For the past five years, Corey Crowder has been a top Nashville songwriter & producer, who has co-written several country hits for Chris Young, including the number one hits “I’m Comin’ Over” and “Think Of You” (feat. Cassadee Pope). He also works closely with popular duo Florida Georgia Line, and he co-wrote their current hit, “I Love My Country.”
While Crowder continues to co-write & produce hits for other artists, he is now re-launching his career as an artist. Prior to having success as a pro songwriter, Crowder was a singer/songwriter who released three albums, and he signed a label deal in Nashville.
Currently, Crowder has released his terrific new single “My Poor Mama,” on Round Here Records, which is a label founded by Tyler Hubbard & Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line. This song is Crowder’s humorous, affectionate tribute to his mother, and he recalls the funny things he put her through when he was growing up. Hubbard & Kelley liked this song, and they encouraged Crowder to release it on their label. As a result, this single is the first of several songs that Crowder will be releasing.
The release of “My Poor Mama” showcases the artist side of what is a multidimensional career for Crowder, which also includes songwriting and producing. Besides co-writing the Chris Young and Florida Georgia Line hits mentioned above, he co-wrote two more hits for Young (“Hangin’ On” and “Drowning”) plus a hit for the duo, LoCash (“One Big Country Song”).
Impressively, Crowder has also become a top-tier record producer. He and Chris Young produced all the songs on Young’s last three albums: I’m Comin’ Over, It Must Be Christmas and Losing Sleep. He also produced “I Love My Country” with Florida Georgia Line, and his production credits include Chris Tomlin, RaeLynn and Cassadee Pope.
We are pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Corey Crowder. He tells the story behind his new single “My Poor Mama,” and he discusses his hit collaborations with Chris Young and Florida Georgia Line.
Here’s the audio of Corey Crowder’s new single, “My Poor Mama.”
DK: I read that you’re from Georgia, and you moved to Nashville in 2010. How did you get started as an artist & songwriter?
Corey Crowder: I just wrote my own songs and I toured as an artist, and back then I didn’t know that songwriting was really a career…I didn’t know about the whole Music Row thing. I’d always assumed that if you’re an artist, you wrote your songs. Then as I started to come to Nashville and I signed a record deal as an artist, I realized there’s a whole other world here with songwriting. And I fell in love with that part of the business. Then as my artist career dwindled, being on the road all the time and trying to make it as the next big thing, I shifted my gears to the behind-the-scenes work that I fell in love with.
DK: As a songwriter, what was your first big break?
Crowder: I think my first cut was with Kenny Rogers, and it was a morale boost for me as a songwriter, because I had written hundred of songs at that point and it gave me a lift to get a cut with Kenny. But I’d say that my really big break was working with Chris Young.
I met Chris through a mutual friend, and we started co-writing about six years ago. We hit it off immediately, and it was just really easy. We tended to write fast, and we had this chemistry in the room. I’ve been super lucky to have some hits with him as a writer, and a good many of them as a producer. When Chris asked me to produce his record, that was a big break as far as shifting the way that Music Row viewed me, which for a while was as an artist and singer. So it shifted the perception of me as a songwriter and as a producer.
DK: How did you get into producing, to go along with being a songwriter?
Crowder: Well, it all came through songwriting. I had always produced a lot of my own music just out of necessity. I couldn’t afford to pay a producer when I was young, so I produced all my own music. I’ve always been really good with computers, so it didn’t take me long to figure it out.
Here’s the video of Florida Georgia Line’s hit “I Love My Country,”
which was co-written by Corey Crowder
When I came to Nashville, I was making demos as a songwriter. I would demo a song every day, and when you write with an artist and they like the way the demo sounds, a lot of times they’ll make the demo the actual master; they just upgrade it. And that’s what started happening to me over the years. I’d write with an artist, and they’d start to fall in love with the way my demos sounded, and that turned into me making the record a lot of times. So production wasn’t really a thing I decided to do…I just slowly picked it up over the years. And I’ve fallen in love with the process, and the more projects I do, the more happy I am with the results.
DK: Do you have a studio at your place, where artists and co-writers come to your place and you cut demos & records at the studio?
Crowder: That’s right. The Florida Georgia Line guys own a publishing company called Tree Vibez Music, and I’m signed to that publishing company. The main studio there at Tree Vibez is where I live on most days (laughs). It’s a great little spot, and I do 90% of the stuff out of there.
DK: As a producer, what’s it been like for you during the Coronavirus shutdown? Are you writing via Zoom? Do you still get to go in the studio or are you at home?
Crowder: Well, I’ve had to be respectful, because most people aren’t wanting to meet up, including me. So I’ve done the Zoom thing, and it’s worked pretty good. I really enjoyed it, and I had a Zoom writing session this morning. But it obviously makes the process a little different. It’s a little slower, because you’re having to write, and then do the demo completely from scratch afterwards. But as far as production, I feel like I’ve been busier during this quarantine than I was before. I’ve been making the Florida Georgia Line record, I’ve been making a record with Chris Tomlin, and I’ve been making some new RaeLynn music. So we’ve done all that during quarantine, which has been cool, because it’s a different way of cutting. We’re doing it all remotely. I’m tracking a lot at my studio, and then I’m sending it around to different session players that have studios at home and are able to track. It’s been really effective…it’s actually sounding the same as if we had done it normal.
Here’s the video of Chris Young’s #1 hit “I’m Comin’ Over,”
which was co-written by Corey Crowder.
DK: You recently released your new single, “My Poor Mama.” How did you decide on being an artist again?
Crowder: Tyler (Hubbard), Brian (Kelley) and I were talking, and they’d been making comments like, “Man, I don’t know why you don’t put your songs out. You have so many songs that nobody ever records that are favorites of ours. [You should] give these songs some life (as an artist).” I have a whole pile of songs that were almost recorded. So I’ve decided to put it out and for people to hear my voice, and to give some of these songs a life that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
DK: “My Poor Mama” is a very unique title. Was your own mother an inspiration for this song?
Crowder: Well, all of our moms were. You know, Jordan Schmidt, one of the guys I wrote this song with, he had this title and we were down at Grayton Beach (in Florida). We have a tour bus that we take on the road with different artists, and we write songs and there’s a studio in the front and the back. We were on the bus, and Jaren Johnston—he’s the singer in the band, The Cadillac Three—he came over and wrote with me, Jordan and James McNair.
Jaron had arrived about 10 minutes late, and we were already talking about this song. And when Jordan said the title “My Poor Mama,” I just started laughing, and I immediately looked at him like, “Oh Man, if saving my ass was worth a million dollars, then nobody would be richer than my poor mama.” We were laughing, and when you get a hook like that, we knew it was gonna be a fun one. So when Jaron got there we were off to the races, and we all weaved in stories from our childhood, and the times we drove our moms crazy (laughs).
DK: Besides your single, are you writing and recording more songs as an artist? Will you be releasing an EP?
Crowder: I haven’t thought about an EP, but I’m definitely putting more music out. I’m going to put songs out as I feel pumped about, just like this one.
DK: You mentioned that you work with Tyler Hubbard & Brian Kelley from Florida Georgia Line, and you co-wrote their current hit, “I Love My Country.” How did you co-write that song?
Here’s the video of Chris Young’s #1 hit “Think of You” (feat.
Cassadee Pope), which was co-written by Corey Crowder.
Crowder: That was a title I came up with in the shower (laughs). Sometimes, God gives you those gifts in the morning, and I try to take time and prayer and thought in the morning, just to prep my headspace. So I had the title, and when you hear it, you usually think about our country. But I thought it’d be a cool to flip that on it’s head, and talk about how much you love country music and country things and your country as well. So we had that idea for a couple years and we’ve always loved it, and I was very excited when Tyler & Brian said they wanted to record that one.
DK: Thanks Corey for doing this interview. When this shutdown finally ends and artists can play live and tour again, will you be doing some live shows as an artist?
Crowder: I would love to. What I’ve been doing is the songwriter gig, where I play a few different listening rooms. But I would love to [play shows on the road]. I think it would be fun, especially since I go out and I write with artists on the road. It would be fun to just pop up and open one of the shows every now and then.