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Interview: rising artist Joey Hendricks talks about debut single ‘Yours or Mine’ and signing to Sony Music Nashville

The newcomer opens up about launching his career in the middle of the pandemic.

Joey Hendricks
Credit: Sony Music Nashville

Joey Hendricks is a Country singer-songwriter you need to keep an eye on.

A new signing to Sony Music Nashville, the talented artist recently unleashed his debut single ‘Yours or Mine’ and it’s making people stand up and take notice. With plenty more songs ready to roll, Hendricks is certain to be one of the breakout stars of the next 12 months.

I recently chatted with Joey to discuss his journey so far, talk about ‘Yours or Mine’ and find out more about signing to Sony Music Nashville…

Your single ‘Yours Or Mine’ is out now and it’s so catchy. What’s the story behind it?

It’s about the beginning stages of getting to know somebody. It’s a really simple idea. I wrote with my buddies, Michael Whitworth and Daniel Ross and it’s about the beginning stage of a relationship, and the back and forth of who’s gonna be the first one to call it what it is, and make it a real thing. It’s a cool thing because it doesn’t really let you in on whether it’s a getting to know each other song or breakup song. The last line of the chorus is ‘whose heart will take it harder when we say goodbye, yours or mine?’ It hints that it could have also been something that ended or it could just be morning after. It’s a cool song and it’s been one of my favorites that we’ve written in a long time. I’m excited about it.

This is your first single release since signing with Sony Music Nashville. Signing that record deal must have been a huge milestone for you?

Yeah, absolutely. It was kind of a shock because I originally had moved to Nashville to just solely focus on songwriting. In high school, I wanted to be an artist but that started to fade a little bit as I started getting more into the songwriting process. I was really intrigued by Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, and all these old guys that used to write songs here in Nashville. I became obsessed with the thought of moving to Nashville and really didn’t have drive to even pursue the artist thing, it kind of happened really naturally. Now that I’m in it, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I’m super fortunate and to have such a great team around me has been amazing.

What was the turning point when you knew you wanted to be an artist as well as a songwriter?

I think it was early on in the writing process after I signed my publishing deal. I was writing a bunch of songs and I couldn’t really imagine anybody else besides me singing them. It was weird. I had initially been writing to pitch songs for other artists to sing, and I started writing a bunch of songs that were just so me that I was like, ‘I don’t want to give these away’. That triggered something inside me and I thought, ‘maybe I should keep some of these for myself and work on that for a little bit’.

It’s crazy to me when you have a voice like yours that’s so strong and distinctive, that you’d even think twice about pursuing a career as a singer…

I think a lot of it is insecurity. I’ve always been a little bit on the shy side so the thought of being the one in the spotlight scared me a little bit. Then I realized I got to just get over it.

The reaction you’ve had to ‘Yours or Mine’ must be making you feel more confident too? It’s such an upbeat and positive song that’s perfect for these weird times we’re living in…

I appreciate that. Yeah, it’s been really cool. I’m starting from ground zero. I didn’t really have a fan base and didn’t really have any touring experience, and all of this COVID stuff happened. As unfortunate as it is, we put the song out, and it’s been doing surprisingly well. I’m just so proud that we put the song out. We have so many (songs) that are going to be coming that I’m even more excited about. I love ‘Yours or Mine’ but I’m excited to let people in on a little bit more of who I am as a person.

Joey Hendricks - Yours or Mine
Credit: Sony Music Nashville

You mentioned you have more songs ready to go. Are you working towards an EP or an album?

Right now it’s looking like just singles over the next few months and seeing where those lands. I grew up buying albums and that’s (what I want) at some point, I know the format’s changing so much and not as many people buy albums anymore, but I still feel like albums are like artist’s body of work and they’re like different chapters, and different periods of my life. Putting out an album at some point is definitely the end game for me, for sure.

What’s it been like launching as a new artist in the middle of a pandemic?

It’s been a whole new thing for everybody and new for me, everything is new for me. It sucks in a way because I want to be able to play ‘Yours or Mine’ or play any of the songs we’re going to be releasing live and hear the reaction from people. I feel like we’re all adapting, including myself, and even the songwriting process. It was a little shaky at first because we were doing a bunch of Zoom writes and it’s hard to capture that magic of co-writing in a room with other writers over Zoom, but as time’s gone on a little bit, I think I’ve gotten a little more comfortable with it. We’re actually starting to get really cool stuff out of it.

As you are such a new artist, you can’t be missing the touring side of your job yet as you hadn’t really gotten started yet but are you finding that having all this time to concentrate of honing your craft is actually helping your creativity?

There’s moments where I am fully just like, ‘I have lost it. I am never gonna write another song, I suck’ (laughs) and then there’s these really small windows of big bouts of creativity. The one thing I do like about Zoom is I get distracted so easily so when we when we were writing in person if one thing felt a little bit off, it was always, ‘let’s go get lunch or let’s go grab a beer’. Sometimes you wouldn’t end up finishing the song because with Zoom you’re forced to focus. There’s enough crap going on so you have to just focus on the song and try to get it the best you can with the tools that we have right now. I would say that my creativity has definitely gone up and down. I kinda like it because it’s given me a lot more time to think and to live life and experience things, whereas before it was very much so just like a nine to five. I’d wake up, go to my write and it’s hard to schedule creativity. You can’t really schedule it, you gotta just feel it. That part I do like about it.

With people being at home more and wanting to discover new music, has that worked to your advantage a little bit?

Yeah, I think that is definitely been a thing. Even for a lot of my friends who aren’t big on music or they’re not like actively seeking it out, I think during this time they have been seeking out music as a form of comfort. There’s just so much weirdness going on that music is a very tangible thing that everybody can relate to and we need. It’s so important. During all of this, it’s really showed me how important it actually is. It is a form of medicine, for sure. For me, as well, whether it’s me writing it or listening to it, it’s definitely been a massive help during all this. Because everybody has a lot of time to just sit with their thoughts, it’s been good for the streaming platforms as everybody’s seeking out stuff.

Your music would go down really well here in the UK. Would you like to tour internationally when you can?

100%. That’s a massive goal of mine. I grew up on rock and roll so a lot of my biggest influences are The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and a bunch of rock and roll bands. The UK has always been a big dream of mine.

I know it’s only September but I’m looking ahead to Christmas already and I’m wondering if we’ll get a Christmas song from you?

That’s interesting, actually. The label reached out and I had always been the person that was like, ‘I’m not gonna ever do a Christmas song or a Christmas album’. I was always taught that wasn’t rock and roll but then I just was like, ‘no, I’m a new artist. I got to play the game a little bit (laughs)’. I told them I’ll do one song and it’s got to be ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over) by John Lennon. We’re going to go in the studio and record a version of that and hopefully get it out here during the holidays, so it’ll be kind of fun.

That’s such a good choice. You could even change up the lyrics to mention the pandemic and it would be so relevant right now…

Right? I mean, honestly, that song is really relevant right now. I went back and listened to it. It’s a Christmas song but it’s a really, really strong thing for the times right now. I think it’ll fit perfectly.

Joey Hendricks’ debut single ‘Yours or Mine’ is available now. Watch the video for the song below:

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