In just the past three years, Ray Fulcher has emerged as a hit country songwriter who is known for co-writing many songs with country music’s hottest artist, Luke Combs. Impressively, he co-wrote eight songs on Combs’ multi-platinum album This One’s for You, plus three more songs for Comb’s recent EP, The Prequel. He also co-wrote the number one hit, “When It Rains It Pours.”
When Fulcher met Combs in 2014 and they began collaborating, Combs was an unknown artist whose career was just beginning. Little did they know at the time, that the songs they wrote together would be on an album that would become one of the most successful country albums in recent memory. This One’s for You has spent a massive 44 weeks at number one on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, and it’s still going strong.
In addition to “When It Rains It Pours,” Fulcher co-wrote the following songs on Combs’ album: the title cut “This One’s for You,” “Out There,” “Memories Are Made Of,” “Beer Can,” “Be Careful What You Wish For,” “I Got Away with You” and “Honky Tonk Highway.”
For Combs’ new EP The Prequel, Fulcher also co-wrote the songs “Even Though I’m Leaving,” “Lovin’ On You” and “Moon Over Mexico.” Notably, each of these songs entered Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart the week after The Prequel was released.
Alongside his success with Combs, Fulcher is building a reputation as a talented artist. In May, he released his new EP, Somebody Like Me. This EP features six songs (including the lead track “Anything Like You Dance”) and was produced by top Nashville writer/producer, Jonathan Singleton. Fulcher previously released the EPs Turn It Up (in 2013) and Here We Go Again (2016).
Born and raised in the small town of Harlem, Georgia, Fulcher attended college at University of Georgia and later moved to Nashville. He signed a music publishing deal with River House Publishing in 2016.
As an artist, Fulcher has been an opening act on tours for Luke Combs and Morgan Wallen. Currently, he is playing a number of shows as a headliner in Tennessee, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon and other states.
We are pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Ray Fulcher. He tells how he got started with music, how he wrote songs with Luke Combs, and he discusses his artist career.
Here’s the video of Luke Combs’ hit “When It Rains It Pours,”
which was co-written by Ray Fulcher.
DK: I read that you’re from a small town called Harlem, in Georgia. How did you get started as an artist and songwriter?
Ray Fulcher: When I was growing up, I didn’t play [instruments] yet, although I loved all different kinds of music. Then when I was in college, at the University of Georgia in Athens, I would go to see shows at the Georgia Theatre in Athens.
One night, I saw Eric Church play there. During his show, he sent his band offstage and played a couple songs acoustic. And I just remember how those songs hit me—it was like…Wow, I’ve gotta learn to do that. I started to play guitar, and after that I thought…if I’m going to play (music) then I might as well write songs, too. This was back in 2007…my journey started about 12 years ago.
DK: Was it during college that you started writing & recording your songs?
Fulcher: Actually, I didn’t record any songs until I graduated…I started playing at the end of my senior year. I played my first 10 shows in Athens, and then I moved home and started writing more then. It was about three years after college, that I moved to Nashville in 2014.
DK: You’ve had great success writing with Luke Combs. When did you meet him?
Fulcher: I met Luke in 2014. I’d moved to Nashville in May 2014, and Luke moved there in September 2014. We just randomly met one night—he was with his group of friends and I was with my group of friends. We met and just started talking, and we hit it off. Both of us loved Eric Church, so we became friends and we’d hang out. Then we were like, “Hey, why don’t we try to write some songs.” And so we did, and the first song we wrote was “Beer Can.” Then we started writing together every Tuesday, for about a year-and-a-half. Luckily, a lot of those songs have been recorded by him, and some by me. That’s how we started, and how those songs came to be. We liked hanging around each other, and we got together to write every week.
DK: Besides “Beer Can,” what were some of the early songs you wrote with Luke?
Here’s the audio of Ray Fulcher’s new single, “Anything Like
Fulcher: The other songs that we wrote early on were “Out There,” “Memories Are Made Of” and “This One’s for You.” These songs were written about two years before Luke’s album came out. And then the other four songs (“When It Rains It Pours,” “Be Careful What You Wish For,” “I Got Away with You” and “Honky Tonk Highway”) were written closer to the album’s release.
DK: You wrote “When It Rains It Pours” with Luke, which became a number one hit. How did you, Luke and Jordan Walker write this song?
Fulcher: Well, I remember we came in that day, and Luke had the title, “When It Rains It Pours.” At first glance, when he said the title, we said, “Okay, that’s going to be a sad song, like when it rains it pours…something bad happens, and it snowballs on itself.” But then I remember Jordan saying, “Man, I cannot take [writing] another sad song. What if we took that phrase and totally flipped it on its head? We could say…it might seem on the surface that a bad thing happened (a break-up), but then all of a sudden it leads to long new streak of good luck. And by the end we realize that breaking up was a blessing in disguise. So we just turned the phrase on its head and luckily it worked.
DK: Luke Combs has just released a new EP called The Prequel, and you co-wrote three songs on this EP. Are these songs that you wrote more recently?
Fulcher: We wrote one of the songs, “Even Though I’m Leaving,” about three years ago. That was written before Luke’s first record, but they heard that song and said, “We think it’s special…we want to hold onto this for record two.” And then the other two songs, “Lovin’ On You” and “Moon Over Mexico,” were more recent.
DK: Early on with Luke, when you were hanging out and starting to write songs, could you imagine that you’d end up with eight songs on the biggest country album of the year?
Fulcher: There was no way of even dreaming that big—it just seemed like a pipedream at the time. But what we did say was, “Hey, let’s not worry about what everybody else is doing or how they’re doing it. Let’s just write some songs that we would like to listen to, that we can be proud of, and let the chips fall where they may.” And luckily and thankfully, they fell in a good spot.
Here’s the video of Luke Combs’ song “Lovin’ On You,” which
was co-written by Ray Fulcher.
DK: Besides writing with Luke Combs, have you also written with other artists in Nashville?
Fulcher: Yes I have, especially with a lot of up-and-coming ones. I’ve also got a bunch of songs that are on hold for bigger artists, so hopefully you’ll see a lot of cuts coming out on both the up-and-coming and bigger artists.
DK: You recently released your own EP, Somebody Like Me, and I noticed it was produced by (hit writer/producer), Jonathan Singleton. Can you talk about your new EP?
Fulcher: The new EP has six songs on it, and I really wanted to take the listener from track one to track six and say…Hey, all these songs are different, but they’re a different layer of who I am as an artist and writer. I wanted it to almost be a biography through song, saying, “This is who I am…this is some of the things I’m trying to say. It’s not all that I have to say, but this is genuinely me.” And I was excited to work with Jonathan Singleton on it. Jonathan co-wrote one of the songs with me, called “Anything Like You Dance,” and he produced the whole EP.
DK: You’ve been working on both your artist career, and as a songwriter who writes for other artists. Do you see yourself more as an artist, or as a songwriter for other artists?
Fulcher: Right now, I’m kind of living the half-and-half life. But I did come to Nashville to be an artist, and that’s really my ultimate goal. And we’re getting closer to that. I just think that I also have a love for songwriting (for other artists), although it doesn’t leave me much time for a life outside of music (laughs). But I love doing both of them.
I’m just excited to continue to put stuff out, on both the artist side and the writing side. And what I try to do, is hopefully write songs that really speak to people and move them in some way. If I can do that and it comes across, then I’ve done my job.