Where Would Josh Phillips Be Without a Broken Heart? [Exclusive Premiere]
Thank God for the girls who broke Josh Phillips' heart. One kickstarted his country music career and another led to his new single, "In a Bar Somewhere." Watch the North Carolina newcomer's acoustic performance of the heartbreaker during this Taste of Country exclusive.
Phillips moved to Nashville in Feb. 2014 on the heels of his friend and frequent collaborator Luke Combs, who was next in a long line of Tar Heel State singers and writers who took I-40 west to Music City. Phillips tells ToC it was like a torch being passed each time.
"It was like Chase Rice, and then he moved. And then Chris Lane and then he moved. And then it was just me and Luke for the longest time," the Sanford, N.C. native remembers. "Then Luke moved and then I moved."
A girl convinced Phillips he was talented enough to take a chance on himself. The college baseball player fancied himself a songwriter in the same way his father — a burly man who Phillips says only shares his feelings on paper — wrote poetry. He didn't believe anyone wanted to hear him until ...
"This was in college," he recalls, "I wrote this song trying to win her back and recorded a video of me singing it. Sent it to her and it worked. She was like, ‘You need to put out a record.'"
The bet was if his YouTube video of the song (called "Blessings," but as far as we can tell, no longer available) got 2,500 views in 24 hours, he had to record an album. It got nearly 8,000 views, so Phillips kept his end of the bargain, although he only toured with those songs and never released the project. Several years and many songs and shows later, he signed with Big Machine Records and wrote "In a Bar Somewhere" with Erik Dylan and Randy Montana. Lately the song has earned significant airplay on SirusXM's the Highway.
"I had just went through a breakup, so obviously a lot of it was from experience and it was telling a true story," he recalls, this time talking about a different girl. "I think we wrote that song in about an hour-and-a-half, two hours."
So if you see a sign on Phillips' door that reads "Heartbreakers Wanted," you know why. This emotional acoustic performance wasn't difficult, he shares, because he was able to access all of those old emotions. If it's a hit, the pain will surely be worth it.
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