Cotter Hill: Get To Know Nashville's Newest Voice

No matter where Southeast Tennesse native has found himself in life, country music has followed. Cotter Hill is a refreshing reminder of what the country genre has evolved to, without loosing its down-home roots. After being in Nashville for six years, Cotter has found himself in a circle of Nashville creatives that he feels confident in. His new single "Good For Me" is a reminder to embrace the "good" in moving forward or trying something new. The lyrics speak to the heart of country music and how we all need to find the good in our daily lives. Pulling from influences like George Strait, Clay Walker and Rascal Flatts, Cotter Hill's country music is ready to make a splash!

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"I love country music. I love the fact that you can tell real stories and share your feelings and It can help other people who also relate to those stories." - Cotter Hill

What were some of your first tastes of country music? Was there a moment you knew you were hooked?

Growing up with my parents listening to country music, there was a lot of George Strait and Rascal Flatts. My mom, she is up obsessed with Rascal Flatts. I still till this day find myself tapping into all that musically.

Clay Walker was actually a really big inspiration when I first started out. I've always loved his songwriting and how he performs. Even the tone in his voice. I remember being, I want to do what that guy does. Clay is a really big part of my like musical journey.

I started there and once the songwriting came along, everything fell into place. I love being able to tell a story, that’s where I really felt at home. I fell into country music because being able to share my story about my life or personal experiences is where I thrive.

Has music kind of always there for you or was that more on the back burner?

Music, it was always there for me. I started playing guitar when I was 11. I even played trumpet and a little bit. Even though I didn't focus on music until I was in my twenties, it was still a huge staple in my life. I would fall back on country music when things were tough or if I was just having a good time, and it's always kind of helped me through.

What was the moment you knew Nashville was calling, and it was time to move?

I grew up in East Tennessee in Cleveland, Tennessee, so it was only roughly like two hours away from Nashville. I always wanted to be here and I always had a feeling that I would end up here. Then sometimes, life just happens. After life happened and everything took its toll, I was like, mom, dad, I'm going to up and leave. I've been here now for almost going on six years and I love it.

What has been the biggest lesson you have learned in your six years in Nashville?

I learned how to be more independent because I don't have family here. I have my friends and that are my family now.

However, my biggest lesson was everybody comes to Nashville with the attitude of “I'm going to do it. I'm going to make this happen.” This is a town where everybody's better than everybody and it kind of really humbles you, it puts you in your place. That was a huge lesson for me. I sat back and really dug into writing and playing, and getting better at my craft, my music and my art.

What is your favorite way to find inspiration and be creative when it comes to writing for country music?

I love writing about my own life. I try to bring ideas from that. If I have a breakup or just a fun day at the lake, I'll bring inspiration from that. If I just can't find anything like with mine, like within my own life, I talk to everybody. I'll pull inspiration from other people's stories. I like to do that because I feel like that's how people can relate to music the most. I feel like the real stories is what we connect to the most. I feel like that's how that everybody can kind of really relate and attach to that song or that album or whatever it is.

What other creatives in Nashville are inspiring you right now?

I have a little circle going on that is all friends. I feel like that is very important in Nashville's you have to build a circle because it's a hard town and you definitely know cannot do it by herself.

I have friends of mine like Ben Kramer, Cameron Blackburn and Mark Caldwell. Those are the three guys that had started with me from literally day one. Mark was probably one of the first people I met, and he recorded a lot of my first music. He recorded the three on Spotify now. I think we've done 20 songs together, just writing and recording. These are the first guys that I really built that relationship with. The circle grew, brought their own people in and it grew from there. And now I have Donnie Reese, my producer, and then with Circle 11 as management. I am really inspired by the team I work with!

What have been some of your favorite memories from playing the iconic Whiskey Jam in Nashville?

I think I've played it seven times now. It's my favorite stage in Nashville. I love it. I love Ward what he does just for the community. that. That stage is just such a staple in Nashville and I feel like artists have to kind of go through there. I feel like you kind of do just for that experience. It's the true Nashville experience for a showcase and a really good place to like make new fans and friends. It's definitely my favorite stage to play in Nashville for sure.

The very first time I ever played a Whiskey Jam, was also the first time and I played full band. I was more nervous as anything. But I was nice to have Ward, he help walk me through it. Then he even gave me an Encore the very first time, and that was even more nerve wracking, but I'll never forget it.

What is the story behind your latest single “Good For Me”?

This song was actually written by Arlis Allbritton and Hunter Phelps two amazing songwriters in town.

We were going through tunes for a new EP, and I really wanted to take a few outside cuts. Because in Nashville, you never know what is out there. And like I said earlier, everybody's better than everybody. Arlis brought this song to my attention. it was I think three years ago or so that they wrote it. I instantly connected with it “Good For Me” can be interpreted so many different ways. Diving head first into something new or moving away fro something toxic can all be “Good For Me”.

It related to me because moving from my hometown to Nashville and giving up the past was a good move. I really clicked with that and connected with that. That is why I really fought to cut the song.

How are you hoping that country fans connect to your new single?

I hope they take it the same way that I did. No matter what they're going through, if they're going through a good time or a bad time, they can relate.

How do you define country music?

Storytelling like that's the biggest part for me. I feel like everybody loves t have the party side. But then you have the heartbreak side, you have the dog side, you have the truck side. I think like everybody can kind of connect with it. So that's, that's a, that's a tough question for me but the storytelling and how we connect has to be number one for me!

What do you have in the pipeline for 2021?

Definitely going to have more music coming out soon. I think we're shooting for end of next month, possibly for another single and just hitting the road and playing live shows anywhere we can.

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