The Marty Smith Podcast: Country Artist Jordan Davis Talks Making It in Music City, Working With Luke Bryan

by Chris Haney
(via Outsider/The Marty Smith Podcast)

The guys are back with another great episode of The Marty Smith Podcast, and we’ve got country music star Jordan Davis joining us this week on the show. The singer joins the podcast to chat about his music career and his path to stardom in Nashville. The 34-year-old also opens up about recording with Luke Bryan and playing golf with Luke Combs. Additionally, Davis gets candid about his family, fatherhood, and much more during his interview.

But to start off the show, host Marty Smith talks college football. Once again, Marty had a busy week traveling around and covering NCAA football games for ESPN. He started out in Baton Rouge where he interviewed LSU head coach Brian Kelly. Then, he went to Starkville for Marty & McGee‘s coverage of Mississippi State versus Arkansas. And finally he traveled to San Diego, California where he filmed a feature that will air on ESPN next month.

He and producer Travis Rockhold got to talkin’ more about his trip to Mississippi. Marty had been there before, but couldn’t stop talking about how great the environment was in Starkville over the weekend. That led to an amusing conversation about shots of Jägermeister, which Marty was offered at the game. Our host and Travis both agreed that Jäger is basically “motor oil.” In fact, they’re not really sure what the thick substance really is and Marty doesn’t even know if it should be classified as liquor.

Following his interview with Jordan Davis, Marty also shares his perspective on his viral moment with Miss. State head coach Mike Leach. So, you’ll want to listen to the whole show this week, since we’ve got another good one for you guys. We’ve got that and a lot more on a brand new episode of The Marty Smith Podcast.

Jordan Davis Talks Path to Nashville, Making a Career in Music City

Country singer Jordan Davis joined the show and got to talking about his college days at LSU. Surprisingly, although the musician started writing songs at the university, he never performed in Baton Rouge. So his college buddies had no idea he’d go on to have as much success as he’s garnered in Nashville in recent years.

In fact, Davis admitted on The Marty Smith Podcast that he didn’t “move to Nashville to be a singer.” He says that, in a way, his music career came about organically without any real intent to become a songwriter or artist himself. However, he’d end up working with some of Nashville’s best songwriters, which Marty asked him about on the podcast.

“Those first couple days writing with those guys, it’s just a pinch me moment of like, ‘How did I get here? What did I do to get in a room with guys that have written the best songs that have ever been written?'” Davis said.

“Well try to answer that for me. What was that path?” the host of The Marty Smith Podcast asked his guest.

Davis moved to Nashville in 2012 and bartended for five years to pay the bills. He’d occasionally write here and there, but his biggest boost early on is that he got to meet some great local songwriters who helped guide him. They both encouraged and critiqued his songwriting. They shared their expertise with Davis who took it all in and didn’t let those teachings go to waste.

“They kinda guided me along,” Davis explained. “Here’s where you’re weak, here’s where you’re strong, here’s where you can be a better songwriter… For five years I just kinda crafted and did little things that made me a better writer, or a better co-writer in a room.”

“But man, it was perseverance,” he added. “That’s the thing I tell people that I meet everyday. It’s like, dude, if you move to Nashville, they say it’s a 10-year town. And I truly believe that. It takes a while to get to where you’re writing songs that are at a level that are good enough to be heard in this town.”

The Country Singer Opens Up About Working With Luke Bryan

Eventually, Jordan Davis’ years of hard work and perseverance paid off in Music City. He’d go on to earn a recording contract with Universal Music Group Nashville. By 2017, his debut single “Singles You Up” released and the following year it hit No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

His music career was taking off and that opened all kinds of new doors for the musician out of Louisiana. Jordan Davis would earn his second No. 1 country song with 2019’s “Slow Dance in a Parking Lot.” But in 2021, he struck gold once again with some help from country star Luke Bryan. The pair teamed up for “Buy Dirt,” which rocketed to No. 1 as well. Host Marty Smith knows the song well, and knew the pair had become good friends and asked about Bryan’s influence on Davis’ life.

For Jordan Davis, Luke Bryan was his college years. He’s the guy everyone was listening to at the time. That said, Davis joked that Bryan hates hearing that since it ages him. But as Davis says, “that was the guy.”

“When I moved to town, you were writing songs trying to get cuts by Luke Bryan. He’s the top guy,” Jordan Davis said on The Marty Smith Podcast.

The pair met at a golf tournament in Nashville and spent time together afterwards talking about life, music, and Bryan’s path to Music City. The pair bonded and struck up a friendship of sorts that day as Davis got to know the man behind the music, not just Luke Bryan the performer. They stayed in touch and Jordan would send songs to Luke occasionally. But he knew “Buy Dirt” was made for Luke Bryan after writing it.

“When we finished ‘Buy Dirt,’ I just felt like that song was Luke,” Davis shared. “He’s got farms all over town. He loves being outside hunting, fishing – that’s truly what he lives for. So I knew ‘Buy Dirt’ was gonna resonate with him.”

Eventually, after making his friend sweat for almost two weeks, Bryan gave Davis an answer; he agreed to the collab and to sing on “Buy Dirt.” Jordan was “over the moon” after getting the go-ahead from Bryan, as one might expect.

“I knew it was a special song without Luke,” Davis continued. “But having Luke on it, I knew it was just gonna take it to the next level.”

Host Marty Smith talks to country star Jordan Davis about that and much more on the newest episode. Make sure to check out their full conversation on The Marty Smith Podcast in the video above, or listen in on Spotify, Apple, or wherever else you stream your favorite podcasts.