With six current singles at country radio, and two more on the way, Hunter Phelps has arrived as a sought-after songwriter in music city. The Niceville, Florida native earned his first No.1 with Chris Lane’s “I Don’t Know About You” in 2018 and has continued to gain momentum since, working under Ashley Gorley’s wing at Tape Room Music.
The now esteemed songwriter manages to balance an artist career on top of it all, beginning with a debut EP, I Hope It Starts Raining, in 2017. Since then, he’s released five songs himself that felt too personal to pitch. That was not the case with his latest track, “Whiskey Mode.” Phelps felt this one was too good to keep for himself.
“I thought it was awesome as soon as we wrote it,” Phelps tells American Songwriter about the song he co-wrote with Brent Anderson—whom he credits for the concept. “We pitched it everywhere we could send it, demoed it twice, and still no one bit. After a while, I knew this song was too good to sit on a hard drive so I hit up Chris (La Corte) to produce it for me as an artist, and he crushed it.”
On April 30, Phelps delivered the single with an accompanying lyric video that details a concept that anyone known to drunk dial can appreciate. If it were an app, “Whiskey Mode” would work like airplane mode—preventing any incoming or outgoing calls or texts until it is turned “off.”
“I thought it was one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard,” shares Phelps. “A lot of people have been there before. I’ve never listened to a song I had a hand in writing more than I have listened to this one, so I’m pumped to get it out there.”
“Whiskey Mode” follows Phelps’ October 2020 release ‘Silverado.’ His current radio cuts include “Cold Beer Calling My Name” (Jameson Rogers feat. Luke Combs), “That Ain’t Me No More” (Matt Stell), “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” (Chase Rice feat. Florida Georgia Line), “Give Heaven Some Hell” (HARDY), “Thinkin’ Bout You” (Dustin Lynch feat. Mackenzie Porter), and “Hot Beer” (Dillon Carmichael).
Throughout the pandemic, Phelps’ dialed in on songwriting and expects even more radio cuts later this year. However, he maintains his artist arsenal—a Dropbox full of songs he wants to record himself—and shares there are two new songs currently in the hopper.
“It’s like anything else,” he says humbly. “The more I write, I am honing what I feel gets better every time and I owe a lot of that to Ashley. He tells me why something is wrong, and it helps tremendously to have someone like that in your ear, and training your ear. I keep getting closer to what I want for a song.”
Listen to Hunter Phelps’ new single, “Whiskey Mode” here.