Newcomer Andrew Jannakos Breaks Through With Viral Country Hit “Gone Too Soon”
Former The Voice contestant and indie artist Andrew Jannakos has a debut song roaring up the charts. This week it sits at No. 12 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. Within days of its official release, “Gone Too Soon” earned 28,000 downloads and more than 2.4 million digital streams. The song also debuted at No. 1 on the Country Digital Song Sales chart, at No. 2 on the all-genre Digital Song Sales chart, and at No. 1 on the Emerging Artists list.
“It was a really humbling experience,” Jannakos tells MusicRow. “You see songs go viral all the time, but when it happens to you, and I see people then start streaming all my other music and my platforms start going up, it feels great to see that our hard work is paying off.”
These chart successes are not too shabby for a guy whose first-ever performance in front of an audience came less than two years ago—in front of millions of people when he did the blind auditions for The Voice.
“It was pretty terrifying,” he recalls. “It’s crazy to look back and think how far I’ve come as a performer. It’s all about dedication. I’m young and I’m hungry, and I’m ready for whatever gets thrown at me.”
He joined Team Adam [Levine], and though he was ultimately eliminated during the battle rounds, the encouragement from the likes of coaches Levine and Kelly Clarkson were enough to spur Jannakos deeper into music and songwriting.
In January, Jannakos wrote “Gone Too Soon” alongside Jason Afable and Josh Bricker during a homespun writers retreat at a cabin in Chattanooga, Tennessee, just weeks before the pandemic forced co-writing sessions to shift to virtual co-writes.
“I had written with Josh a few times. I hadn’t written with Jason before but I had heard great things about him as a writer so I was excited,” Jannakos says. “ Somebody threw out the line, ‘Man, they’re gone too soon.’
“Music is so subjective to change that it could mean a lot of different things. To me, the meaning for this song is my fiancée. When we first started to date, she had a one-year-old son. She didn’t really want to introduce me to him at first, so she would always come over and then have to leave. So for me, it was about her always having to be gone too soon. When we finished the song, I remember looking around the room and just feeling like the song was special.”
Jannakos, like every artist, saw the majority of his shows canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he and his fiancée Katie turned to social media to help keep promoting his music—which turned “Gone Too Soon” into a viral sensation.
“I had 22 of my shows—which, to an independent artist like myself who nobody knew two months ago, was a good bit—I had all of them cancel. But you take the negatives and turn them into positives. So we just went on social media and were able to make something out of it.”
His fiancée encouraged him to release snippets of the song on TikTok prior to its official release, and that turned into 9 million views, helping Jannakos build a base of more than 600,000 subscribers on the platform. It was around that time he teamed Nashville-based managers Andrew Cohen and Anthony Stone to further fuel the song up the charts.
“It’s been cool to see what they bring to the table, with lots of good things to come,” Jannakos says.
Since “Gone Too Soon” has broken through on the music charts, Jannakos has been in talks with a few labels and says he had “more opportunities come up over the past couple of weeks and co-writes with people that are incredible.”
This year is doubly special for the singer-songwriter, as he revealed he and his fiancée Katie are set to wed this weekend. While he’s currently making regular trips to Music City, he says a more permanent move to Nashville is in the very near future.
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