Interview: CJ Solar, ‘Get Away With It,’ EP Out TODAY!

EP release show at The Basement East on 4/18

Thank you for chatting with us! Let’s first talk a bit about your songwriting process. How does a song usually develop – do you first start with the lyrics, melody, chord progression, or something else?

Usually I start with an idea or a feeling about something… If I can find a hook that fits the idea then I usually try to figure out how it would sound along the way!

How do you react when something you wrote achieves tremendous success when sung by another artist? Do you have a strong reaction regarding song ownership or is more that you’re happy being a very successful songwriter as well?

I’m so excited when other artists record my songs and it’s even better when they have success with them! Gives me another song to play live that people have heard along with my own tunes!

What do you find most inspires you to write a song?

The craft of writing and singing great music is what keeps me inspired. A lot of my favorite classic country and rock acts were all about the craft and had amazing songs and I would like to think I’m trying to keep that going!

Do you have favorite places or times where you like to write?

I usually prefer to write at my publishing company, Sea Gayle Music’s office, which is in a house on music row. It’s fun bumping into the other writers there too! People usually wanna start at 11 these days, but I don’t mind getting started a little earlier.

Do you write every day?

I write every day that I am in Nashville on the road, but the ideas hit me randomly, I could be driving or a bar and somebody says something or something pops in my head and I write it down and hope when I see it later it inspires me to put a song to it!

Do you record ideas while touring? If so, what techniques work for you to capture song ideas on the road?

I just write down in my notes app or record little pieces of things on the voice memo’s app! Nothing crazy but I definitely get ideas while on the road!

You just released your New EP, Get Away With It. Congrats! It is fantastic! Is there one song in particular you’re most excited about people hearing?

I have a really hard time picking because I love the songs. “American Girls,” is so fun to play live. I’ve been looking forward to people hearing the record version for a while now.

Was, Get Away With It, born in Nashville or on the road?

It was born in Nashville! All the songs were written on the row with buddies that I love writing with!

Got any favorite gear you’d like to tell us about?

My 1967 Gibson Trini Lopez is my favorite guitar that I pretty much play at every show! Clay Cook from Zac Brown Band used to own it and it has Charlie Starr from Blackberry Smoke’s signature on the back of the headstock which is pretty sweet!

Who are your favorite current songwriters or musicians? Can you turn our readers on to someone they may not have heard of yet?

Travis Denning, who I wrote “Same Town” with, is an amazing artist. “Michael Hardy” who I’ve written songs with for years is blowing up as a writer and hopefully artist soon. Hailey Whitters is one of my favorites in town and she’s got an awesome record and about to put out some new music soon too!

Is there anything you wished would come back into fashion?

Corduroy pants for sure!

Nashville Quick Fire:
BBQ: Edleys right now, but I go back and forth between that and Martins!
Ice Cream: Jeni’s fo sho
Coffee: don’t drink coffee but breakfast at Jam Coffee is the bomb
Hot Chicken: Pepperfire in East Nash because no lines
Tacos: This is the hardest because I like all the tacos. Right now Taco Mamacita
Tourist Attraction: Grand Ole Opry
Venue: The Ryman Auditorium is the best place I’ve ever seen a show and i’ve seen a lot!

With the fuel of both Southern rock and Country music influences pumping through his veins, Sea Gayle Music’s CJ Solar is a natural at fusing the two worlds. Combine that with Delta blues, compliments of a childhood spent in Cajun country, and you’ve got one badass up-and-comer with the pure musical talent and vocal chops to back him up. Named one of the “New Artists You Need To Know” by Rolling Stone Country, Solar says the driving force behind his untimely success isn’t fame nor fortune – it’s just a diehard infatuation with the music he grew up on.

Solar’s new release is the five-song Get Away With It released April 13 on Sea Gayle Records. The first single, “Airplane,” is his highest charting single to date. As a songwriter, CJ has had songs cut by Morgan Wallen (“Up Down” featuring Florida Georgia Line), Jerrod Niemann’s “The Regulars” and “Blue Bandana,” Justin Moore and Texas artists Mike Ryan and Kyle Park.


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Mary Ann Kaylor Griffiths

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