Parker McCollum had a monster year. After topping the Billboard Country Airplay chart with “Pretty Heart” during the last week of 2020, the Texas native rolled into 2021 with some serious momentum. Parker made his Grand Ole Opry debut in February, dropped his major-label debut album in July, and recently released an NFT (that’s a “non-fungible token” for all of you non-Gen Zers).
In addition, Parker’s new single, “To Be Loved By You,” is creeping toward the Top 10 on the Airplay chart (currently No. 12). Outsider caught up to Parker McCollum to ask him 5 Questions about his Opry debut, Texas BBQ, plans in 2022, and more.
1. What was it like stepping on that Opry circle for the first time?
Parker McCollum: Man, that was super special. My whole family got to be there for it, which was super cool. I miss most everything being on the road as much as I am, so the fact that they were able to make that was cool. But man, the Opry was something that I’d always kind of had in the back of my mind of, “What do you have to do to get to play that? When do you qualify to play the Grand Ole Opry?” And so was kind of thinking about it a lot more than usual when I got the call that we were going to get the debut there, so getting to step in that circle and actually do it and sing some songs I had written was . . . I mean, I’ll just never forget. It was so cool.
2. Six months after releasing your major-label debut album, Gold Chain Cowboy, have you been able to take a deep breath and relax?
Parker McCollum: I bought this house I’m living in right now in April. I think I’ve slept here 25 nights since April, so there hasn’t been a whole lot of that sit back and smell the roses or anything like that yet. Which is, I guess, kind of what I’m doing right now during the holidays. But man, it’s just been crazy. Last year was so much uncertainty with the world shutting down. And kind of right when I was finally really getting my big shot and I didn’t know how things were going to end up. I was like, “Maybe we just missed everything we ever worked for,” so to come back and have the year like we’ve had, I just . . . I sleep a lot better at night towards the end of this year than I did at the beginning.
3. What do you have in store for us in 2022?
Parker McCollum: Man, we’ll probably play 140 shows next year. I’m writing right now, trying to put this new album together. I got no idea when that will come to some sort of resolution and be ready to be put out. But it’s a lot, man. This is the busiest I’ve ever been in my entire life. The grind is incredibly real, but man, it’s so much better than pouring concrete or selling cars. It’s easy to work hard when you love what you do, right? You never work a day of your life. So I’m kind of living that quote day in and day out right now.
4. Best BBQ in Texas?
Parker McCollum: Terry Black’s Barbecue on Barton Springs Road in Austin, Texas, just south of the river, man. You cannot beat the moist brisket. It is phenomenal. Yeah, I lived probably, I don’t know, a thousand yards from Terry Black’s for the last three or four years before I moved to Nashville. And man, I ate there probably a thousand times in the time that I lived there. My dad still lives in Austin, every time I go home, like for Thanksgiving, we have Terry Black’s cater for us.
When it comes to pickin’ the best BBQ joint in the country @ParkerMcCollum has zero second guesses.— Outsider (@outsider) December 27, 2021
It’s @TerryBlacks_BBQ and only @TerryBlacks_BBQ. pic.twitter.com/V29PSsTFpr
5. John Mayer as an influence?
Parker McCollum: Yeah, I always say he’s top two all-time for me, it’s him and George Strait. I feel like his guitar playing gets so much credit and his musicianship gets so much credit, but his songwriting, I’m not sure gets near the credit that it deserves. He’s never cut a cheesy song, he’s never cut a funny song, which is really big for me. I really don’t enjoy those songs and I don’t write them well or have any desire to write songs like that. But you know what Mayer does really well? He’s extremely vulnerable in his songwriting and he’s incredibly detailed, and it seems to me, I don’t know him at all, but it seems to me like he’s a bit of a perfectionist from a songwriting standpoint, even like this last record, Sob Rock, I just haven’t been able to quit listening to it. It’s so real and it’s so honest. I mean, the songs are so relatable. Every song is something everybody’s felt at some point in their life.