Country singer Eric Paslay is easily recognizable by his scruffy red beard, towering height and ever-present baseball cap. With his hit single "Friday Night," a summery jam about late-night drives and weekend fun, he sang his way into even bigger renown.
But before he entered the spotlight, Paslay was penning big hits for other artists. He co-wrote Jake Owen's No. 1 country single "Barefoot Blue Jean Night," Love & Theft's "Angel Eyes" and Eli Young Band's "Even If It Breaks Your Heart."
"There's really no rhyme or reason to it, sometimes it's just good timing for another artist to use that song," Paslay said. "It's almost like (the songs) decide on their own. And it can't be a hit unless people hear it."
Luckily, many of Paslay's songs have gone on to become hits. Even if he's offered them up to other singers, Paslay said he still plays them at his own shows.
Fans will have a chance to hear all his hit songs on July 25 during the Beaufort Water Festival's River Dance at Waterfront Park. Paslay will headline the show with opening acts The Phoenix Drive Band and Majory Lee.
Paslay's passion for songwriting began when he started playing guitar and writing lyrics at age 15. He grew up in Texas and later relocated to Nashville to pursue a music career, stopping first at Middle Tennessee State University, where he majored in music business.
In February, Paslay's self-titled debut album opened at No. 4 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart, fueled by "Friday Night" landing a No. 6 peak on the Hot Country Songs list.
Although his success now comes with his own name firmly stamped on it, Paslay remains humble.
"I think writing a song is a gift. I just show up and hope heaven sends me another song that day," he said. "Certain songs end up going to someone else and that's cool. My goal is just to always write a great song."
Follow reporter Erin Shaw at twitter.com/IPBG_ErinShaw.