CJ Solar talks song writing and Baton Rouge roots
Singer-songwriter and Baton Rouge native CJ Solar finds his inspiration everywhere. Whether he’s fishing and drinking beer, attending Bonnaroo Music Festival, or reflecting on love lost and found, Solar can write a song about it.
“I find inspiration from everyday life,” Solar said. “My parents are big music fans and always had music on growing up, so I learned to love classic rock and expanded from there.”
Solar moved to Nashville after high school to pursue his dreams in country music, and after releasing his sophomore EP this month, “Get Away With It,” he’s returning home to perform at the Third Street Songwriters Festival, April 20-22.
He will be performing some cuts from other artists at the festival, as well as originals from his new record. If you want to hear the new stuff live before the festival, Solar will be celebrating the album’s release at the Texas Club on April 13.
After graduating from Belmont University in Nashville with a major in songwriting, Solar signed a publishing deal as a songwriter with Sea Gayle Music, co-owned by Brad Paisley and Chris Dubois. As an artist, his original music has been released on their label imprint Sea Gayle Records.
His debut EP, “Hard One to Turn Down,” received critical acclaim after its release in 2016, and he was named one of the “New Artists You Need to Know” by Rolling Stone Country.
Though he’s immersed himself in the music industry in Nashville, Solar’s Baton Rouge roots have definitely influenced his writing style and music career.
“I learned so much playing with my friends in Baton Rouge before moving to Nashville. Loved watching Chris Leblanc and Kirk Holder rock. Ain’t nothing like home!” Solar said. “Also, my teacher Stan Campbell, taught me everything I know on guitar and was a great mentor.”
Getting to come back to Baton Rouge and perform for friends and family is one of Solar’s favorite things about home, and seeing unfamiliar faces at his shows is icing on the cake.
“It’s always really cool to see new people showing up who’ve only heard about me since I moved to Nashville,” Solar said. “They are genuine fans of the music.”
When Solar talks of the future, he envisions a lifetime of songs and shows. But, the biggest item on his career bucket list seems like a no brainer for any country music artist.
“I got to play a private event at the Grand Old Opry a year ago—which was amazing to play on that stage—but it was just a taste of the real thing!”
As a songwriter, Solar has had a big year. A song he co-wrote, “Up Down,” recorded by Morgan Wallen featuring Florida Georgia Line, shot to the top 20 on the Billboard Country Charts after just 11 weeks, and he just got his first #1 on the Texas charts with “What the Heaven,” recorded by Kyle Parks. Solar’s songs can be found on albums by Jerrod Nieman, Justin Moore, and Mike Ryan, and he hopes a lot more songs are in his future.
“Whether I’m singing [my songs] or someone else is, I just love getting them out there to the listeners and seeing them connect with people,” Solar said. “It’s really exciting to see people singing along at the shows.”
Photos courtesy of Jason Myers Photography