Three weeks ago, Thad Cockrell was ready to give up on his music career, but thanks to Jimmy Fallon, the musician can hold off on his plans to look for a new job. On Tuesday, Cockrell made his debut on The Tonight Show, performing his song "Swingin'" with the Roots in a remote performance.
"Swingin'" is a breezy rock-inflected track about giving your goal your best shot. "If I'm gonna go down / I wanna go down swinging," Cockrell sings. "I wanna go down hard / With all of my heart." The song appears on Cockrell's album If in Case You Feel the Same, which was released last summer. In a video on his Instagram page, Cockrell shared the serendipitous series of events that led to his booking on the show, which started when Fallon heard his song playing in a hardware store.
"I'm going to get emotional just telling this story," he began before thanking his collaborators on If in Case You Feel the Same as well as his fans for their support. "I'll skip to January 3rd," he continued. "I'm writing down my goals and intentions for 2021, and number four, it was like, 'Walk towards health, do some things like this and look for a new career.'" Cockrell explained that he "wanted to be open" and has "other things I can do," but before he started his search, his life changed.
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"The next day, I sent off a list of things to do to my managers, and it was like, 'Listen, I've made a lot of music during the pandemic and I have an unreleased leaks album that I want to release, so let's just get it all out there, and while we're doing that in 2021, I'm going to start looking for something else.' And little did I know, there was someone that was walking through a hardware store and he heard my song over the speakers and he Shazamed it."
"This person is walking through the hardware store, and that person is Jimmy Fallon," he continued, noting that when he wrote "Swingin,'" he was trying to "fight my cynicism." After sending his list of goals to his managers and got a call back, but it wasn't what he was expecting. "They're like, 'Hey, we're not calling you about the list of things that you want to do this year,'" he recalled. "I'm like, 'Okay, why are you calling me?' And he was like, 'Jimmy heard your song and wants you to come play on The Tonight Show."
Cockrell urged his followers to share his story in an effort to encourage others. "I just want to let you know, don't give up," he said. "Just keep going. And I know there's a lot of talk about pivoting, but there's something else to be said about staying the course."