Sue Bonzell: Welcome to Cow Chair Country powered by vLiveCast. I’m your host Sue Bonzell. I get to highlight new up-and-coming country artists. And I want to say a big thank you to SOCO Private Security for making this show possible today. And today in the studio, we have Ryan Griffin.

 He has written a number one song for Kelsea Ballerini, toured with Lady A, Old Dominion, and Kelsea. It’s Ryan Griffin. Hey, Ryan.


Ryan Griffin: Hey, what’s up? How are you?

Sue Bonzell: I’m doing great. Now, are you in Nashville today?

Ryan Griffin: I am. Yes, ma’am. I’m actually at the management office here in downtown Nashville.

Sue Bonzell: Excellent. Well, as you may know, I’m out here in wine country in California. And we’re going to talk more about tequila in just a minute, but do you like wine? I have to ask.

Ryan Griffin: I love wine. A good, robust red is where it’s at for me.

Sue Bonzell: Okay. So a nice cab maybe.

Ryan Griffin: Yes. Ma’am.

Sue Bonzell: He’s like, “Yeah, I’ll take that.”

Ryan Griffin: Any day.

Sue Bonzell: Any day. We’ve got great wines out here. I’d love to share them with you. So, we go wine out here. You have a new song called Salt, Lime & Tequila. I found you on TikTok. You were all over the place. I mean, seriously, I was like, “This song is so much fun.” So how much experience or knowledge did you have of tequila before you released the song?

Ryan Griffin: Yeah. So when we’re on the road, that’s the one drink that I can have and it doesn’t mess me up vocally. So I started discovering tequila, and the Old Dominion boys love tequila. And so I’d share some of theirs and that’s how I got some of my knowledge in it. But one of the biggest things for me was just, I wanted to write a song that gave me this laid back feeling any time that I got stressed out. And I was sitting in the room with some of my friends and I just told them the vibe I was chasing and then this song popped out, just fell into our lap.

Sue Bonzell: So there was tequila involved.

Ryan Griffin: Oh, of course. There’s been way too much tequila involved recently, if I’m going to be honest.

Sue Bonzell: Well, I’m impressed that you’re like, that’s the drink that you can drink. I’m like, I got to be careful with tequila, man. That stuff sneaks up on me and it is dangerous.

Ryan Griffin: It does sneak up, but it always sneaks up on me until, it puts me in a party mode. So it works out well.

Sue Bonzell: Yeah, definitely. Well, now I saw on one of your TikToks that you got a package in the mail, and I love that you got this package and you opened it live and it was a box of tequila from Old Dominion.

Ryan Griffin: Yeah. That was such an awesome surprise because they just came out with their own tequila brand. And I got the pleasure of trying it and loved it and they knew I was obsessed with it. So as a congratulations for Salt, Lime, & Tequila doing so well, they just showed up at my doorstep, shipped me a bottle of it. It was pretty amazing.

Sue Bonzell: That’s pretty awesome. I mean what a great thing to like, “Oh, hey, you know what? I got a box of tequila from Old Dominion.”

Ryan Griffin: First off, the fact that tequila showed up at my doorstep, secondly, that it was from the OD boys, they’re family. So they’ve treated me so well over the years and given me so many opportunities to get out in front of fans. And so it was a really sweet gift.

Sue Bonzell: That is awesome. So now you did go out on the road with them. What was that like? What was that experience like with Old Dominion?

Ryan Griffin: They’re, like I said, they’re like a family. So all the guys, they just cut up and rag on each other. They never take anything too seriously. And that’s the vibe that I want to create on the road as well. And that’s why the song fits so perfectly in that. You know what I mean?

Sue Bonzell: Oh, it’s perfect. So, I mean, I’ve been seeing lots of your TikToks now. Sometimes you’re on a beach, sometimes you’re not on a beach. So are you just cruising around wherever and just do a TikTok?

Ryan Griffin: Anytime that I can get to a beach or get to water, my whole family’s that way. I have two boys and my wife, and anytime we can get to the beach, we’re down there. We just actually, I grew up down in South Florida and spent part of my time down in the Keys growing up. So we just went down to the Keys and I brought my boys and my wife down there and I just showed them around what it was like growing up there. And we actually spent three weeks and were on boats and in the water and on beaches and of course drinking tequila. And it was a pretty awesome little vacation.

Sue Bonzell: That is so cool. I am sure that your boys absolutely loved that.

Ryan Griffin: They do. They’re both beach babies and water babies. So I have one that’s just about to turn one and he just cruises down the beach. The sand doesn’t bother him. The water doesn’t bother him. It’s pretty amazing.

Sue Bonzell: Okay, so you’re busy. So you’ve got a one-year-old and how old is the other one?

Ryan Griffin: Five and a half. Yeah, he’s going to be six here soon. And he is just a blast. We had a daddy/son date on the way back from Florida. And it was just so much fun spending that one-on-one time with him.

Sue Bonzell: They get to be fun at that age where you can actually have a really cool conversation and they give you information. Then you go, “Wow. Where did that come from?” That’s incredible at that age.

Ryan Griffin: The stuff that he says just blows my mind daily. Daily, my wife and I are sharing stories back and forth about what came out of that kid’s mouth.

Sue Bonzell: Sometimes you just never know.

Ryan Griffin: You never know. That’s so true.

Sue Bonzell: So, okay. So Salt, Lime & Tequila. How many streams, what kind of statistics do you have on the song so far?

Ryan Griffin: I mean, it’s crazy. Streams are continually going up week after week. I think we’re about to hit 2 million on Spotify. Apple’s just as close. And TikTok, I put out two videos and they’ve both gone over four million, five, six million. And the comments that people are leaving. I read all the comments and they just… I feel like we’re building something where it’s just very real. It’s very genuine. This is who I am. I grew up in the Keys in South Florida and love the beach and I love tequila. And this laid back vibe is what we always want to create in our family and our household. So having people, reading the comments and having people be so genuinely invested. And they’ll be like, “We’re so proud of you.” “We saw it the first time a couple of months ago.” And “We just heard it on XM.” And people send me screenshots all the time of hearing it on XM. And it’s just so cool.

Sue Bonzell: Nice. It’s kind of like a life anthem for you a little bit it sounds like.

Ryan Griffin: 100%. Yeah. There was a song during the pandemic, a Surfaces song called Sunday Best. And it was the song that my wife and I would turn on anytime. The kids were driving us crazy or life was stressing us out or whatever pandemic worries were hitting us hard. And when I got in the room with my friends, I was like, “I want to write a song that does this for other people. What this song did for me, I want to do that for other people.” And that’s where Salt, Lime & Tequila came from. I mean, it was just, came from a very genuine place.

Sue Bonzell: That is so cool. So now are you doing any filming for a video? Is there a video going to be coming out? Because I mean, of course everybody’s going to want to see that video for sure.

Ryan Griffin: Well, we just put out a lyric video using all of the videos that were created on TikTok that fans created. And then we’re throwing around concepts right now for the main music video. And we’re hitting the road here at the end of the month and going to get out and start playing it live for people. And I cannot wait to do that. It’s going to be, I mean it’s been over a year since I’ve been on stage. And it’s going to be a big deal. We had our first rehearsal two nights ago and the boys and I, we were like, “We got to play music eventually.” We just sat there and talked and hung out and jammed and stuff, but it was so nice. So nice getting back on stage with those guys.

Sue Bonzell: I am so excited that everybody is getting back on stage. I mean, thank goodness. I hope I get to see you live at some point in my life.

Ryan Griffin: We’re going to be out on the West Coast-

Sue Bonzell: You’re going to be out in California?

Ryan Griffin: Yes. In July, we’re playing two shows in San Diego and one up in Oregon as well. So the end of July, you’ve got to come.

Sue Bonzell: You know what? We have direct flights from Sonoma County to San Diego, so-

Ryan Griffin: Yes? Perfect.

Sue Bonzell: I think be able to arrange that. So now you did write a number one song for Kelsea Ballerini called Dibs, which I love that song. I have a girlfriend, her nickname is Dibs because honestly, back when we were all single and she was walking in the room going “Dibs.”

Ryan Griffin: Yeah? That’s so funny.

Sue Bonzell: So tell me about that. Doing some songwriting, was that specifically for Kelsea? How did that all take place?

Ryan Griffin: Yeah, Kelsea and I have always been really close from the very beginning when she moved to town. And we would write all the time and we landed on this song. It wasn’t even supposed to be written, honestly. We had already written a song that day. We went into the kitchen at the publishing company. We we’re all hanging out. We’re like, “Hey, what do you want to do?” And all of the rest of us were over 21 at that time. And we’re like, “Hey, let’s go to the bar and have a drink.” And she’s like, “Yo, I’m 18 or 19. I can’t do that.” So we said, “Well, let’s go write another song.” So we went and sat down in the room and wrote another song. And she had this idea. She was like, “I don’t know why, but I just keep hearing this lyric dibs in my head.”

              And we sat down and the song fell out in about 45 minutes. And when we wrote it, I remember we were all like, “We don’t know where this song’s going to go, or what’s going to happen,” because Kelsea was still really young in her career. And we were like, “But this song just feels like a hit.” And then, I mean, a few, maybe it was a few months later or something, half a year later, she called me and told me it was going to be, she was going to single it off her record. And that was huge. That was so huge. And then it went to number one.

Sue Bonzell: And she’s just the sweetest thing. I got to meet her a long, long time ago on a country cruise. I actually met her in an elevator. You’re on a cruise and everybody’s there. And she was just the sweetest thing. She was so, so sweet. So I hope [crosstalk 00:10:53]. Yeah, she is. So I’m so glad that you have your guitar sitting right there just ready to share with us your new song, Salt, Lime, & Tequila.

Ryan Griffin: Yes, ma’am. Mind if I play it for you?

Sue Bonzell: I would love it. Thank you.

Ryan Griffin: All right, here we go.

              [singing 00:11:24]

Sue Bonzell: I love it. Yay. Thank you. I love your little giggles in there too. That’s perfect. Because you can tell you’re just having fun with it, which I love.

Ryan Griffin: We had so much fun cutting that vocal and I laughed at the end of it. Because I was just like, “This is so much fun. I could sing this all day long.” And he sent me the comp of the vocal and he put the laugh at the end. He kept it. And I was like, “Oh, this is perfect.”

Sue Bonzell: Oh, that’s awesome. Well, yeah, that’s the authenticity. It’s like, it really is. It’s you. It’s totally you. So, okay. So now when you were growing up, when did you get involved in music?

Ryan Griffin: Oh my goodness. I mean, if you talk to my mom, she’ll tell you that I was humming melodies and singing before I was actually putting sentences together, talking. And I would sit in the backseat, I have two older brothers and my mom, I never got to pick what was on the radio. So I listened to Vince Gill and George Strait and Brooks & Dunn, and I love it. And that’s where I learned to sing. I was sitting in the back seat and I would just follow all those melodies. And so from a really, really young age, I’ve always been just influenced and interested in music. But I’d say when I was 15 or so, we moved up to North Central Florida to a little town called Ocala, and there I started realizing that I wanted to be a performer. I wanted to sing songs. I wanted to write songs.

              And I’d play everywhere that would let me play. A 4-H Club stage on the bed of a trailer to at a radio station there, they let me come sing at their little whatever they were putting on, promo things they were putting on. And I’d go sit, they’d be like, “This is your parking spot. You stand here and play in this one parking spot” at this Ford dealership. And it was anywhere and everywhere that I could play and get my music out there and sing and interact with fans. So it’s been from a very, very young age.

Sue Bonzell: That’s awesome. Now I know you have huge family support. I think I saw a TikTok of you sharing this song with your dad, which I thought was pretty cool too. And I’m like, “That’s awesome.” And he’s like, “Yes!”

Ryan Griffin: It’s so funny because I didn’t even really plan on doing that. I just always loved this song. And my dad and I were actually heading to dump some stuff from my garage. And every time he comes up, I always put him to work. He helps me out because they still live down in Florida. And so we were driving in the truck and I was like, “Pops, can I play you a song real quick?” And he’s like, “Yeah.” So I threw the phone up and I played him Salt, Lime, & Tequila. And his reaction was perfect because he’s so that guy. He’s like, “Oh, I could hear this on the boat.” He’s Captain Dan.

Sue Bonzell: Totally. Oh man. Yeah. This is definitely a boat worthy song for the summer. Like I said, it’s your summer must have song for this year, for 2021. Definitely. So if you guys, if you want to find it on Spotify, I’ve got a playlist Cow Chair Country, that’s the playlist on Spotify. And you are on it. You can find Ryan Griffin there. Where else can we find you, Ryan?

Ryan Griffin: It’s on all the platforms. So you can buy it on iTunes, listen to it on Apple, Amazon, Pandora, Spotify, any of them.

Sue Bonzell: Awesome. And so where are you going to be playing live? Anything coming up that you can tell us about?

Ryan Griffin: Yeah. So we’re playing a festival in Colorado. It’s actually in Mack, Colorado, Grand Junction area. And then we go and we’re playing, like I was talking about before, Oregon, San Diego, two shows in San Diego, playing in Montana. We’re playing Panama City, which I’m so excited because it’s Florida. I’m a Florida boy. And so we’re playing, they have a big festival down on the beach in Panama City for Labor Day weekend. So we’re going to be playing down there. And it’s just, we’re excited. We’re excited to get out there and play this song and see people’s reactions and get to hang out with the fans again.

Sue Bonzell: I bet. Well, that sounds like a great tour. Well, and I really, really want to thank you for taking the time to chat with me, play the song, and hopefully we’ll get to see you live very soon.

Ryan Griffin: I hope so. Come down to San Diego. We’ll hook you up. We’ll take care of you.

Sue Bonzell: It’s totally on. Thanks a lot, Ryan.

Ryan Griffin: Awesome. Thank you so much.

Sue Bonzell: Thanks for watching Cow Chair Country. I’m Sue Bonzell. Make sure you follow me on TikTok and like and subscribe. And of course, if you have an up-and-coming country artist that you would love for me to interview, please let me know in the comments.