Exclusive: Shaboozey Talks “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” Almost Not Making the Album, His “Rocky Career” and Becoming a “Pillar of Music”

Two months ago, most country music fans had never heard of Shaboozey. The rhythm-driven, genre-defying storyteller slid into the spotlight as a collaborator on Beyoncé’s “Cowboy Carter” album. Within weeks, Shaboozey released his chart-topping viral hit “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” and became a household name on his own merit.

He and Beyoncé made history as the first two black artists to top Billboard’s Hot Country Songs Chart with back-to-back No. 1 songs.

“Everyone in their career hopes you can have something like this happen,” Shaboozey told American. Songwriter. “I’ve had a rocky career. I’ve had points where I was like, ‘Man, am I really meant to do this?’ To have something like this that’s really working in such a real way shows that I’m meant to be here. I just needed to write the right song, and I just needed to just be consistent.”

Shaboozey released his highly anticipated 12-song album “Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going” on May 31. He described the collection as a reflection of his journey and the stories that shaped him. The singer said it isn’t “just an album but a piece of my soul.”

“A Bar Song (Tipsy)” almost didn’t make the project. He said the song has been complete less than six months, and he remembers being excited over the voice memos he and his co-writers made while writing the music. He believed people would love it. Shaboozey said his managers started “freaking out,” and by the time “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” progressed to a demo recording, he knew they had to get it out as fast as they could.

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Shaboozey Credits Beyoncé and Garth Brooks

The song was ready to go by the time Beyoncé released “Cowboy Carter.” Shaboozey was prepared with what he thought was a hit and saw the opportunity to capitalize on the attention he received through his inclusion on her album. Two weeks later, he sent “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” to streaming services.

“When you do make something that is authentic, and it needs to be heard, I think the universe does things—like puts certain steps in front of you to help you launch,” he said. “I understand that my duty is to do what my influences did, and that was create art, create your world, leave impact.”

Shaboozey namechecked Beyoncé and Garth Brooks and said they “stand alone as these pillars of music.”

“I want to be a pillar of music,” he said.

The Virginia native of Nigerian descent is closer to that dream than he’s ever been. Since he released “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” in April, the platinum summer anthem has risen to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and amassed more than 300 million streams. It also ascended to the Top 10 in several countries, even earning the No. 1 chart position in Canada, Sweden, Denmark and the UK’s Big 40.

“You’re seeing an increase every single day,” he said of the song’s success. “Nothing is better than that.”

“It’s Rare People Actually Succeed in this Thing”

Many of his friends have plaques commemorating their career wins. He said some people he knows have so many that they don’t know what to do with them. Shaboozey doesn’t have one yet, but he knows it’s coming.

“It’s cool to just have a moment now where I’m just in the conversation and respected in a way where it’s like, ‘Man, we always knew you could do it,’” he said. “It’s rare that people actually succeed in this thing.”

There aren’t many people of color in country music, and Shaboozey feels it was fortuitous that he crossed the genre at the same time as Beyoncé. He was on his own journey building his own legacy, and he thinks she saw that. He wants to show the world there are people who look like him in country music and inspire the next generation of black country artists.

“It’s like, ‘Hey, you can create what speaks to you,” he said. “Sometimes you got to be brave to do things like that. For the longest time, I was looked at as someone a little odd out of my friend group. I just kind of stuck to it and things played out in the end.”

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