Ever since Colin Stough skyrocketed to fame and placed third on “American Idol” in May 2023, the small town, Southern rock singer has been working on getting used to big city life. Hailing from tiny Gattman, Mississippi, Stough realized after the show ended that he needed to move to Nashville to keep his music dreams alive.
Fortunately, the 19-year-old already has friends in high places who’ve taken him under their wing in Music City. Though Stough had previously said he was renting Airbnb spaces, he revealed in an interview with Country Now on September 11, 2023, that he’s actually been living with rising country star Chase Matthew as he gets used to life in the big city.
“The Nashville environment is definitely a different vibe from my little hometown of Gattman, which has around 70-80 people,” he told the outlet. “So everybody knows everybody and stuff like that.”
With famous friends, a record deal and new music in the works, life in Nashville is sounding like a dream come true for the former HVAC technician. Here’s what you need to know:
Nashville Native Chase Matthew Has Taken Colin Stough Under His Wing
After that, he headed to Nashville with his new team at 19 Recordings, the record label that signs deals with each “American Idol” winner and, occasionally, other rising stars from the show — including Stough. And it became clear to him that in order to keep pursuing songwriting and performing, he needed to stay.
On August 8, Stough wrote on Instagram, “A year ago today I was working a full time job and also doing things on the side. Now im living in Nashville doing music full time. I can’t be more blessed to have made some of the great friends I’ve made and have a great fan base,” he continued.
But Stough knew nothing about living and working in a big city and told Country Now he was lucky to have new friends in the industry reach out.
“So, when I came off the show and came to Nashville, I didn’t really have a place to live,” he said. But Chase Matthew, man, he’s a great guy. He pretty much opened up — I’ve stayed at his house a ton. I actually just moved out last night. He’s put food on the table for me. My motorcycle is at his house in his garage, right now.”
A Nashville native, Matthew, 25, is experiencing a meteoric rise of his own in country music. After a rough few years due to some “poor choices” — homeless at 19 and using drugs — he straightened out his life, according to CMT, and signed a record deal with Warner Music Nashville in 2022. Matthew now averages 1.5 Million monthly listeners on Spotify and made his Grand Ole Opry debut in March.
In July, Stough told Country Now that the two met through their managers.
“My manager is really good friends with his manager and he had hit me up on Instagram and was like, ‘Hey man, when you get into town, let’s go ride motorcycles or something.’ I’m like, sure, alright. So that’s what we did. And we just hit it off.”
For his part, Matthew told the outlet in July that Stough is “genuine country folk,” which he said is hard to find in Nashville anymore.
“There’s not a lot of people that are really about it and you could tell as soon as you met that guy, or even seeing that guy on tv, he is just country as grits and biscuits,” Matthew said, adding that ‘he’s just a really good guy. He’s got a lot of awesome things coming.”
Colin Stough Says He’s Amazed How Welcoming People Have Been in Nashville
“I’ve been in Nashville for about four months now, and I still feel like I’ve got to put my GPS on to go to the grocery store,” Stough told Country Now. “I’m definitely adjusting a good bit. But I like being surrounded by my team because they’re all from Nashville. So it’s easier to work.”
Stough said another benefit of being in Nashville is conducting songwriting sessions with people he looks up to, like Jaren Johnston, the lead singer of The Cadillac Three.
“When I found out I was doing a writing session with him, I acted like a little fangirl with him for a little bit,” Stough admitted. “Before I left, he had given me a Telecaster. It’s the one I play on stage. And he was just like, ‘Hey, man. I think this would fit you really well.'”
Stough has been amazed by all the Nashville insiders he’s been able to meet, hang out with and work with, he told Country Now.
“I was saying in my own mind, ‘I’m the new kid on the block.’ But no, you’d be surprised at how many people text me to hang out, like ERNEST. I was at Big Loud the other day, writing. He showed up and introduced himself. I have a lot of respect for people like that.”
While things are going well in Nashville, Stough doesn’t want to forget where he’s from. So his latest single, “Promiseland,” is a tribute to his small town and his upbringing.
In a statement released via his record label, Stough said, “Man, ‘Promiseland’ describes me and my roots. It’s a song about where I’m from; and, it’s a reminder to myself that no matter where I am or what I’m doing, nothing or no one will change me.”