Ross Copperman: 5 Songs That Shaped the Songwriter

by Jim Casey
(photo by Gus Black via EBMediaPR)

Ross Copperman is one of the most sought-after songwriters in Nashville. And for good reason. The 38-year-old Virginia native has penned 30 No. 1 hits. That’s not a typo: 30.

From Blake Shelton’s “I Lived It” to Brett Eldredge’s “Love Someone,” Ross has been living, loving, and writing for the last decade. His chart-toppers include Keith Urban’s “Break On Me,” Jake Owen’s “American Country Love Song,” Luke Bryan’s “What She Wants Tonight,” and more. Many, many more.

On May 21, Ross will release a new five-song EP, Somewhere There’s a Light On. Two songs—the title track and “Electricity”—are available now. Of course, Ross co-penned the five new songs with the help of friends Shane McAnally, Ed Sheeran, Ashley Gorley, and more.

“I’ve always liked to write songs to live in any world and not necessarily be too specific to genres,” says Ross. “It feels like pop has really been influenced by country writing in the last few years.”

It’s safe to say that Ross has been setting the songwriting world on fire the last few years. Oh, yeah, Ross penned Kenny Cheney’s “Setting the World On Fire,” too. So raise a glass and toast the man behind Darius Rucker’s “Beers and Sunshine,” as he catches up with Outsider on the 5 Songs That Shaped the Songwriter.

1. ‘Skinny Love’ – Bon Iver

Ross Copperman: “My wife Katlin initially turned me on to Bon Iver when we first started dating. This is the song I instantly connected with because of the pure and raw emotion [singer/songwriter] Justin Vernon is able to emote. This song taught me to pull from deep within myself to find that raw emotion in my own songwriting.”

2. ‘When the Party’s Over’ – Billie Eilish

Ross Copperman: “I literally remember where I was when I first heard this song. Billie’s haunting melody at the top and then her dry vocal on the first verse literally made me stop everything I was doing and listen. And does even now. The desperation in the lyric is tragic. It almost feels so personal to Billie that I feel uncomfortable listening. That, to me, is what makes a great song.”

3. ‘I Don’t Want to Be’ – Gavin DeGraw

Ross Copperman: “When I first heard Gavin’s record I was in college. It truly changed my life. I could honestly say this song is what started me down the songwriting path. I used to listen to this record two or three times a day in my dorm. Gavin is such a master of painting a real lyric. I feel like everyone can relate to this lyric and that’s what I love.”

4. ‘Motorcycle Drive By’ – Third Eye Blind

Ross Copperman: “I scream this song at the top of my lungs with the windows down. It makes me feel like I’m on top of the world. Songs are supposed to make you feel something, and this song gets me every time. This song taught me to put heart into every song I write. I want to make people feel the way I feel when I listen to this.”

5. ‘At Last’ – Etta James

Ross Copperman: “This is the song my wife and I danced to at our wedding. Etta’s vocal is just spectacular. This is a song that checks all the boxes for me. It is perfect in every way. This song continues to inspire me to be a better songwriter.”