Over the summer, rising country star Jordan Harvey become a TikTok sensation after posting a video of his song "Alabama Girl." Hilariously, however, the singer-songwriter had no idea at the time because he was busy "having tacos" with a friend when the tune took off. PopCulture.com recently had a chance to chat with Harvey via Zoom, ahead of his Las Vegas release show for his debut EP, It Is What It Is.
During our conversation, the self-described Caledonian Cowboy dished on his TikTok stardom, getting engaged to his very own Alabama girl, and the "amicable" decision to part ways with his band King Calaway which led to him spending two years working on his new project. "This has been about two years of hard work all coming together," Harvey told us. "These songs, I started writing roughly about two years ago. I was back in Scotland for the pandemic. I just decided that I was going to lean into it and just write as much as I can because I was stuck in the house. Actually, 'I Will' and 'Overnight' were both written in my mom's bedroom, believe it or not."
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Harvey went on to share that it was his exit from King Calaway that created the space for him to work on some new music and craft more personal songs. "We, as a band, were still together heading into the pandemic. In the midst of that... I think that's when we amicably agreed that it's better for everyone that they go off and do their thing and I go and do my thing. It wasn't, there was no hard feelings. I love the guys. I'm fans of their music. Everyone's great. I had such an amazing time in King Calaway. I just think for a lot of people the pandemic was a real reset. It made you reevaluate life, really."
"So for me, the next chapter was going out on my own," he continued. "It's crazy that in the pandemic, I just mentioned, I decided that, well, what I'm going to do is lean into this and I'm going to write as much as I possibly can and get fit again. So I was walking all the time, I was writing all the time. Then that's how 'Overnight' and 'I Will' happened. Then I sent those songs back over to Broken Bow Records over in Nashville, and I got the call and said, 'Well hey, we love these songs. There's a deal on the table. Get back here as soon as you can.' So that's how it all happened." Harvey made it clear that nothing about It Is What Is came together "overnight," saying, "This record's been, oh goodness, two and a half years I've been working on this record."
One of the tracks on the new EP is "Alabama Girl," a song written about Harvey's fiancé, who is from The Yellowhammer State. The song became a big hit on TikTok about six months ago, and it happened so fast that Harvey barely had time to finish his dinner between posting the video and its surge of popularity. "I was meeting a buddy of mine for some tacos in the evening and I just posted. I was out with my friends the night before and my friend had a camera and was like, 'Hey, let me just film you singing to your song because it comes out in two weeks.' I was like, 'Sure, let's just do it.' So we did it. I thought the video looked cool."
"I threw it up. She told me to put some text over it. That's what I did," he continued. "Then I'm sitting having tacos with my buddy and he's like, 'You know that your video's blowing up.' I was like, 'What do you mean blowing up?' Because I was used to getting 300 views on videos. Then I looked and it was like 10,000. I was like, 'Oh whoa, I'm famous. 10,000.' Never expecting it to go to way over a million. But it was like, goodness, that was crazy."
Harvey never let the success go to his head, though, confessing, "That was a really humbling time, but a super exciting time as well because that really helped the song, and then that got the song played in the stadium there in Alabama, in Tuscaloosa. I feel like people started to source me as an artist from that song. So it was great that it happened on the first song, which was I'm very lucky and very grateful for that to happen."
"It was awesome, man," he added. "It was such a cool thing. Honestly, so many great things have come from that song. I talk about the stadium, but just opportunities to be in Alabama and work with companies and radio stations and the football team and stuff just from that song. And, obviously, my girlfriend being from Alabama, that never hurts either. I'm always in the good books."
Making the happy ending even more rapturous, Harvey and his very own Alabam girl, Madison Fendley, got engaged over the holidays. "We were over in Scotland visiting family and having Christmas," he said, then going on to share the story. "I always wanted to get engaged in front of a castle. She had actually said to me when we met. She was like, 'I'm a big fan of the UK and Scotland and I love Harry Potter and I'd love to get married in front of a castle one day.' I was like, 'Hey, I got you.' She had no idea. She had no idea about it. I got down on one knee in front of a castle and she said yes, which is incredible."
Even after all the incredible moments he's enjoyed over the past several months, Harvey assured us he is just getting started. "Next Saturday I'm playing at the Hobart Theater in Indiana," he revealed. "Then after that, I'm actually on a radio tour right now all across North America visiting all the country stations. So that's taken up a lot of my time right up until roughly at the end of March."
"Then there'll be a lot of shows getting added to the calendars for the second quarter, April through to July," he added. "Then looking at some other opportunities in Q3 to Q4 on the back half of the year. So yeah, keeping very busy... which is exciting." Click here to check out the It Is What It Is EP on Harvey's official website. Stay tuned to Pop Culture.com for more exciting country music news, reviews, and interviews!