Rising Country Artist Shane Profitt Talks About His Debut Hit “How It Oughta Be,” His EP, And His Collaborations With Chris Janson
Young country singer/songwriter Shane Profitt is currently enjoying breakthrough success with his single, “How It Oughta Be.” Just 22 years old, Profitt has his first hit on the Billboard country chart, and he’s released his EP called Maury County Line (named after the county he grew up in). And impressively, he has a powerful singing voice that blends a classic country sound with Southern soul.
Things have been moving quickly for Profitt, who is from Columbia, Tennessee. Just a year ago, he had a full-time job working outdoors for the city of Columbia. But in the past year, he met and began writing songs with country star Chris Janson, and he subsequently signed a music publishing deal with Janson’s company. He has also signed as an artist with prominent Nashville label Big Machine Records & Harpeth 60 Records (Chris Janson’s label).
Profitt’s EP, Maury County Line, contains his hit “How It Oughta Be” plus two other songs: the uptempo, earnest “Guys Like Me” (written with Janson & Reid Isbell), and the fun, rollicking “Better Off Fishin’.” In addition, Profitt has just released another song called “Country Boys.”
Interestingly, Profitt met Janson at a restaurant near Nashville, and soon after they discussed writing songs together. Profitt ended up writing two songs with Janson (“The Reel Bass Pro” and “My American World”) for the star’s latest album, All In. Profitt has also gone on tour with Janson as his opening act.
One of the shows that Profitt opened for Janson was at the famed Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Two music execs from Big Machine Records (CE0 Scott Borchetta and SVP of A&R Julian Raymond) attended this show, and were impressed by Profitt’s performance and offered him a label deal.
Currently, Profitt is writing & recording songs for an eventual album release. Also, he’s looking forward to touring steadily in 2023, where he’ll be playing festivals, plus headlining and opening shows.
Here’s the video of Shane Profitt’s hit, “How It Oughta Be.”
We are pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Shane Profitt. He tells how he got started singing and writing songs, how he wrote his hit “How It Oughta Be”, and how he’s proud of his close family ties and his hometown roots.
DK: I read that you’re from Columbia, Tennessee. How did you get started with music and writing songs?
Shane Profitt: When I was 8, I played a little banjo. Then when I was 12, I experimented with dobro, because my parents were in a bluegrass band. But it wasn’t until I was 18 that I started playing guitar. My granddad taught me three chords on the guitar—G, C and D—so I could play Hank Williams Jr. songs. Then I started to use YouTube to teach me how to play other songs…YouTube was my best friend (laughs). You can look up any song and there’ll be somebody teaching you how to play it.
Then a year-and-a-half later, I started writing songs. I sat down with two guys and we wrote a song called “Gone Before Goodbye,” and since then I’ve used songwriting as a way to express what I’m feeling. That’s because I’ve never been a guy who’ll tell you truly what’s on my mind all the time. So I used songwriting as my therapy.
DK: One of the reasons I like your music is your singing voice, which has a strong, soulful quality. Your voice reminds me a little of Luke Combs, which I mean as a compliment.
Profitt: I take that as a huge compliment—he’s a great singer & artist. Thank you very much. I’ve got to say though, I think I’m a little better looking than Luke (laughs).
DK: I read that you work closely with Chris Janson, and you’ve signed a music publishing deal with him. How did you connect with Chris and start working together?
Profitt: I met Chris Janson at a sushi restaurant in Franklin, Tennessee (near Nashville). I was on a first date with a girl, and she wanted to eat sushi. When we got to the restaurant and walk in, it was Chris Janson who was holding the door for us.
Here’s the lyric video of Shane Profitt’s song, “Guys Like Me.”
At that time, I’d been to seven concerts my whole life, and five were to see Chris Janson perform. So I immediately knew that it was Chris, but I was starstruck at first so I didn’t say anything. But I wanted to introduce myself, because I was writing songs at this time. So I decided to go up to his table and introduce myself. I told him, “I write songs, and it would mean the world to me if you would listen to some of the songs.” But before he could say anything, his wife Kelly spoke up. She said, “Hi I’m Kelly, I’m Chris’ wife and I’m also his manager and a music publisher. You can send me some songs. I can write my email down for you.” I said, “Yes Ma’am, that’d be great.” And then we sat there and talked for over an hour that night.
Then a week later, Chris called me to write a song with him. It was 9 a.m. and I was working for the city, cutting grass with my tractor. Chris asked, “What you got goin’ on today?” I said, “Well it’s Wednesday morning. I’m at work like most people.” He said, “I have this song idea. I know you’re a big outdoorsman like me. I have this song idea called “Reel Bass Pro” and I want you to be a writer on it. Can you take off work and write today?” I called my boss and he said, “No.” But I knew I had my lunch break at 11 a.m., so I called Chris back and asked if we could write over FaceTime for an hour. He said, “Yeah, I’ll do that with you.” So he told me the song idea and the feel he wanted the song to go.
I wrote a chorus to his song “Reel Bass Pro,” so when he called at 11 a.m. I had something to bring to the table. When 11 a.m. came, I parked underneath a tree in the shade and played him the chorus idea I had. And that’s the chorus you hear now on “Reel Bass Pro,” which is on Chris’ latest album.
DK: When did Chris offer you a publishing deal?
Profitt: A week after we wrote “Reel Bass Pro,” Chris offered me a publishing deal. He also invited me to open for him on his Halfway to Crazy tour. And while we were on tour, that’s when the record deal came about. We were almost done with the tour, and while on the road I was writing as much as I could. Then I sent Chris the songs, and when he heard them he said, “We’ve gotta get you a record deal with these songs.” So we went in for a meeting at Big Machine, and I played them some demos and it went really well.
Here’s the lyric video of Shane Profitt’s song, “Better Off Fishin’.”
The next night, I was opening for Chris at his sold-out show at the Ryman Auditorium, and (Big Machine execs) Scott Borchetta and Julian Raymond wanted to come to the Ryman and see me live. And I got two standing ovations, and then Scott Borchetta came backstage and he stuck out his hand and said, “Welcome to the Machine Team.”
DK: I like your current hit, “How It Oughta Be.” Can you tell the story behind writing this song?
Profitt: On “How It Oughta Be,” I’m a firm believer that everything starts at home. In the chorus it says, “The world oughta try a piece of Mama’s chicken, and feel the love around her tabletop in the kitchen.” And I’m a firm believer that there’s a difference between a house and a home, and my parents raised me in a home. What I mean is, my mom would cook supper about 90% of the time growing up, and my parents always thought that it was important that we sit down as a family and have supper every night. And I can’t help but think that if everybody in today’s world had a little more of that family life, and ate supper as a family, prayed as a family, and did more family things, the world that we live in wouldn’t be so crazy. And that’s where the song came from. With all the craziness going on in the world, I used “How It Oughta Be” as a voice for how I thought things should be.
DK: I also like your song “Guys Like Me,” which you wrote with Chris Janson. How did you and Chris write this song?
Profitt: We sat down—it was me, Chris and Reid Isbell—and we wrote that song in less than two hours. It was one of those things where you just sit down, you have this idea, and it seemed like everything that came out of our mouth’s was spot on. You don’t have those days very often, but when you do it’s awesome. I wanted to capitalize on what I was doing less than a year ago, working full-time. My job was mowing grass in the median (of roads), so I know what that blue-collar life is like. I wanted a song for the blue-collar men and women, because they’re the ones who make the world go round. That’s what “Guys Like Me” is about.
DK: You named your EP Maury County Line, which is the county you’re from. Why did you decide to name your EP after Maury County?
Here’s the lyric video of Shane Profitt’s song, “Country Boys.”
Profitt: After I signed my deal and I went on tour with Chris, with everything happening fast, everybody said, “Don’t ever forget where you came from.” And I think that’s very important, so I wanted to name the EP after where I was born, where I was raised and live, because I think it’s important to never forget where you came from.
DK: You’ve released your first EP. Are you currently working on another EP, or a full album?
Profitt: I have a new single called “Country Boys” that I’m excited about. And I’m working on an album coming out sooner than later, although there’s no date yet.
DK: I want to ask you about your live shows. Can you talk about your upcoming shows and tour?
Profitt: I do have quite a few upcoming shows. I know 2023 is going to be non-stop, which I’m looking forward to. I’m excited to get to see all these new faces that I haven’t gotten to see before, and the ones I have seen before. And I want to grow my fanbase because until I started traveling with Chris, and going on a radio tour, I had only been to four states. And now I’m up to 43.
Next year will be a steady mix of festival shows, plus opening and headline shows. It’s going to be fun because my thing is, when people come to my concert, I want them to have a great time…to leave whatever they have goin’ on at home, and to enjoy the hour that I’m up onstage.