A viral moment on YouTube changed this week’s Swag Spotlight, Heath Sanders’ life forever. The Marshall, Arkansas native grew up in a conservative, religious home and he tells us that music was always running through his veins. “The drums were my first love, I would walk around tapping on things all the time when I was a kid, my parents thought I was crazy,” he recalls. “They finally broke down and bought me a drumset when I was 10 years old and I fell in love with that.” As a child, he remembers listening to a lot of classic, southern gospel music like The Isaacs, Fred Hammond and Bebe and Cici Winans but as he matured into his high school years, Garth Brooks became one of his biggest influences, along with Brooks & Dunn and George Strait.
After learning to play the guitar when he was twenty-one, he tried his hand at songwriting, but after a few failed attempts and what he calls “pretty terrible songs,” he didn’t approach the craft again until March of 2018 when he sat down to write his first single, “Bloodline”. He was inspired by the video above going viral of him singing Chris Stapleton’s “Either Way”. “I woke up on that Sunday morning three days after it had gone viral and for the first time in 13 years, I felt like writing a song,” Sanders said.
As he was sitting down with a pen to paper writing “Bloodline” he got a call from the host of the nationally syndicated Bobby Bones Show, Bobby Bones himself who wanted him to come down to Nashville and perform live on his show. The video now has garnered over 1 million views, giving Sanders an opportunity he never thought he would have. In the room that day was Brian Wright, EVP of A&R for Universal Music Group Nashville, Lauren Thomas, Director of National Promotion for SONY and singer/songwriter/producer and one half of Sugarland, Kristian Bush, all who said Sanders should definitely be pursuing music. Bush said: “You definitely need to do this for a living, if you’ve got the courage for it, you should do this for a living”.
After that performance, Sanders made the decision to give up his work in the oil field, move to Nashville and continue to chase the dream and the chance that that national radio appearance and viral moment granted him. “I’ve always been a realist, so I never pursued it but fate didn’t give me an option, so I’m just rolling with it,” he humbly explained. He is grateful for the fan base that he has built around him and knows that as long as he has something to say that they want to hear, he will work to put out those songs.
Most recently, he was signed to a worldwide publishing deal with SONY/ATV Publishing after his self-penned song “Down On The South” was released. He explains that the song was written quickly after a conversation with songwriter Mark Alan Springer, who told him to “just write what you know, quit worrying about what you think everyone wants to hear, or what you hear on the radio, just write your heart.”
Since that first appearance, he has now opened for national acts including Justin Moore, Cody Johnson, Drake White, and Chase Rice. His undeniable talent and traditional country vibe will have fans loving his honest songwriting and relatable lyrics. He looks ahead to the rest of this year and playing more shows and releasing a few brand new songs. Be sure to follow his journey on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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