Meeting your heroes is equal parts exciting and nerve-wracking. Even for a major country star like Cole Swindell, the butterflies still pop up.
It only makes sense. Most everyone starts from the bottom, and the shift in perspective only happens once you’ve “made it.” And even now that Swindell has, he still remembers meeting his country idols vividly.
Talking with Marty Smith at Outsider Studios, the topic of becoming starstruck came up. While there’s many stars that Cole Swindell could name, a story involving Tim McGraw immediately came to mind.
“Who made you starstruck? What artist that you met [made you say,] ‘My God, I can’t believe I’m talking to this person,'” Marty Smith asks.
“There’s been several,” Swindell starts. “The main one I remember was the first time I met Tim McGraw. It’s almost funny… It was probably 2014, [ACM Awards] I’m guessing and back then, not sure if they still do it, they always used had a TV special that they recorded on a Monday night after the Sunday ACMs.”
Swindell had yet to make himself a household name, but had been finding new fans with the success of “Chillin’ It,” which led to a record deal with Warner Music. At the aforementioned TV special, Swindell was soaking in a new experience in the early stages of success.
When he was told that Tim McGraw and Faith Hill were not far down the hall from his dressing room, he knew he had to take the chance. So he went to his manager.
Cole Swindell Nearly Chickened Out
“I’m like, ‘Kerri, I’ve never met McGraw. I covered his songs in college, I’m a huge [fan,] I have to tell him. Tonight’s the night.'”
Cole Swindell decided to be the change he wanted to see, and said he immediately got up and went to talk with Tim McGraw.
“We’re walking down the hall and I mean he’s right here with Faith,” Cole Swindell continued. “Getting closer and I’m like chickening, like no way I’m doing it. I’m not interrupting him.”
But the thing is, McGraw didn’t need to be interrupted. In fact, the country legend did the interrupting.
Tim Mcgraw Introduces Himself to Cole
Before Cole Swindell walked away or said anything, Tim McGraw beat him to it.
“He kind of turns and sticks his hand out,” Swindell told Marty Smith. “And he says, ‘Hey Cole, Tim, nice to meet you.’ Knew my name. He said, ‘I sing your song ‘Chillin’ It’ when I’m picking up my daughters in the school line every day.’
“Marty, I’m not kidding you, my eyes watered, I couldn’t even speak. I patted him on the shoulder… and I walked off about twenty yards and had to come back and apologize.”
We do not blame you one bit, Cole. A legend recognizing your work for the first time is massive, and it being Tim McGraw makes it even more surreal.
The country singer went on to wrap up his story with a background that can many relate too. Swindell saw McGraw live growing up, and all of a sudden he was talking with him.
“Seeing him at a young age in concert to meeting him and him introducing himself when I chickened out and he didn’t even know it. That was probably one of the most starstruck moments. He always been cool to me, and that’s what I love about meeting your heroes are the ones that exceed expectations, and Tim is as cool as it gets.”