Parker McCollum Told His Dad He Would “Sign A Major Record Deal One Day” After Dropping Out Of School To Pursue Music

Parker McCollum Country Music

Parker McCollum is one of the hottest things in Nashville, as well as Texas right now.

That in and of itself is quite the accomplishment.

And today, he’s opening up to Apple Music about getting his start in Texas and what led him to pursue a music career in the first place:

“I grew up in Conroe, just north of Houston. There was no music scene there, I played sports and worked on the ranch with my grandad.

My grandad loved Jerry Reed, Willie Nelson, Buck Owens, Porter Wagoner. My mom loved The Judds, Keith Whitley, but it was really, George Strait was the man in our house growing up.”

He learned to play guitar in a barn after school every day. He credits his older brother, Tyler (who’s also a musician), with a lot of the inspiration behind why he wanted to play country music in the first place.

He knew that’s what he wanted to do early on, but enrolled in school and tried to get a college education first since he felt like that was something he had to do:

“I knew exactly what I wanted to do from a very early age. But, you know, when I moved to Austin, I just kinda wasted two years just sittin’ around. I was just kinda floatin’ through and skating by, no direction, no hustle.”

His dad, Mark, said everything changed when Parker called him one day and told him he was wasting his money paying for college, because he just wanted to go perform and play live shows:

“He enrolled in school, and I can remember him calling me up and goes, ‘Dad, I’m wasting your money. I’m writing songs in class.’

So I flew back in, and we sat down and he told me what he wanted to do. And I said, ‘Okay, we’re gonna do it once. So it’s either a college education I’m paying for, or this music thing.’

And to give him credit, he goes, ‘Dad, I’m gonna sign a major record deal one day.’ He goes, ‘You’re gonna see.'”

He was certainly right about that. In June of 2019, he inked a deal with UMG Nashville.

But, in the beginning when he was still struggling with getting started, Parker’s brother told he should just go play 30 shows in 30 days and see if he could ever quit. So, he went to a venue in south Austin and did it. Clearly, he hasn’t slowed down a bit since.

And, funny enough, he ended up meeting Ryan Bingham’s former guitar player, Corey Schaub, who volunteered to produce his debut EP A Red Town View after hearing him play a couple songs:

“We got a van and started playing shows and hashing it out. And I wanted to do it the hard way, I really wanted to earn it.

And I didn’t want anybody to be able to say anybody bought me anything. Any time my name came up, I wanted it to be ‘Man, he started out in his pickup truck, got a van, got a nicer van, got a tour bus, and then got a record deal.’

So when it came time to sign a record deal, we had all the leverage. We got an offer from every major label in town, I think.”

Eventually, they chose “Pretty Heart” as his first single at country radio and the rest, as they say, is history. It would go on to be his first #1 on the country charts in late 2020.

After taking a hard look at his life and choices during the shutdown of live music due to the coronavirus pandemic, though, he realized some of his drinking habits and other poor decisions needed to change:

“I just kinda took not even one, I mean, probably 100, really good, long looks in the mirror and just started puttin’ everything into perspective and saying, ‘I could have everything I ever wanted in life if I could just keep it together for a little while.”

A few months ago, he got engaged, and shortly thereafter, released his awesome debut album on a major label Gold Chain Cowboy.

Today, he also released an awesome new special-edition track, “Blanco Country Rain”, that is just as good as the rest of the album:

A beer bottle on a dock


A beer bottle on a dock