Country Music Artists Who Started Out As Songwriters

Behind every one of our favorite songs is a team of songwriters, who are quietly creating beautiful lyrics and enticing melodies. In some cases, like with “Humble and Kind,” by Lori McKenna, a single songwriter is the brains behind the entire song. Lately, it seems songwriters are stepping out into the limelight, releasing their own music to the world as solo artists.

Here are some of our favorite songwriters turned solo artists:


HARDY is the man behind several number one songs. Most recently he co-wrote “God’s Country” for Blake Shelton, as well as, “Up Down” for Morgan Wallen. For the last year or so, the singer-songwriter has ventured out on his own, releasing two EP’s THIS OLE BOY and WHERE TO FIND ME, while also creating a masterpiece of a collaborative full-length record called HIXTAPE, Vol. 1. In his short time center-stage, HARDY has toured with the likes of Wallen, Florida Georgia Line, and Dan + Shay. This December, we’ll finally get to catch a full set from the rising artist, when he embarks on his first headlining tour. We are pumped to see what HARDY brings to the table next with his creative and unique music. Check out our interview with him to learn more about his transition from songwriter to artist.

Chris Stapleton

Before he shot to stardom with his debut record Traveller, Chris Stapleton was one of Nashville’s most respected songwriters. Stapleton co-wrote Kenny Chesney’s number one, “Never Wanted Nothing More,” George Strait’s “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright,” and Luke Bryan’s “Drink a Beer.” He’s even ventured out of the genre, both collaborating on songs for Grammy winner, Adele and Ed Sheeran, as well as, performing with Justin Timberlake and P!nk. As a solo artist, Stapleton is the recipient of five Grammy Awards, several Academy of Country Music Awards, as well as, many Country Music Awards. It’s clear that he will continue to be a staple in the music industry for decades to come.

Lee Brice

Since 2006, Lee Brice has warmed our hearts with his lyrics and made our souls dance with his melodies. Before making it as a solo artist, Brice co-wrote songs for Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, and Garth Brooks. It wasn’t until 2010 that he released his debut record Love Like Crazy, which garnered nominations for its title track. Even after finding success with his own music and releasing four albums, Brice still finds time to write for other artists. Most recently he co-wrote “Boy” for Faith Hill. It has been two years since Brice gave us new music of his own, so we’re hopeful that he has more music in the works in 2020!

Maren Morris Songwriter

Photo Credit: Justin Aharoni for NYCountry Swag

Maren Morris

One of our favorite songstresses in the industry, Maren Morris, started her incredible career as a songwriter. She penned songs for artists like Tim McGraw, Kelly Clarkson, Jessie James Decker, and Brothers Osborne. Now she is one of the most notable women singer-songwriters in country music. Her sophomore record GIRL has already broken records and the title track was the first song by a female to grab the top spot on country radio in months. As if Morris isn’t busy enough, she continues to expand her platform, spreading the message of female empowerment and strength, as one of the members of the new all female super-group The Highwomen. We admire Morris’ confidence and look forward to her future success.

Josh Kerr

Hit songwriter, Josh Kerr recently exploded on to the scene as a solo artist! In just a month, he has garnered attention for his debut songs, “Still Our Town,” and “Oklahoma,” as well as for proposing to Maddie & Tae’s, Taylor Dye. Musically speaking, Kerr has penned Keith Urban’s top 20 hit, “Never Comin’ Down,” Abby Anderson’s “GOOD LORD,” as well as, “If My Heart Had a Heart” by Cassadee Pope and several songs on Kelsea Ballerini’s debut album. Most recently, he even co-wrote Maddie & Tae’s “Bathroom Floor.” Kerr is already a respected songwriter and producer in Nashville, and we cannot wait to see how his career as a solo artist will blossom.

Ingrid Andress

One of our favorite new songstresses, Ingrid Andress started her career as a songwriter. Before she shared her own prolific music with the world, she wrote for artists such as Alicia Keys, Sam Hunt, and Charlie XCX. Andress even received co-writer credits on Lauren Jenkins record No Saint, which was released earlier this year. She’s one of the most unique vocalists in country music right now, but her exquisite knack for storytelling will always be paramount. We can’t wait to see how her way with words and arrangements will manifest in more of her own music in the future.




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