Morgan Wallen who? Colt Graves is a name Owensboro should keep an eye on. The local singer-songwriter released his latest “Dirt on Me” single on Thursday, and it quickly rose to No. 13 on the iTunes country music chart. Graves was also featured on a billboard in Times Square, and there’s some hope for future collaboration with multi-platinum artist and producer Timbaland. Here’s a Q&A with the rising star, and how to listen to the song.
Graves, a Calhoun native who now resides in Owensboro, released his first single “Lonesome Roads” a year ago to the day of his newest hit. Read more about that song and how Graves’ music journey began here.
Speaking on “Dirt on Me,” Graves said the song has taken off on social media platforms, racking up hundreds of thousands of views on his promotional content. He said that helped fuel the release popularity, driving the single to reach No. 13 on the iTunes country chart and No. 24 among all genres on Thursday.
To stream or download the song across a variety of platforms, click here.
“This release marks the 1-year anniversary of my solo project and it is humbling to see the amount of support I have gotten the past 12 months, and I am proud of what my team has accomplished,” Graves said. “We are full-throttle and shooting for the stars here and I believe that our progress is a testament to the old saying that hard work pays off.”
Graves answered several questions about his new song, its reception, and what’s next for the artist.
Did you write “Dirt on Me” alone?
No, this song was actually co-written by me and some of the best guys I know: Jordan Centers, Alan Richeson, and Adam Scott.
What is the meaning behind the song?
“Dirt on Me” is for the people living true to themselves, regardless of what anyone else has to say about it. The expression “throwin’ dirt” is associated with gossip, talking poorly about someone when they’re not around, and for lack of a better term, being a hater for no good reason.
I think the best thing we can do to keep our peace is just ignore what everyone else has to say and stay in our lane. If you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one, and it still comes at the cost of your own mental health.
How many songs have you released now and what has the reception been to those?
“Dirt on Me” is the fifth song that I have released in the past 12 months. We have steadily been growing the streaming and sales numbers with each release. I think that best performing song besides the new one would be “Lonesome Roads.” Everyone seems to love that one.
Based on those songs, what were your expectations with the release of this one?
“Dirt on Me” has already blown away my expectations after day one. My team was expecting a more gradual increase in sales and streaming figures, but the internet did its thing and now this guy from Owensboro, Kentucky, has a song charting with the best in the business. People don’t really understand how difficult it can be for an independent artist to compete against these massive labels with infinite money to spend on marketing. I would have been blown away by a top 100, but to make it to No. 13 is absolutely incredible and I owe it all to the supporters I have, both locally and online.
What is the expectation/hope now that you’ve had such success on day one?
Any artists’ goal is to make it to the Billboard charts. It is like a right of passage and the ultimate achievement for an artist. I think that is now my goal, and I really think we can make it happen. We will track the sales and streams over the next week and continue our marketing and PR push to try to get us across the finish line.
What is the connection to Timbaland, and what may be in store between you two?
Timbaland runs a TikTok channel with close to a million followers where he reviews independent music. They randomly select songs based on what has been submitted to them. My song made the cut, and believe it or not, he had nothing but positive things to say about my music. Most importantly, he said he believed in me and that he knew I was going to make it. Since then, my management team has been in communication with him regarding collaboration on future songs.
The artwork for your single was on a Times Square billboard. What did it mean to actually see it up there?
The billboard was a surprise courtesy of our promotion agency. I’m not sure exactly how that was facilitated or the logistics, but being featured on a billboard in Times Square was an absolutely surreal experience for a Kentucky boy like me. I’m not going to lie, it feels really good to see your art on that big of a screen in front of that many people.
Will there be a music video for the new single?
We are currently in pre-production on the music video, which will be shot by local talent and use local actors. I’ve become sort of known for having unique and high-quality music videos, so the pressure is on to make sure we deliver that. The new video is narrative based and will provide more details into the story behind the song.
On a more general level, what has the last year been like?
The past year has been a journey. I have built an incredible team from the songwriters I mentioned above, to Jake Parshall who records my music, Taylor Graves who handles my video content and photos, and my manager Christian Potts who does my marketing and PR. I think we have developed the secret recipe for creating a buzz and promoting my music.
What are your future goals?
My main goal is to grow my streams and sales to a level that will allow me to spend more of my time creating music and playing shows. We are prioritizing our live sound this year so that we can get out there and share my music across the US.
Are you performing live anytime soon?
I will be playing with my full band at PorchFest on June 10, and I encourage everyone to come support that event and stop by my stage for a little bit. We will have merch for sale and I will be playing some top-secret songs from my upcoming releases.
Anything else about the song or your career you want to add?
I just want to thank every single person that has ever liked one of my posts, listened to a song, or told a friend about my music. This community has been so supportive of my dreams and I couldn’t have done any of this without the people of the tri-state area walking alongside me.