, Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson and Clint Black. That’s where my sound really comes from.
PC: How did that early interest in music translate into wanting to pursue music as a career?
JS: It’s hard to explain, but if you do it for as long as I’ve done it, it was a no-brainer for me. Everyone around me wanted to hear me sing, so it was one of those things where I figured, “Maybe I should do this.”
PC: You’d released music with your previous band Jackson Tillman, but what emotions were you feeling as you were preparing to release music for the first time as a solo artist with the acoustic performance of “Backroad Girl” and “Your Heart or Mine”?
JS: I do have a lot of followers from Jackson Tillman that didn’t even know my name, so it was kind of scary going into it. The ones that do know me personally and come out to the shows, they all knew my name, so it was kind of a weird transition, but it was necessary to get my name out there in front.
PC: “Backroad Girl” is a song that talks about meeting a girl and the time spent together before drifting apart and wondering where she went. Can you talk about the inspiration behind that song?
JS: I wrote that song with a guy named Tyson Biggers out of Mangum, Oklahoma. We met and talked about writing, and I had just gone through a breakup with a girl, and so did he, so the song came out pretty easy. The inspiration wasn’t from one girl, it was about the experience. It’s about being on that dirt road with the person that you care about the most and how good it feels to just be out there riding around with the winds blowing. It’s definitely not just about one girl, but several [laughs]. We tried to make it relate to everybody who has that person.
PC: “Your Heart or Mine” was a song written by Jerry Glidewell & Chad Roland. Can you talk about why you decided to cut the song and release it as your first single?
JS: First of all, Jerry and Chad are great writers and people. I’ve done some Zoom writing sessions with them, and they’re so easy to work with. When I heard this song for the first time, it was one of those things where I just knew it was a song that I wanted to record. The song is about a guy wanting to be with a girl who’s tied down, so who’s going to do it? Is she going to call it off or is he going to have to? It can relate to a lot of people out there who go through the same scenario, so I figured it would be good to give it a go.
PC: In less than two months since its release, “Your Heart or Mine” is already nearing 50,000 streams on Spotify and has continued to be well-received by your fans. What does having that level of success out of the gate mean to you?
JS: It means a lot. It shows me that all of my followers actually care. Everyone’s been sharing it, and I have people hitting me up all the time telling me that it’s my best song out of all of the songs I’ve done previously with Jackson Tillman. They’re telling me that this song is on another level where I needed to go.
PC: Is there a level of validation that comes with that response from your supporters on your debut single?
JS: For sure. It was scary making the transition, but with all of this success we’ve had so far in such a short time, it definitely validates what we’re trying to achieve. It makes me feel like I’m being accepted as a solo artist.
PC: “Your Heart or Mine” was recorded with many high-profile musicians in Nashville, including Lonnie Wilson, Mike Johnson and Jeneé Fleenor. What was it like to be in the studio with them and have them be a part of your music?
JS: I’d recorded in the past with a lot of musicians who were all very good, but these guys were just next level. It was so easy to work with them. We sat down, and I explained to them the feel I wanted with the song; I didn’t want it to sound too much like mainstream country, I wanted it to have that steel guitar and fiddle-driven sound that I grew up on. I wanted to stay true to myself and what I receive country music as.
PC: Your bio mentions that you are working on an EP titled On My Own. What information can you give about the EP? What can listeners expect to hear?
JS: It’s kind of like a roller coaster. There’s heartbreak songs, songs that are sexy, fighting songs and songs that are about losing somebody. Every emotion you can probably tie into a song, there will be a song on there that will relate to everybody.
PC: As things were shutting down due to COVID-19, you had just begun ramping things up with your live shows. Now that 2020 has altered most of the plans artists initially had, what are your plans for the rest of the year of the things you can control?
JS: There’s nothing good about what’s happened lately, so I don’t look at this year as a career-wrecker at all. There were some positive things that came out of it for me and the band; we had time to hone our crafts a bit, so we all benefited from it musically. When we got back together, our first rehearsal was awesome. You tell everyone had been practicing and working on everything. We’ll get through this year, and we’re going to rock it out as much as we can. We’ve got some big shows coming up, so I think it’s going to be alright.