As he watches Josh Turner’s “Why Don’t We Just Dance” — a song he co-wrote — race up the charts, singer/songwriter Jonathan Singleton says he can’t help but feel a little pressure to focus more on the songwriter part of his career than the singer part.
“Every time I get a new cut I’m like, ‘What am I doing? Why am I killing myself and staying up late and getting up early?’” Jonathan said during an interview before a St. Jude’s fundraiser in Virginia. “Especially when it’s not going as good as you think it should be …”
The songwriting is going great. In addition to the top-10 (and climbing) hit for Josh Turner, he wrote the top-10 hits “Red Light” for David Nail and “Don’t” for Billy Currington. His first songwriting success came with Gary Allan’s “Watching Airplanes,” which went to number 2 on the Billboard Country Chart.
Jonathan remembers hearing that song on the radio for the first time. “One day me and a co-writer got in my car and ‘Watching Airplanes’ was on the radio real loud, and I still thought it was me singing. It took a minute. It came on and I thought, ‘Oh, turn me off.’ But no, it was Gary Allen. Turn it back up!’”
He says hearing another artist perform his music is interesting but odd. “It’s a totally different thing than hearing our stuff on the radio, which we hear a lot less than we hear the first,” he says with a chuckle. “And we’re working on that,” he adds, never getting to far away from the performer half of his double life.
“My end game is to write songs and keep writing songs. I love it so much that I want to do it forever,” he explains. But don’t worry, Jonathan Singleton and the Grove fans – he’s not even close to hanging up his guitar and microphone to settle down on 16th Avenue, Nashville’s songwriters’ row.
“There’s a short window to do the artist thing. I’m focused in on that right now,” he explains. “But I’m still taking as much time as I can to write,” he adds, always trying keep his two loves – performing and songwriting – as close to balanced as possible.
He’s also having too much fun with the band of brothers who make up the Grove, some of whom he’s known and played with for 10, even 15 years. Their current single, “Look Who’s Back in Love,” is in the top-50 and they have a three-song EP on iTunes. A new CD should be released this spring on the new Show Dog-Universal South label, headed by Toby Keith.
And Jonathan Singleton and the Grove are gearing up for one of this summer’s hottest tours: Country Throwdown, a gig they got in a rather unusual manner. He was at a party at a friend’s house and their new neighbors happened to be the people organizing the tour. “I met them in a parking lot in Nashville drinking beers,” he says with a laugh. They were invited to join the tour a few weeks later, one of the first acts signed up.
Jonathan doesn’t even try to hide his excitement over Country Throwdown. “I can’t wait for it,” he says, quickly listing several of the bands he’ll be playing with: Montgomery Gentry, Little Big Town, Jamey Johnson, Eric Church, Jack Ingram – all artists he admires and respects. “I think it’s going to be awesome.”
Jonathan says right now he’s content with being able to combine his love of songwriting with the joy he gets from performing with the Grove, although he admits he does something wonder “when it’s going to finally stop. I hope maybe it won’t? Who knows?”
Learn more about Jonathan Singleton and the Grove and get a free download of their new single “Look Who’s Back in Love” at www.jonathansingletonandthegrove.com.
Watch Jonathan Singleton and the Grove sing “Red Light” with David Nail at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5BCvpqB99E.