Rising Country Artist Bryan Martin Talks About His Breakthrough Hit “We Ride,” His Album Poets & Old Souls, And Writing His Songs

Bryan Martin
Bryan Martin

In the past year, country singer/songwriter Bryan Martin has emerged as a talented artist to watch. Although he is 36 years old and he’s released three albums, it has been his new hit, “We Ride,” that has caught the attention of country fans and the music industry.

Martin is a prolific songwriter who has written about 3,000 songs, and he has a powerful, soulful singing voice. He has had many ups and downs in his life, and his songs and singing reflect the dramatic, wide-ranging experiences that he’s had.

Martin has gone from being a largely unknown artist, to having one of the biggest songs on the charts with “We Ride.” This single has had a very impressive run of 41 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, and it’s still moving up. This past week, “We Ride” is #16 and appears headed for the Top 10.

“We Ride” is included on Martin’s latest album, Poets & Old Souls (released in 2023 on the Average Joes Entertainment label). This album features several other unique, compelling songs such as “He Knows the Struggle,” “Things You Didn’t Make Time For” and “Never Coming Home.’

Martin was born in the small town of Logansport, Louisiana, where in addition to playing music, he became interested in bull riding and dirt track racing. Unfortunately, he broke his collarbone riding a bull, and developed an addiction to painkillers.

When he was 19, Martin decided to enlist in the U.S. Army, but he was discharged early. This devastating incident and other factors (such as his drug and alcohol use) led to Martin attempting to commit suicide. Fortunately, he recovered and soon met his wife, and they eventually had four children.

In the following years, Martin worked on an oil rig to make a living, but he still had a love for singing and writing songs. Nevertheless, it was a long journey to succeeding in the music business. He independently released his first album, It Was Easy (in 2019), and then released his second album, Self Inflicted Scars (in 2022) after he signed with the label, Average Joes Entertainment. Self Inflicted Scars contains some of Martin’s best songs, including “Beauty in the Struggle” and the title cut, “Self Inflicted Scars.”

Currently, Martin and his band have been touring steadily, opening for such major artists as Morgan Wallen, Eric Church, Jason Aldean and Lainey Wilson. He has already written many new songs for his next album project, which will be released later this year.

Here’s the video of Bryan Martin’s hit, “We Ride.”

We are pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Bryan Martin. He talks about his early struggles in life, and how he kept writing songs and gradually built his music career. He also discusses his hit “We Ride,” and the impact the song has had on his career and life.

DK: I read you’re from Logansport, Louisiana. How did you get started with singing and writing songs?

Bryan Martin: It all started when my mom would be singing when I was baby, and I kind of grew up with it. By the time I was 4, she was recording me—I didn’t give her consent (laughs) but she did it anyway. “Achy Breaky Heart” was the first song I sang. Then from age 6 to around 12, I liked singing George Strait songs, and I sang in churches and stuff like that.

When I was 13, I quit music and I was riding bulls, and I did dirt track racing. Then when I turned 18, I joined the military for a short stint. But I got sent home with an early discharge, and when I got back home from the military I felt like a failure. So I tried to take my own life. I took 30 Percosets and a fifth of Whiskey and put a gun to my head. But the gun misfired.

Then the next day, I ended up meeting the woman who would become the mother of my children, who is now my ex-wife. And I wrote my first song, and now I’ve written close to 3000 songs.

DK: After you met your wife, you took on job on an oil rig, and started to raise a family. When did you get involved with music again?

Martin: I’d lock myself in a room, and I’d write 5 or 10 songs in a week. And it’s been that way ever since. I think writing songs has been my healing process.
DK: In 2019 you released your first album, called It Was Easy. Did you release that album as an independent artist?

Martin: Yes sir. I was signed with a little Texas label. They sprung up out of nowhere and then they sprung down out of nowhere too (laughs). I funded everything myself; I’d been making my own merch. I learned how to do everything.

Here’s the audio of Bryan Martin’s song, “He Knows The Struggle.”

DK: I like your second album, Self Inflicted Scars, particularly your song “Beauty in the Struggle” and “Self Inflicted Scars.” Can you talk about writing that song?

Martin: After my divorce, I stayed in a camper that my daddy built behind his house. In the camper, I slept on the couch every night. I didn’t want to climb into that bed because I didn’t want to get too comfortable. And around that time when Covid hit, I’d be on the road sleeping in a van, and then I’d go home and sleep in the camper. But I wrote close to 800 songs in that camper, and almost every song you hear that blew up came from that camper.

“Beauty In The Struggle” came after I had lost everything. And I realized that I didn’t know how to say anything, unless I wrote it in a song. Then two days before my divorce was finalized, I was bad off. To be honest with you, I had another suicide attempt. I drank a bunch of fireballs and I wrecked my car in a cornfield. Then I walked 10 miles back and I found a tow truck driver. He said, “Hey, you need to see a doctor for the cut on your head,” and I said, “Man, I think I’ll be alright.”

But things got better and we’re doing it. Life is a struggle, but there’s beauty in it.

DK: Last year, you released your song “We Ride,” which has become a big hit for you. Can you tell the story behind writing this song?

Martin: About two years ago, I was just playing on a barstool for $400 a night. I decided to move to Tennessee, although I didn’t have the money to move my family there yet. My father-in-law had passed away and my mother-in-law was battling cancer, so I felt like there was a lot of weight on me. And there were a lot of people who were supposed to be betting on me, who were now betting against me.

Then I went home and I told my father that things weren’t going well. He said, “If you get 5 million streams a week on Spotify, I’ll give you that truck. And I said, “Where am I at now?” He said, “400,000 streams a week.” I said, “I need a truck, so I’ll take that deal.”

But when we put out “We Ride,” things turned around. Before that, it didn’t look like I could get a booking agent. But after “We Ride” hit, every booking agent lined up at my door, and I tripled my social media. When “We Ride” blew up, I ended up signing with booking agency WME (William Morris Endeavor), and man, it’s been a miracle ever since.

Here’s the audio of Bryan Martin’s song, “Never Coming Home.”

DK: “We Ride” is still moving up after 40 weeks on the Billboard charts. What do you think it is about this song, that has clicked with so many people?

Martin: Man, I don’t really know. To be completely honest with you, as a songwriter and storyteller, there are other songs I’ve written [that I feel more strongly about]. But I think “We Ride” has that perfect bounce to it. It’s a good, upbeat song, and it literally came out of me and my drummer, Vernon Brown. Vernon had never written a song before…he was sitting in the room with me and he chimed in a couple times. When we got done, I asked him “Hey man, what’s your BMI (music publishing information)?” And he said, “I ain’t no writer, I’m not signed with BMI. I didn’t do that much on the song… don’t worry about it.” But I said, “No I’ll set you up with a BMI account.” It was the first song and only song he wrote, and it went platinum (laughs).

DK: On your latest album, I like your song “He Knows the Struggle,” which has an interesting lyric story. What inspired you to write this song?

Martin: I wrote “He Knows the Struggle” with my good friend, Scott Sean White, I had half of it written and I put it on TikTok. Then Scott chimed in and said, “Man, I’d love to get in on this song with you.” And I said, “Okay.” He asked me about it, and I said, “You know, it’s the male version of “Beauty in the Struggle.” Because when I sing “Beauty in the Struggle” every night, I feel like that song came out of me because I’m able to talk about somebody else in that way, but I’m not able to talk about myself. So I wanted to say something in a song that would show people that I know the struggle too. And I wanted to show my side of it, so it’s not just one side of things. It’s that no matter what kind of relationship you’re going through, there’s always two sides of it. It’s meeting in the middle. It’s a tug of war sometimes, and sometimes the only way I know how to say it is in a song.

DK: I want to ask you about your live shows and tour. It looks like you’ve got a busy schedule for the next six months. Can you talk about your live show and your tour?

Martin: Man, we’re out with Chris Young tonight. Then we have a Morgan Wallen tour coming in June, and we’ll be on the road with Eric Church in Canada. There’s also a show with Jason Aldean coming up, and then I’ll be going to Australia to do some shows with Lainey Wilson.  It’s a lot (laughs).

Dale Kawashima is the Head of SongwriterUniverse and a music journalist. He’s also a music publishing exec who has represented the song catalogs of Michael Jackson, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Motown Records.
Dale Kawashima