It has been a wild couple of years for up-and-coming country music artist Warren Zeiders. When the pandemic hit, the then college athlete turned to music to soothe his worried mind. Before long, he was posting cover songs on social media to the delight of thousands of followers. In no time, those followers multiplied. More importantly, they transitioned from followers to fans. Those fans started asking for original tunes from the young Pennsylvania native. That set off a chain reaction of events that leads us to today.
Now, the 22-year-old singer-songwriter has a certified Gold record with his single “Ride the Lightning” and his star continues to rise. Fueled by tens of millions of streams, millions of fans, and a desire to reach out and touch those fans with his music, Zeiders is set to take the next step in his meteoric rise to the top of the charts with The 717 Tapes Vol. II.
Outsider caught up with Warren Zeiders while he was on the road after his first sold-out show. While we had him on the line we talked about his road to the music business, dealing with his rise to fame, the new EP, and more.
A Short & Bumpy Road to Prominence
Warren Zeiders: I was in college, and had to give up lacrosse due to too many concussions. Had to pivot and figure out what the next phase and walk in life was for me. Then, I moved schools. I was going to school for a marketing degree, but the pandemic hit. I’m a big extrovert and I love to talk and being confined to the walls of my home was not the easiest thing for me. I think that I just kind of found an outlet through social media.
Growing up, I always had a love for music. But, I never had any intentions of pursuing such a career. It was just a fun thing to do now and then. Before I knew it, my followers were turning into fans overnight without me realizing it. I wasn’t trying to get into the music industry, but here we are.
Handling His Ride to the Top
Warren Zeiders: I always kind of go back to my roots, I think my parents did a great job of raising me. They instilled a lot of great things into me. On top of that, I think my background in sports kind of molded me for a position like this. It prepared me to deal with the pressure and high stakes of the music industry. It is a different ballgame. At the same time, I carry a lot of those characteristics with me nowadays – having drive and passion for what you do, wanting to succeed and be the best version of yourself in the industry and just being the best version of yourself in general, in everyday life. It’s a rollercoaster and I’m just dealing with it day by day and trying to do the best I can and be the best artist I can be.
I’m very grateful for the people I have in my corner and surrounded around me. They push me to be the best person I can be.
“Ride the Lightning”
Warren Zeiders: Some people know this, some people don’t but the first song I ever put out was “On the Run” which I recorded in my bedroom. My fans wanted original music from me, so I recorded a song and put it out.
Fast-forward, my first time down in Nashville, I was in my manager’s guest bedroom. It was my first-ever song write, we did it over Zoom. “Ride the Lightning” was part 2, part 3 of that song. I wanted to build on the storyline of the first song I ever wrote.
“Ride the Lightning” was technically the second song I ever wrote. It’s kind of crazy.
Taking Fans on a Journey with The 717 Tapes
Warren Zeiders: The 717 Tapes are meant to be a staple in the fact that I’m taking my fanbase and my people on a journey with me as I grow and develop. Walking side-by-side with them as I’m growing and they can see development. They can see the growth before their eyes and I think that’s the beauty in what The 717 Tapes is bringing to peoples’ lives. I’m excited to share these moments with people as we grow and develop together.
Warren Zeiders on His Connection with His Fans
Warren Zeiders: I always try to give as much credit and love as I can to the people that deserve it and the people that have helped me through this journey. My fanbase is top priority. At the end of the day, building that foundation with them and that relationship with them over the last year over social media, countless hours on social media on live streams, and everything. It was so exciting to see it come full circle for the first time last night in person. Just to feel that connection after this last year.
Warren Zeiders: Morgan Wallen is definitely a big influence on me. I have seen what that man has been able to accomplish and it has been eye-opening for me. He’s been a huge inspiration.
Also, another inspiration of mine is Zach Bryan. Reading into his backstory, finding out how he got his start, seeing how he got his start with a group of friends in an Air B&B and they just started recording some songs he’d written. The freshness and the refreshment of knowing that you have the tools to do this.
Advice for Aspiring Artists
Warren Zeiders: I would say, no matter what, continue to do what you’re doing. Have a good support system, and keep people close to you that you can trust. But, I would say stay true to who you are. You don’t want to wake up one morning doing something that you don’t love and putting out music that you don’t love. Make the music you like, grow your fanbase, connect with people. It’s all about people, at the end of the day. People who want to stream your music, people who want to talk about you, people who want to show up to show. The fans are the most important thing in the whole puzzle. It’s just making sure that they feel that love and they’re taken care of.
Just be a good person at the end of the day.
Listen to Warren Zeiders
Warren Zeiders new EP The 717 Tapes Vol. II is out today through Warner Records. Listen to it on your favorite streaming platform. While you’re at it, check out the first installment of The 717 Tapes and his collection of acoustic cover songs.