Colter Wall’s Manager Dispels Country Music Myth You Have to Live in Nashville

by Allison Hambrick
performs onstage during 2018 Stagecoach California's Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Field on April 29, 2018 in Indio, California.

Travis Blankenship, Colter Wall’s manager, opened up about whether or not living in Nashville makes or breaks a country music career.

At a Glance

  • Colter Wall’s manager discusses the importance of location in navigating a music career.
  • He also opens up about joining the music industry after a career as a professor,

Colter Wall’s Manager Talks Nashville

Blankenship revealed that location may not be as essential to a country music career as previously thought. While he saw merit in being closer to music’s center of industry, he felt that doesn’t mean you can’t live elsewhere.

“People think you gotta go to Nashville to make it,” Blankenship told Vice. “I mean, if you want to be a songwriter, it might be helpful to go to Nashville so you can write songs with other people. If you want to create little pieces of candy in a factory; you’re gonna have to get a job working at a candy factory, you know? Do you want to work at a song factory? That’s what people really should ask themselves. I don’t work with a single artist that lives in Nashville, by the way. “

The most essential part of becoming a musician is to put yourself out there. Location can help, but you have to do the work to get your foot in the door.

How Blankenship Got the Gig

Additionally, the former professor brought up how he transitioned into being a country music manager. According to Blankenship, it evolved naturally. He went for hanging out with Wall as friends and helping him with gigs. Then, eventually, the latter asked him if he’d be willing to help him full time.

“My foray into the music business starts with my introduction with Colter Wall and being Colter’s friend, and really just hanging out with him for a while,” said Blankenship. “And then, when I would go to shows with him, I would just try to be helpful. And one day he and I were hanging out, and he was like, ‘You know all that stuff you do when you go to shows with me? That’s a job.’ I said, ‘OK,’ and he said, ‘Do you want it?’ So I became his tour manager, and I’d go out there with him and listen to music in the van and make sure he got his money.”

Apparently, at the time, Blankenship still worked his day job as an adjunct professor. After a while, balancing both jobs became difficult.

“I think it was the beginning of March 2016, because at that time I was an adjunct professor at Indiana University Southeast, and I also taught at this community college at Louisville, and it just lined up such that I was on spring break when he was coming to do these shows,” he explained. “I met him on spring break, I did those shows, and then I went back to my teaching job and doing my teacher stuff. And then I was at this point in my life where I was so tired of being a teacher, I just needed to take a break from that.”

Since leaving the world of education, Blankenship found success in tour management, and he rarely looks back.