Jerrod Niemann is quickly on his way to scoring yet another chart-topping hit with his current single, 'What Do You Want' from his 'Judge Jerrod and the Hung Jury' album. The tune is the follow-up release to his first No. 1 single, 'Lover, Lover,' but if 'What Do You Want' hits the top, it will be his first No. 1 as a songwriter.
"Throughout my life, I would write songs, and then I couldn't find them anywhere," Niemann tells Taste of Country of his start in songwriting. "I would always wonder what happened to them. Well, my parents were nabbing them and saving them in a folder. When I graduated high school, they made this chronological thing ... age 8, age 9, age 10 ... now 'songwriting' at age 8 is a very loose term [laughs]!"
Songwriting is something that Niemann takes quite seriously these days, as opposed to when he first started penning lyrics. These days, Niemann's song topics are about life, love and heartbreak, but when you're 8-years-old, it's a whole different ballgame!
"I remember one chorus was 'We only get one lifetime / That's all we've got / We only get one lifetime / And a cat gets nine.' Genius. I will just say there were no publishing companies knocking down my door, but I did at least grasp the concept of a hook and the point ... not very good ones! It's cool to look through those old goofy things. Most of them were making fun of my sister. One is called 'Amy's Butt Looks Like a Hat.' I don't know how her butt resembled a hat, but at some point she must have had a hat-shaped butt!"
While he jokes that it's "still to be argued" that he now has a real talent for the craft, Niemann has scored many outside cuts over time with artists such as Garth Brooks, Neal McCoy, Jamey Johnson, Julie Roberts, Flynnville Train and Zora Jones.
"I heard this quote, and I wish I had come up with it myself: 'Music chooses you; you don't choose music,'" Niemann says. "You can love it, but once it owns you, you're screwed and there's nothing you can do about it. I didn't really grow up in a musical family, I just always loved it, [have] always written songs and have always been attracted to the creative process. When we were making the album, I was producing it with my buddy, and I didn't realize how much I enjoyed that and how fulfilling that was. It's just as creative and exciting and challenging. I just love all aspects of it. First and foremost, I'm just a fan of music, so just to be part of it is awesome."