Growing up in a middle class family just outside of Houston, Texas, Carlton Anderson watched his father, and plenty of others in the community work in “black gold,” the oil rigs. Anderson even tried his own hand at it.
“I did that just long enough to know it wasn’t what I wanted to do,” says Anderson. “I did a lot of odd jobs before picking up a guitar.”
Blessed with a talent for songwriting and a confident baritone, Anderson played in honkytonk bars around Texas, mixing originals with songs made famous by his heroes such as George Strait, Willie Nelson, and Alan Jackson. Soon knew he had a choice to make.
Instead of following his father into the oil business, Anderson enrolled in Belmont University’s music business program in Nashville. He became the first in his family to graduate college.
Along the way, he auditioned for The Voice, but didn’t make the final cut for the televised portion of the audition, for which he is now grateful.
“It got to the last 100 people and then all the teams filled up, but that was a blessing in disguise.”
Meanwhile, he was also knocking on doors around Music City.
“As a songwriter, you are used to being told ‘no’ before you are told ‘yes,’” he says. “I think I got told no by every publishing company in this town before Warner/Chappell said ‘yes’ in 2015.”
It didn’t take long for others in Nashville’s music community to take note of the warm Texas twang in Anderson’s baritone voice, and his throwback country sound.
Earlier this year, it was announced Anderson had joined Sony Music Nashville’s Arista Nashville imprint. He is managed by Morris Higham’s Robert Filhart and is aligned with ASCAP.
Anderson also earned his first official cut as a writer, having co-written “Where Cowboys Are King,” a track on Cody Johnson’s upcoming debut album for WMN, Ain’t Nothin’ To It.
During a visit to the MusicRow Magazine office, Anderson poured his own Texas-to-Tennessee story into the track “Raised,” penned with Trent Willmon and Phil O’Donnell.
He also offered his debut major label single, “Drop Everything,” penned by Rhett Akins, Matt Dragstrem, and Ashley Gorley. He penned another track, “Keep Abilene Beautiful,” with Tony Lane and Tom Douglas.
“It’s amazing to get into rooms with songwriters who are my heroes,” Anderson says. “I remember as a kid, thinking that George Strait was writing all this stuff, like a typical fan. I’ve been very blessed to write with some of these guys.”
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