Meet The 30-Year-Old Behind Some Of Country Music’s Biggest Hits

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Written by: Lindsey Ferguson | August 12

Johnny Bulford, the 30-year-old co-writer behind Lee Brice’s hit number-one single “Woman Like You”, has been writing songs for Nashville’s top artists and making a name for himself as not only a top lyricist, but also as a renowned performer as he and his girlfriend Janell Wheeler, a former contestant on American Idol, craft their first album together.

We caught up with Johnny to get the scoop on how he feels about being the mastermind behind so many influential songs, and what the future has in store for this country music super star.

As a singer/songwriter, how has it been writing songs for other artists to perform? Do you ever have to get into a different mindset depending on the artist you’re writing for? 

I very rarely write a song “at” an artist. When I’m writing with someone, I’m just trying to find the best song in the room. Sometimes it’s a massive, four on the floor smash for an artist like Luke Brian. Other times it is a ballad that sounds like Frank Sinatra would have sang it decades ago. Whatever the style is, the goal is to find the best blend of the talent in the room.


Why country music? What about it drew you in and when would you say that happened? 

I was 13 years old and my Grandma Bulford played me some Garth Brooks. Till then, all I had heard was hymns and southern gospel. The story in the lyrics is what pulled me in. Even now, my favorite thing to listen to is the way a good country songwriter can twist and turn a lyric.

What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your career thus far, and what was it that got you through? 

I had to sing on national television in the final round of the Colgate Country Showdown right after I lost my granny. She is the one who bought me my first guitar and encouraged me to be a singer/songwriter from the beginning. Tragically, on Mother’s Day earlier that year, granny was in a fatal car accident. After I had won the competition, the host mentioned granny unexpectedly. So I guess NOT CRYING on national television was the hardest obstacle I have seen. I like to think that granny helped me through that one.


I wouldn’t really call Orlando a “country music hub” — was it intimidating making the move to Nashville? 

I loved it (being from Orlando)! It was great being one of the few country singers in my area growing up. But the thing that made me grow as a writer and performer the most was my move to Nashville. It is very inspiring to be around so many people who think and speak the same way I do, in lyrics.


Do you have a favorite song you’ve written so far? If so, who was it for and what makes it your favorite? 

I have this song that I wrote about my relationship with my girlfriend. Specifically, the song is about a guy who is caught daydreaming a little during a conversation with his girlfriend. He then explains why he was so absent minded. It turns out that he was thinking about all of the life he had to live to finally find her. The song is called “On My Way To You” and it will be on the record that my girlfriend and I are recording right now.

If you could impart general life advice to the people reading this, what would it be? 

Things don’t always go your way. I think that the trick is to manufacture as many opportunities for things to go right as you can. One of them is bound to work out!!!


And lastly, what does ambition mean to you?

I think it’s an animal that lives in the water and on land — I’m kidding.

I think it’s the fuel behind greatness! But like any fuel, too little fuel means that you never getting to your destination. And too much fuel means that your engine explodes.


You can check out Johnny at his website or follow his musical journey on Twitter, or Facebook.

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Lindsey Ferguson

Lindsey Ferguson is a native Floridian and a graduate of The Florida State University. When she's not contributing awesome articles to Ambitious, she's a project manager on the Association of Experts, Writers, and Speakers. Lindsey enjoys the simple things like good food and good beer, and spends her free time cooking, traveling (when she can afford it), watching Netflix and cuddling with her puppy sidekick Meeko (yes, he's named after Pocahontas's pet raccoon...Pocahontas is Lindsey's favorite Disney princess).

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