50 Egg Music
NASHVILLE SINCE 2007
Some people were born to be on a stage. Some were born to sing. Jonathan Singleton was born to write songs. His publishing company 50 Egg Music is making those dreams come true for the next wave of Nashville’s finest talent.
For the west Tennessee native, it’s always been about the music. Jonathan and his brother, a singer and harmonica player, had a bluesy, funkier band in which Jonathan played drums. When he was 17 or 18, they did a few label showcases, Jonathan’s first taste of the Nashville music industry. “Absolutely 100% to that time we were gonna be the greatest thing until the day the Blues Traveler video came on MTV and everything went away,” he laughs.
The band regrouped, Jonathan’s brother moved to France for the blues scene, and Jonathan took over vocals for the band. For 10 years, he and the band played bar gigs and released a few records. Then, something happened. “I found out people wrote songs for a living from a friend,” he says. He started coming to Music City to write with him; together, they wrote 12 songs chronologically and put out a record in that order.
The record caught the ear of Nashville, and for the next two years he spent his weekdays driving back and forth to write and his weekends on the road. “Whatever money that was would keep the lights on and keep us fed,” he says. “Anything worth having ain’t free is absolutely true. There were a lot of dollar menu items that I ate in that time.”
Eventually, it landed him a record deal and a publishing deal, an exciting high that quickly turned into its own challenge.
During the process, he’d notched four #1 songs as a songwriter as well, beginning with Gary Allan’s “Watching Airplanes.” He was playing the Eric Church tour full time, sleeping in a van following their buses, and the contrast between that and the songwriting side was stark. “That ended that artist thing,” he says.
Since, he’s notched a slew of pretty impressive hits, including Billy Currington’s “Don’t,” Josh Turner’s “Why Don’t We Just Dance,” and Tim McGraw’s “Diamond Rings And Old Barstools.” He was given NSAI’s “10 Songs I Wish I’d Written” Award for “Watching Airplanes.”
With 50 Egg – the name is a Cool Hand Luke reference – his artist experiences and seasoned songwriting guide the next generation of writers. “We’ve got my knowledge of how to not do things is basically what I offer; don’t do it the way I did,” he says, grinning. The publishing company, which he helms, is a co-venture with Big Machine Music. “I wanted to do a joint venture for a long time just because I had an artist deal and I kind of know those things so these younger guys coming up, I saw the value in knowing what the pitfalls in songwriting were and in the artist deal and all that stuff.”
His first signing was Luke Combs, who he first met at Tin Roof’s Revival and who aside from a collaborator has become a great friend and hunting buddy. Their approach is working; Luke’s debut album is certified Gold and boasts two #1 radio singles. They recently signed Kenton Bryant, who they’re working to grow next. “I remember being on fire – not successfully, but wanting it so bad that I would do anything,” he says. “When somebody’s got that I love standing next to them.” And though he continues to top charts as a songwriter, he’s living a new dream: being the guy behind the guys making their dreams come true.
Hear Luke Combs’ latest single, “One Number Away”
Listen to Jonathan’s first #1, Gary Allan’s “Watching Airplanes”