#CFF2024 Artists' Spotlight: Aaron Watson
Aaron Watson is a man forever looking to the horizon. Where other artists might rest on their laurels, he consistently presses onward to the next frontier, cutting through lazy industry wisdom in favor of success won on his own terms. He is the first independent male country artist ever to debut an album at No. 1 on the Billboard Country chart, a feat recognized in the Country Music Hall of Fame. He has earned a litany of prestigious awards, hundreds of millions of streams on his music, shared the stage with country music legends Willie Nelson and Alan Jackson, and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for multiple charities. This next chapter of his trailblazing career sees him deep in the weeds on two projects: the first, an album of covers dedicated to his daughter; the second, a 2024-slated album of originals that promises to be his most daring and audacious release to date. “My goal is to put out the best country album in all of country music in 2024,” he says simply, “It sounds crazy, but then pretty much everything I’ve done sounded crazy until I did it.”
Watson hails from Amarillo in West Texas and began writing songs whilst still in high school. He began performing in college, eventually forming a band and developing a loyal following. Despite being approached by major labels, Watson chose the road less traveled and released his work independently. This turned out to be the right call when his album “Real Good Time” charted in the top ten nationwide on Country Billboard. An unheard-of feat at the time. With the taste of success fresh on his lips, Watson pushed onward and created “Underdog” which became the first Country album released independently to chart at number one. “People told us that it had never been done. It was impossible. I don’t put so much stock in that word anymore.”
Success built upon success with Watson’s follow up albums. However, 2020 heralded a slow down for the artist by way of the COVID-19 pandemic and an unexpected vocal cord surgery. “That time out reminded me what a blessing this is. To get to do what I love, sing the songs that I write and have people sing them along with me.” Watson was keen to get back to his fans, and to make them feel like a part of the family more than ever before.
“Me and my thirteen year old daughter Jolee Kate had been talking a lot about music, particularly female singers who write their own stuff. I wanted her to understand the power that comes with owning your own voice.” Out of those conversations came Cover Girl, a collection of covers of mold-breaking female country singers performed by Aaron, with his daughter joining him on vocals for one track. “I had no plans for the rest of the world to hear it, but the more people I told, the more people loved it. So we’re doing it as a full release, I’m so excited!”
Aaron Watson is nothing if not audacious, and his promise to fans that his next album of originals will be the best Country album of 2024 stands firm. By his own admission, the songs are, by-and-large, completed, yet Watson continues to push himself to make them better. "I love every second of what I get to do, but if making music is a marathon (and it is), I want to collapse to the ground the second after I cross the finish line. Nothing left to give." Aaron Watson is a man constantly reaffirming his dedication to the craft of songwriting, and it is this commitment to quality and treating his fans with respect that has proved him, time and again, to be the living North Star for country music’s free and indomitable spirit.
We are so excited to welcome Aaron Watson to the Main Stage at #CFF2024. Connect with us @countryfanfest on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Be a fan on Facebook!
Adapted from Aaron Watson's Bio