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Polow da Don says he’s grateful for the renewed attention given to his track “Glamorous,” after it was sampled by Jack Harlow on his number-one hit “First Class,” but the superstar producer says his latest project is all about moving the culture forward.
“Number one again? That’s great,” the producer told Rolling Stone at the launch party for his new spirits brand, YoCo Vodka. “When I heard it, I was happy too, because I get requests all the time and sometimes you know, it’s wack,” he admits. “But it’s dope because that song has taken off and it’s going viral even for him. Jack had a pretty good start but I feel like that [song has] catapulted him to be on a whole other level now.”
It’s been 15 years since the original version of “Glamorous” was released, as the third single off Fergie’s album, The Dutchess. For Polow, who said both he and Fergie personally approved the sample, it’s a full circle moment, having sampled many of his favorite artists in the past.
“I’ve always sampled records, like Switch, El DeBarge and Michael Jackson,” he says, “and I feel like I’ve made it to a point where my music is good enough to be used and sampled by others now.”
His favorite part: “People of all ages are coming back to say, ‘Man I love the original [song],” Polow shares. “You can listen to the original and be like, ‘It still sounds good; it came out right.’ That’s what I’m most proud of,” he says: “If you do it right, you don’t have to do it over.”
The desire to “do it right” is also the motivation behind Polow’s latest project, a new vodka inspired by an independent radio station he helped to launch in Nashville. YoCo Vodka (short for “Young Country”) is a Tennessee-based vodka, designed for both solo sipping and cocktail parties alike. Similar to the radio station, which launched as Young Country 96.7 FM in June of 2019, Polow says the new vodka is all about bringing different people — and different perspectives — together.
“Country [music] is coming back,” he says, “but where do these new kids have a platform? Where do they have a voice? We needed an outlet that didn’t exist. So that’s the idea of Young Country,” he explains. “What we’re doing is making country cool and giving people a chance to get their music out there.”
As for what this “young country” sounds like, Polow cites artists like Kane Brown, along with artists who have crossed over from other genres, like Nelly and Bubba Sparxxx. Though he came up in the Atlanta hip-hop scene, the producer (who splits time between ATL and Nashville now) says country music is more universal than people think. “Blues, soul and rock have always been part of country music,” he says, offering up The Doobie Brothers as an example. “And now, R&B and hip-hop are all part of country music too.”
“What’s so amazing about the radio station is that we’re putting out these sounds of different people from different walks of life who would never probably say hello to each other on the street,” he explains. “But they’re making beautiful music, and the music,” he says, “is what brings everyone together.”
Polow is no doubt hoping the new YoCo Vodka will bring people together too. With music as its inspiration, the label on the bottle is designed like a backstage pass or laminate to “give everyone that VIP experience,” the entrepreneur says. You can even write your name and the name of your event on the label, to give it an extra personal touch.
As for why he chose vodka over say, a Tennessee whiskey, Polow says vodka was the “most mixable foundation” of all his favorite drinks, calling it the “center” of all alcohols. He’s hoping it’ll be the center of both big concerts and intimate gatherings for people as well.
“We created Young Country Radio with the purpose of breaking down the stereotype of country music and giving young artists the space to be their true selves and create freely,” he says. “Now, with the introduction of YoCo Vodka, we’re taking it one step further and providing consumers the liquid to elevate and enjoy their experiences.”
Made in Tennessee, YoCo Vodka retails for $19.99 and is available online at drinkyoco.com. Polow says it was important for him to launch the vodka in Tennessee to start, since that is where the radio station is located. But there are plans to expand the spirit into retail locations throughout Georgia, California, Florida, New York in the coming few months.