Cole Swindell Opens Up About How the Death of His Father Inspired Him to Write One of His Most Impactful Songs

by Matthew Wilson

Sons carry the legacies of their fathers. Country singer Cole Swindell gets emotional talking about the death of his father and how it inspired one of the most impactful songs of his career. Swindell keeps his father’s memory alive at every concert, and there’s never a dry eye in the house.

Swindell stopped by The Marty Smith Podcast to discuss his career with Outsider‘s Marty Smith. The duo also bonded over their shared grief of losing their fathers. Smith’s dad died in 2008. Meanwhile, Swindell’s father William passed away in 2013. It was only six weeks after Swindell scored his recording contract.

While processing his grief, Swindell wrote and recorded “You Should Be Here.” The song ended up being a ballad for anyone who’s lost a loved one. For listeners like Smith, the song became a way to share a collective grief that we all feel. Because everyone loses someone they love.

“I always say I moved to Nashville to write songs. And country music has always been there for me before I got to this town,” Swindell says. “Now, I know I’ve written at least one that’s touched people and helped them through a tough time. At the time we were writing it, I had my dad in mind. But I knew then already I can’t be the only one out there.”

Cole Swindell on His Song’s Impact

Cole Swindell also recently recorded another song “Dad’s Old Number” as an ode to his father. But “You Should Be Here” remains one of his most popular hits. It’s also one of his most affecting. The country artist wishes that his father could see the impact the song has had.

Audience members will come up to him and share their own stories of grief and loss. With every shared story, Swindell feels like he’s doing something positive with his life. They’re all part of a club that none of them wish they were in. But Swindell and his fans are united by their grief and never alone.

“We wanted to make it relatable so anyone could relate to it who’s been through that. There have been so many people who’ve reached out and got in contact with me because of that song,” Swindell continues. “I always say, my dad, for those who didn’t get to meet him, if he could check out early and inspire a song that would help way more people than he would ever get to meet, he would have done that. That was the kind of guy he was.”

And the artist believes that his father is still looking out for him. As long as he continues to play music, Swindell keeps his father’s memory alive.

“He’s the first person I ever heard play guitar. He never chased music as hard as I did but he never pushed me to do it,” Swindell says. “I know he’s proud. And I get to do it and help other people. He would be more proud about that than he would the music.”