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Exclusive: Chris Bandi Chats About “Would Have Loved Her” & Working with Nelly

In our latest exclusive interview with one of our 2020 Artists to Watch, Chris Bandi, he chats about releasing an EP in the middle of a pandemic, how his new single “Would Have Loved Her” has touched fans across the country, and working with fellow St. Louis native, Nelly. Read the full interview below.

March 11th, 2020 was the last time we saw Chris Bandi, which also happened to be the very last show we attended before the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After our Swag Session in New York City, Bandi played a show with Ray Fulcher and Matt Stell on the Everywhere But On Tour at Gramercy Theatre. Fans who were lucky enough to be in attendance that night got to hear some brand new music from the rising artist before anyone else.

Just moments after stepping off stage, Bandi, his band, and the rest of the venue were basically coming to the realization that things would be quite different at least for the foreseeable future as restrictions were put in place and all events going forward were canceled. Like so many other artists, he took to social media to continue to connect with fans and get his music out there. Performing on Facebook and Instagram Lives, he previewed his new music and watched as it began to strike a chord with fans.

“Music is one of those things where you can put your favorite album on and for 45 minutes you don’t have to think about anything other than that music,” he tells us in our recent interview. “You don’t have to worry about the world going on around you, the lack of the world going on around you, it was such a great escape for people.” His EP was originally slated for release in the summer of 2020, but since it was already written and recorded before the pandemic, Bandi, his label, and management team decided to bump up the release to May. Read our full review of his self titled debut here.

With the world on pause, fans were able to really connect differently and listen more intently to the music that was being released, something that was particularly true about Bandi’s next radio single, “Would Have Loved Her”. He tells us that the process of writing this song was important to him, and he knew it needed time and delicate songwriting to convey the emotions he felt. He sat down with Zach Kale one day in a write and brought the title to him, explaining that his grandfather had passed away just six months before he met his girlfriend. Kale shared that his father had passed away before he had met his wife and the connection to the story was solidified. “He and I just started sharing stories about his dad, my grandpa, my girlfriend, and his wife, and it was therapeutic. To air it out and talk about it, have someone who understands,” he tells us.

He sent the demo to his team and they immediately knew it had to be included on his project. Since its release, “Would Have Loved Her” has resonated with so many fans who have lost loved ones and Bandi explains how that has made the song mean that much more. “To see and read the stories, people sharing pictures of that person that meant so much to them, telling us their story. It’s been amazing and as a songwriter, it’s really all you can ask for, people are hearing your song and they are touched by it. “

One thing we were excited to discuss was the fact that Bandi recently had the opportunity to write with hip-hop superstar and country crossover extraordinaire, Nelly. Nelly announced that he will be releasing a “country-influenced” project, Heartland this year and as a fellow St. Louis native, Bandi being able to work professionally with someone who has inspired him for so many years was a dream come true. “It was a full-circle moment for me. Growing up in St. Louis, he was our guy, we had Nelly. Everybody idolized him. People would joke when I was in college and told them I was from St. Louis, they would always ask “Do you know Nelly?” and it’s kind of crazy because now I Do!” he laughs.

The reception from his self-titled EP has been incredible and with “Would Have Loved Her” heading to country radio, Chris Bandi is looking ahead to a better 2021 where he can finally get back to playing shows and meeting fans. “I can not wait to play shows. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last 10 years of my life, playing shows and getting out and traveling to the shows, meeting people and last year was just ripped away from us.” We couldn’t agree more that it is something we all can’t wait to go back to normal and we are looking forward to watching his career blossom even more.

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about upcoming Chris Bandi announcements and releases.

To keep up with Chris Bandi follow him on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

Chris Bandi EP is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music.

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NYCS First Impression: Chris Bandi Self Titled EP

Chris Bandi EP

We knew long before his record deal that it was just a matter of time before singer-songwriter Chris Bandi made it in the country music scene. The NYCountry Swag 2020 Artist to Watch made his major-label debut with his hit, “Man Enough Now,” and now is releasing his self-titled debut EP, filled with seven impressive tunes.

“I feel like I started making this EP 7 years ago when I first moved to Nashville,” Bandi shared on his social media, even acknowledging his early days. “From every open mic night, to writer’s room, to show throughout the years, I’m so proud of this EP and the hard work that everyone involved has put in. It’s been a long time coming and I can’t wait for you’ll to hear it.”

Beginning with “Dirt On Me,” the singer shows off his songwriting flair with a title that appears to be one thing, but is another. The guitar-heavy tune is an honest account of mistakes made, experiences had, and people that have come and gone that make up Bandi’s unique story. He sings “I got pages of me that are hard looking back on / regret written into my skin like a tattoo,” admitting later, that you don’t have to look far, if you want some dirt on him.

The next song is an ode to music. “Leave It To A Song” is as relatable as can be. Bandi sings about how music is always there for you, and ironically, this song can now be added to that list of songs. “When you need a real good / feel good / throwback feeling that you ain’t felt in so long / leave it to a love song to take you back in time / leave it to a song to get you feeling right”

In the same vein, “Free” talks about how the best things in life are free. The old cliche rings true through gritty lyrics and a fresh and exciting arrangement. The song has a gospel feel, during the hook, and a Sam Hunt vibe in the verse, where Bandi talks some of the lyrics. His versatility shines through on this track, and in the feel-good, flirty, adventure-seeking song “What If We Don’t.”

On the contrary, Bandi’s “Would Have Loved Her” is touching in a completely different way. The song is a heartfelt and heartbreaking piano tune, where the singer croons about meeting a girl that he knows his late father would have loved. In one of his live performances on Instagram, Bandi called this song one of his favorites that he’s ever written, and we agree.

“They Make Whiskey” is the other slower tune off the record. The break-up slow jam is a back and forth about all the reasons things were made. Of course, whiskey was made to get over an ex. “And they make little bars on the edge of town / for getting lost / for getting found / and hanging around / for more than a round or two”

If there was one word to describe Bandi’s new project, it would be honest. Each and every song off the record is an honest, personal, and fresh anecdote into the singer-songwriter’s life and journey. Know for his debut single, “Man Enough Now,” Bandi utilizes that platform to express different parts of his life throughout the new project. The single sits as the closer of the record, and no matter how many times we hear it, it remains as one of our favorites.

To keep up with Chris Bandi follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

 

NYCS Picks:

  1. “Would Have Loved Her”
  2. “Man Enough Now”

 

Chris Bandi EP Tracklist:

  1. “Dirt On Me”
  2. “Leave It To A Song”
  3. “Would Have Loved Her”
  4. “Free”
  5. “They Make Whiskey”
  6. “What If We Don’t”
  7. “Man Enough Now”

 Chris Bandi EP is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

 

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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police, and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

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NYCS Swag Session: Chris Bandi

Just before his opening slot on the Everywhere But On Tour with Ray Fulcher and Matt Stell, Chris Bandi stopped by NYCountry Swag to perform his current radio single “Man Enough Now” as well as a brand new, unreleased song, “They Make Whiskey”. In the interview, he told our Managing Editor, Christina about his EP that is coming and about growing up in St. Louis and about all of the incredible firsts he got to experience so far this year, like making his Grand Ole Opry debut.

Watch the full performance and interview below.

To keep up with Chris Bandi follow him on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

For more music from artists we’ve featured during our LIVE Swag Sessions, check out our Sessions Playlist below and give it a follow for updates.

 

 

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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook:

Matt Stell, Chris Bandi & Ray Fulcher Perform in NYC

Ray Fulcher

Having seen Ray Fulcher in this same venue opening for Josh Abbott a few months ago, we were excited to see what he brought this time around. We were instantly reminded again of his Eric Church vibe, both in look and sound. He told a story of going to see Church in 2006 in Athens, Georgia, and knowing it was a moment that changed his life. He knew then and there that he had to write songs that made people feel the way Eric Church made him feel. Fulcher co-wrote “Doe to Me” performed by Eric Church, and played his version of it, hoping to do his legend justice. He told the story of writing his “Somebody Like Me” hit, which resulted from kind of but not really dating someone, then her moving away to Austin, Texas on short notice, realizing he was never really dating her anyway. Fulcher finished with the classic, catchy “When It Rains It Pours” which he wrote for Luke Combs.

Chris Bandi NYC

Photo Credit: Kaiser Cunningham

Chris Bandi was up next, and he was so excited to play his first show in NYC. His almost raspy voice was incredibly addicting, and with the beard and sound, he was giving us Sam Hunt vibes. A definitely more pop-country vibe than the classic country of Fulcher, he’s got a fun edge to draw some non-traditional country fans. He sang a new song “Free” as well as covers of “Gives You Hell” by The All-American Rejects, and a few more rockin’ country songs he hasn’t released yet.

His brand new EP comes out this summer, but until then he is promoting his current country radio single “Man Enough Now”. Bandi moved to Nashville 7 years ago, with the idea of writing a song that can take you back to a memory in 3 minutes, saying, “Nothing else can do that.”

Photo Credit: Kaiser Cunningham

 

Matt Stell was ready to rock the night, with his full band jamming as he opened with “Sex, Drugs, and Country Music”. You can hear the country influence, but the crowd definitely felt like they were at a rock concert with his show. He kept thanking everyone in the audience and expressing how happy he was to be playing a show in New York City, and that none of this is possible without his fans. He played a cover of Rhett Akins’ “That Ain’t My Truck” which definitely has an old school country vibe, but contrasted it with his version of Ariana Grande’s “God is A Woman”. Stell played a few new songs, “Chase it Down” and “Love You Too”, that definitely got everyone excited for his new music. A cover of Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire” was in the mix, with another contrasting of John Michael Montgomery’s “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)”, an awesome display of his ability to slide between pop/rock and country so seamlessly. His last song was what he explained changed his life last year, “Prayed For You”, his single that went number one, and expresses his true emotions.

What an awesome night for male country artists in New York City, and the fans were there for it all.

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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook:

NYCountry Swag’s 2020 Artists To Watch

The New York Country Swag team loves to support rising artists and introduce our followers to the best new music in the genre. Since our inception four years ago we have named rising stars like Russell Dickerson, Luke Combs, Brett Young, Jordan Davis, Mitchell Tenpenny, and Jimmie Allen as our Artists to Watch. Check out our picks in 2017, 2018, and 2019 before checking out the 10 artists we picked to have a huge 2020 below.

 

Parker McCollum

10. Parker McCollum – This Texas native may have just released his first song on a major label, “Pretty Heart” this past summer after signing with MCA Nashville/UMG Nashville but in the past, he has independently delivered two full-length projects. Focusing on the depth and artistry behind songwriting, McCollum has found a clever balance between traditional Texas country and what is coming out of modern Nashville. We are looking forward to more new music in 2020 and to catch a live show.

For Fans Of: Cody Johnson, Riley Green

Listen: “Pretty Heart”

Stay Connected: @ParkerMcCollum

 

Madison Kozak

9. Madison Kozak – Growing up in Ontario but moving to Nashville when she was only 14 years old, Kozak has been chasing the music dream, honing in on her incredible ability to write a song that is filled with emotions for years. We first heard of the songstress in May we were instantly hooked and since then 2019 was a whirlwind for the budding star, signing a record deal as the flagship artist on a female-driven label, Songs & Daughters and touring the country on three different tours.  Label head, Nicolle Galyon in partnership with Big Loud Records saw something special in this songwriter artist after hearing “First Last Name”, a song she wrote for her father and ever since has been releasing exceptional songs. She kicks off the new year by heading overseas to tour with Chase Rice.

For Fans Of: Kelsea Ballerini, Carrie Underwood

Listen: “OMG ILY”

Stay Connected: @Madison_Kozak

 

King Calaway

8. King Calaway – Last January we were introduced to a brand new band comprised of six talented musicians from different places, Caleb Miller (Ohio), Chris Deaton (Nashville), Simon Dumas (Gibraltar), Jordan Harvey (Scotland), Chad Michael Jervis (Delaware), and Austin Luther (Minnesota). One of the very first time they played for fans before their music was released, King Calaway performed a showcase with NYCountry Swag in New York City and all in attendance were blown away.  Their impeccable harmonies, catchy tunes, and larger than life personalities have since caught the attention of country music fans across the nation. Their debut record, Rivers features 12 tracks written by some of Nashville’s biggest songwriters and covers an array of topics.

For Fans Of: One Direction, Rascal Flatts

Listen: “Rivers”

Stay Connected: @KingCalaway

 

Chris Bandi

7. Chris Bandi – When a song is streamed 60 million times, you know there is something special about it. St. Louis native, Nashville based artist and songwriter Chris Bandi is pushing his major-label debut, “Man Enough Now” to country radio this year and the tale rings true of realizing your mistakes, owning them and hoping for a second chance. Bandi will hit the road with Matt Stell in the upcoming months and sources say plans to release an EP as well.

For Fans Of: Gavin DeGraw, Chris Lane

Listen: “Man Enough Now”

Stay Connected: @ChrisBandi

 

Ingrid Andress

6. Ingrid Andress – We first caught songwriter/artist Ingrid Andress last February during an NYC showcase right after she was signed to Warner Music Nashville/Atlantic Records and her unique presence, storytelling ability, and hilarious realness caught our attention immediately. With songs like “More Hearts Than Mine”, “Both”, and “Lady Like”, Andress pushes the boundaries of topics usually discussed in the country format, forcing new followers to pay attention. She was named one of CRS New Faces for the class of 2020, a prestigious honor and she joins Dan + Shay on the first leg of their arena tour in 2020.

For Fans Of: Kacey Musgraves, Ashley McBryde

Listen: “More Hearts Than Mine”

Stay Connected: @IngridAndress

 

Ross Ellis

5. Ross Ellis –  Although a bit more undiscovered than the rest of our list, Ross Ellis has a powerhouse, unique voice and his latest single “Buy and Buy” is compelling and begs for repeat spins. By weaving a powerful visual of religion, addiction, and wasted time, “Buy and Buy” is as profound as it is innovative. As a songwriter, Ellis co-wrote one of Tim McGraw’s latest singles, “Neon Church” and a song on Home Free’s new album, Dive Bar Saints called “Dreamer” but in 2020 we hope to hear new songs from Ellis as we continue to champion rising artists and songwriters like him.

For Fans Of: Brett Young, Dan + Shay

Listen: “Buy and Buy” 

Stay Connected: @RossEllisMusic

Avenue Beat 2020 Artists to Watch

4. Avenue Beat – Our most unique, fresh, and different act on this year’s Artists to Watch is Avenue Beat. Comprised of three girls from Illinois, Sami Bearden, Savana Santos, and Sam Backoff they are original and their creative new wave country is as endearing as it is inventive. Their harmonies, melodies, and frankly genius lyrics are relatable to a niche of young women that are thirsty for someone to sing about what they are going through. Signed to Big Machine Label Group’s Valory Music Co. in partnership with Tape Room Records they released their debut self-titled EP in July and toured with Mason Ramsey in 2019. If you are looking for some sass with a side of sensational lyrics, look no further than Avenue Beat.

For Fans Of: Walker Hayes, Kelsea Ballerini

Listen: “Be A Bro” 

Stay Connected: @AvenueBeat

 

Jameson Rodgers

3. Jameson Rodgers – Last February we interviewed Jameson Rodgers for our Swag Spotlight feature, right after he released his EP which featured his break out hit, “Some Girls”. This Mississippi native is now planted firmly in Nashville, writing and creating music as a Sony Music Nashville artist and has toured with Luke Combs on his Beer Never Broke My Heart tour and just announced that in 2020 he will embark on his very first headlining tour. Relatable lyrics that are set to a modern-day twang, Rodgers has already garnered a ton of fans and hopefully the new year we can expect a full-length album.

For Fans Of: Jon Pardi, Luke Combs

Listen: “Some Girls”

Stay Connected: @JamesonRodgers

 

Gabby Barrett

2. Gabby Barrett – She may have become a household name because of her stint on American Idol but Gabby Barrett is showing Nashville and the country music community that women want to hear a female write a song from her own perspective. Her debut radio single, “I Hope” not only features her sultry voice but has a twist in the chorus that will make men and women fall in love with her honest take on a bad breakup. Having toured with Chris Lane, Barrett is already included in major festival line ups including Stagecoach, Tortuga, and New York’s own TrailBlazer.

For Fans Of: Maren Morris, Lauren Alaina

Listen: “I Hope”

Stay Connected: @GabbyBarrett_

HARDY 2020 Artists to Watch

1. HARDY – Already having a huge break out year in 2019, HARDY celebrated four number one songs as a songwriter, “God’s Country”, “I Don’t Know About You”, “Simple”, and “Up Down”. He also released one of the most prolific albums of the year, HIXTAPE Vol. 1 which features 17 different artists, all singing about growing up in a small town. Emerging as an artist, HARDY has created a persona that makes you envy his Mississippi upbringing, making ‘redneck’ cool. In October we caught his sold-out headlining NYC show and just announced, the songwriter and artist will join Cole Swindell and Thomas Rhett on the Center Point Road tour which will make it’s away across the country this summer.

For Fans Of: Morgan Wallen, Florida Georgia Line

Listen: “One Beer” 

Stay Connected: @HARDY

 

 

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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook:

Chris Bandi Releases Radio Edit of “Man Enough Now”

Chris Bandi

We’ve been fans of Chris Bandi so we’re were so excited to see that his song “Man Enough Now” will receive a new life with the brand-new radio edit released on October 11th, 2019. Bandi sings a tale of self-growth, as he expresses regret over giving up someone special due to his past lack of maturity. From the moment the song begins, the honest and self-reflective lyrics blend with the raw acoustic guitar to captivate listeners into a sentimental state.

The lyrics particularly hit home during the chorus, when Bandi belts out the gut-wrenching words: “It’s too bad, we happened when we did / ‘Cause I’ve learned a lot about life since then / I can’t go back / Girl I hate that”

The 28-year-old St. Louis native takes pride in his journey to becoming a man and sorrowfully repents hurting someone on the road to getting there. As the song continues, the instrumentals build along with the conviction in the lyrics and in Bandi’s voice. “So if one more chance is somethin’ that you ever think about / I’m man enough now”

In this final line, the singer-songwriter wears his heart on his sleeve in the purest way. He pleads for one more chance, though understands he may not deserve it due to his past actions. This vulnerable tune is infectiously catchy, and we can’t wait to hear it on the radio. We’re hoping that this release means more music in the near future from Bandi.

To keep up with Chris Bandi, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

“Man Enough Now” is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

 

—————

SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook:

[Listen] Chris Bandi Drops New Single “Why I Don’t Drink”

Chris Bandi

photo credit: Dustin Haney

St. Louis native Chris Bandi, has released his poignant new single entitled, “Why I Don’t Drink.” Co-written with Kat Higgins, the agonizingly intimate track concedes the story of knowing someone is not “the one” but no matter what, after a few too many drinks, finding yourself at their doorstep, deceitfully telling them things you know they want to hear out of loneliness. Acknowledging his continuous habit, Bandi chose to put an end to the one thing that began this endless cycle. He sings in the chorus, “Cause I know what I feel ain’t love / The only time I open up / Is when I’m drunk, standing at your door / These whiskey lies we both believe / Just when you’re gettin’ over me / I’ll break your heart like every time before / I don’t want to tell you things, then in the morning leave / That’s why I don’t drink

The singer-songwriter previously took this song out on the road once the writing process was complete and knew it was something special from the audience’s response.  In a recent press release, Bandi shared, “Some of the best advice I ever received about writing songs was to try not to write a song. Just tell the truth and say what you know. I knew about growing up, learning from your mistakes and relationships. Mostly, I learned what not to do. I immediately started playing it live with just an acoustic guitar after Kat and I wrote it. “Why I Don’t Drink” was the song that people would always ask about after shows. That’s what first made me think we had something special. I’m so happy to finally be able to share it!”

Be sure to follow the rising country star on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for future announcements and song releases.  “Why I Don’t Drink” is now available everywhere you stream or buy music.
Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook: