In Nashville writing rooms, hit singles often spring from friendly conversation. A couple of writers may be sharing a funny story or dishing on their personal lives when boom, someone utters a clever one-liner that has the group scrambling for pens, paper and the nearest guitar.
Such was the case for country upstart Jordan Davis, whose breakout single "Singles You Up" was born from a lucky conversation with co-writers Justin Ebach and Steven Dale Jones. It was one of the trio's first writing sessions together – Davis had previously written with Ebach once and was a new collaborator for Jones – and they were shooting the breeze about Ebach's recent engagement when inspiration struck.
"It took us a little while to land on something, but at the time Justin had just gotten engaged and through congratulating him on the engagement that term, 'single her up,' got said," Davis tells Rolling Stone Country. "Right when it was said, I think all three of us were like, 'Oh man, that's really cool.'"
While Ebach's real-life story already had its happy ending, the three writers explored several ways the serendipitous turn of phrase could be set to music. What they eventually landed on was a subversion of their original idea, with the line, "if he ever singles you up," serving as the anchor for a clever take on romantic rivalry.
"We tried to write it a couple of different ways at first," Davis adds. "When we finally honed in on the way we ended up approaching it, it was this guy having to wait his turn, seeing this girl with somebody else. He has feelings for her and hopes the other guy screws it up somehow. Once we honed in on that, we wrote it really quick."
On Tuesday, Davis announced the White Wine and Whiskey Tour, a string of headlining dates with Jillian Jacqueline that will run through early spring. He's also premiering the scenic new music video for "Singles You Up" exclusively on Rolling Stone Country. The clip, which alternates between lo-fi smartphone footage and slick, professional takes, was shot in El Paso, Texas, and directed by Eric Ryan Anderson.
"I didn't want to play it too much to what the song says, and tried to shoot something that looked really cool and well done," Davis says of the clip. "I love the wide open spaces. I love the desert. I don't know if I'd ever want to live in West Texas, but I sure like going out there. Whenever I had the initial idea of what I wanted [the video] to look like, I was seeing exactly what West Texas is."
Since releasing "Singles You Up" in late May, Davis has seen quick breakout success, with the song at one point landing on Spotify's all-genre Global Viral 50 chart. He also earned an opening slot on Kip Moore's Plead the Fifth Tour, opening alongside Drake White. It's made for something of a wild ride for Davis, who signed to Universal Music Group in 2016 after moving to Nashville from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2012. A Shreveport native, Davis studied at LSU and worked as an environmental consultant before deciding to pursue a career in songwriting.
Davis attributes the rapid rise of "Singles You Up" both to its relatable message and to its radio-ready production, the latter of which was helmed by Paul DiGiovanni. Also known for his work as guitarist for pop-rock band Boys Like Girls, DiGiovanni gave the track a hook-heavy, danceable vibe that recalls Sam Hunt's "House Party."
Davis and DiGiovanni also collaborated on "Take It From Me," a slinky, propulsive love song that indulges in the same kind of playful wordplay found in "Singles You Up" ("Take it from me / If you want a t-shirt to sleep in...") and would sound at home on a playlist with other glossy productions like Thomas Rhett's "Craving You." Davis released that track last October, and cites it along with the new song "Slow Dance in a Parking Lot" as pieces of his larger effort to release a full-length debut album in 2018.
"We've been working hard on [an album]," Davis says. "It's been really, really quick for me. Luckily, a lot of these songs were already written. 'Singles You Up' was actually one of the last songs we wrote for the album. I went back in and wrote a couple more with my producer that we're looking pretty hard at. It's been thrown into fast-forward with how well they've accepted 'Singles You Up.'"
Here are the White Wine and Whiskey tour dates:
February 2 – West Peoria, IL
February 3 – Sioux City, IA
February 16 – Mount Laurel, NJ
February 17 – Asbury Park, NJ
February 18 – Uncasville, CT
February 23 – Dallas, TX
March 1 – Cleveland, OH
March 2 – Grand Rapids, MI
March 3 – Detroit, MI
March 20 – Decatur, GA
March 21 – Nashville, TN
March 22 – St. Louis, MO