Texas road warrior Grant Gilbert asks the flirtatious question “What’s Stopping Us” in his latest single, challenging his love interest to see where a potential relationship could go. Gilbert talked to Music Mayhem about the story behind the song, the all-star collaborations he has on the horizon, and what fans might not know about him.
Gilbert wrote “What’s Stopping Us” with fellow Texas native Jordan Walker and Erik Dylan, who tell a story about being hesitant to start over and try something new. “I feel like that’s what the whole kind of idea of this song is, is just giving something a shot and just seeing where it takes you, whatever it may be,” says Gilbert. “Whether it’s a relationship or whatever, it might be the best thing you ever did, who knows.”
“I’m pretty pleased with how it came out,” says Gilbert. “We went in the studio and Jonathan Singleton’s our producer, and we didn’t know what songs we were gonna cut, and that one just kind of felt like the right one, and so we decided to cut it and it’s been good so far.”
Growing up in Santo, Texas, Gilbert was influenced by artists like Josh Abbott, Wade Bowen, and William Clark Green and ultimately followed in their footsteps after attending Texas Tech University.
“It turns out all those guys went to school there and they started out playing at the Blue Light,” Gilbert shares. “And so I’d start out going to songwriter night and playing anywhere in Lubbock that would have us on a Wednesday night at Crickets, or a Thursday night, four-hour Buffalo Wild Wings gig, playing literally every night of the week anywhere that would let us in Lubbock.”
Gilbert added, “I just looked up to those guys and I think they kind of paved away for a guy from Texas to do it. I just tried to follow in their footsteps and they really had open arms and have been super good to us and been huge influences on me from day one.”
Now, the Texas singer has come full circle, with Abbott managing him. Gilbert co-wrote “Denying Desires” with Abbott, who was impressed by Gilbert’s talent. In July 2018, Gilbert received a text while on the way to a show at Nashville’s Basement East from Abbott, who wanted to manage him.
Gilbert revealed that he’s been in the studio recording new music and has plans to release a collaboration with Abbott as well.
“We’re trying to get all of our friends to sing on ’em that are gonna be the features on ’em. I can tell you one of them is Josh Abbott,” says Gilbert. “We’ve got like two or three more coming, so it should be exciting… we’ve got a couple of Nashville buddies hanging on it too, but they might be from the Texas, Oklahoma area,” he hinted.
Gilbert says that the new music he’s recording is “pretty out of the box,” the result of six intense months of songwriting, trying to find the right fit.
“We were gonna schedule studio time and we felt like we didn’t have the songs yet,” recalls Gilbert. “We thought we knew a couple we wanted to record and then we met again and tried to decide what we were gonna cut and we thought we didn’t have ’em. So I spent like two straight months writing songs every day in Nashville. Then we got our studio date and went in and cut ’em. I think it’s the best stuff we’ve done by far, I’m excited about it.”
In an Instagram post, Gilbert shared a photo from the studio with the caption, “Been in the kitchen cooking up some new songs”
When choosing songs to record, Gilbert focuses on a combination of what feels authentic to him and what his core audience would enjoy. He says it’s “music that can help somebody or get somebody through something in that phase of life, whatever you may be going through. Whether you’re in college trying to have a good time at the party, or just went through a breakup and just wanna listen to something to make you feel good.”
Over on TikTok, Gilbert has been sharing “Get to know me” videos, with fun facts like how his first name is actually Gregory. He says he’s always gone by Grant since he was a kid, but it’s caused some issues – especially since he shares the same first name as his brother, who also goes by his middle name. “I felt like it was a terrible mistake by my parents,” Gilbert laughed. “Like going to college, I got his ACT scores and he got mine, they got flipped up.”
When he’s not writing, in the studio, or on the road, Gilbert enjoys spending time outdoors and working the land. “We have a bunch of land out here in Texas and I enjoy being out here and just spending time on it,” says Gilbert. “I just enjoy filling deer feeders and hunting with my brother and checking cows. That’s what I was doing before this, I was out feeding cows.” His bucket list is centered around nature too, saying that he wants to go to Alaska or go elk hunting in Colorado.
So what’s on the horizon for Gilbert? He’s finishing up shows for the year and starting to plan for 2024 with a purpose. “I am trying to wake up every day wondering what we can do to make a difference and just trying to matter.”