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Aug. 16, 2022

J.T. Harding

J.T. Harding is a bonafide hitmaker. His credentials? Several #1 hits co-written with artists like the Jonas Brothers, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, and Kenny Chesney, just to name a few. But he’s also an overcomer with a story of living life LOUD.

In his new book,
Party Like a Rockstar, J.T. talks about his journey growing up as an adoptee, losing his brother to suicide, and struggling to find his own way into the music he loved so much. This unforgettable conversation on Trevor Talks maps J.T.’s path from Los Angeles to Nashville, from two failed label deals to the top of the charts. How does getting booed off the stage at a Linkin Park show fit into all of this? Listen to find out!


In his new book, Party Like a Rockstar, J.T. talks about his journey growing up as an adoptee, losing his brother to suicide, and struggling to find his own way into the music he loved so much. This unforgettable conversation on Trevor Talks maps J.T.’s path from Los Angeles to Nashville, from two failed label deals to the top of the charts. How does getting booed off the stage at a Linkin Park show fit into all of this? Listen to find out!


Listen to Party Like a Rockstar by JT Harding on audio book:


Get a hard copy on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Submit your adoption story for a chance to write a song over zoom with JT:


If you’re struggling and in need of support, visit: 


Follow JT Harding:

Facebook: JTX

Instagram: @jtxrockstar

Twitter: @jtxrockstar

TikTok: @jtxrockstar


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J.T. Harding  0:00  
If I didn't know anyone in the music business also, I can't read music or write music. I don't know any of the notes I'm playing. I do think knowledge is power. So if you're taking a music class, that's great, but one of the reasons my songs are so catchy is because they're just three or four chords in different patterns. So but I love what you said, you know, you can be from anywhere. It doesn't matter what your family is, like, if they're loving or if you're having a hard time to see if you're if you're dreaming something. You have to go for it because you'll you'll experience great things when you least expect it when you follow your dreams. Yeah, I mean, it's certainly not easy, but nothing worthwhile is easy.

Trevor Tyson  0:41  
What's up everyone and welcome to this week's episode of Trevor talks. I'm your host, Trevor Tyson. As per usual, if you didn't know that you might be new. Thank you for tuning in. And welcome to the show. I'm super pumped about today's guest, and he's already pumped up about it. So my guest today is known to many as a hit songwriter, jokester and most recently a published author. After years of writing chart topping hits for the likes of Uncle cracker, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Jake Owen, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, and more. He's penned it all down in a more memoir like fashion called party like a rock star, the crazy coincidental hard luck and harmonious life of a songwriter. And

Trevor Tyson  1:29  
oh, are you wanting to add something to this?

J.T. Harding  1:31  
I am Hello people. Do not adjust your computers. I'm really dressed like this. Get ready for the walk. Well, I got a wardrobe more colorful than sidewalk chalk. This is JT Harding on. Never talk, talk, talk talk.

Trevor Tyson  1:49  
On in everyone. Please help me welcome Jay T. Harding to the show. JT you're here. And for everybody that is listening on the audio experience. Go ahead and switch it on over to YouTube and I'm not even talking about for algorithmic things like you can go like and comment and subscribe all that stuff. But you need to see the suit this guy's wearing. So day T before we just to level the playing field to share your story and such. Explain to the people that are listening what you're wearing right now.

J.T. Harding  2:16  
Well, I'm like my money where I can see it hanging in my closet. This is one of my very rare suits, coat and Pat pants to match. It's a eggshell white suit with storm trooper helmets sewn into it. And Trevor, do you know where I where I purchased this suit? Disneyland? No good answer. No. In a galaxy far, far away Disneyland. Great to see. No, it's

Trevor Tyson  2:40  
such a good suit. And like I was telling you earlier like, I dress down for this. It appears like I assume everybody's just gonna casually just wear their everyday attire and that you did because you always have something. You always have something amazing. People

J.T. Harding  2:57  
think I show up to work in pajamas. I'm like no, this is a suit is a suit people

Trevor Tyson  3:02  
know and the title of your book party like a rock star. That wardrobe that you've got going on here is a perfect fitting for the title. As you see right here. This is actually you as a kid, correct?

J.T. Harding  3:16  
Yes. On the cover. Look at that out. So that's me trying to break a guitar in the eighth grade with the Battle of bands, which I want. I'm wearing legwarmers ripped jeans, bandanas. It looks like you know a bomb went off at a circus and all the bandanas landed on me like a Hee ha. Bad thing. But as you can tell, I hate attention. I gotta tell you though, especially the kids listening. When I tried to break that guitar. The guitar just stayed in one piece when I swung it and the fillings in my teeth rattled. It is so heartbreaking guitar. I think the real rock stars of the world must break it first and then do it because it was impossible.

Trevor Tyson  3:53  
Well, I have a feeling that some of the guitars that get like people that break guitars on a daily basis that they're made to do that, to a certain extent, like loosen up some bolts or something in there. But like I was telling you before we started this book has so much meat on the bone and there's so much bigger story that it's like when I read the title party like a rock star, and I saw country music like chart, hit songwriter, blah, blah, blah. all the amazing things. I'm not discounting them. I'm just skimming over because we don't have all day okay. Yeah, I was like party like a rock star hit country music writer. Where does it add up? But then I dove into the book, which I'm not gonna lie like when you get pitches and such you don't dive into them all the time. But this one, just the fact that you start off the book with a Keith Urban story and dive into all of the things which we will dive into.

J.T. Harding  4:53  
I met I met Keith Urban in a in a men's room in Nashville. I mean it's in the book, but I don't mind telling you Go ahead and share

Trevor Tyson  5:00  
the story. Kenny

J.T. Harding  5:02  
the first country hit I ever had Kenny Chesney put out it was a true blessing. It changed my life. It was a three week number one, Kenny was already a superstar. The song's called somewhere with you. And he was already a superstar but it was his first song to ever sell a million copies you can imagine. So my friends all started calling me saying and when the song was climbing up the radio chart, they said Keith Urban is talking about your Kenny Chesney song he's, he's tweeting about it, he's talking about on the radio. Now, Keith Urban, did not know who wrote the song. He didn't know who I was. He'd never met me, he had no idea. So a few months later, I was at an award show in Nashville in the men's room. True story, washing my hands and I noticed at the urinal behind me was Keith Urban, you know, taking a leak. So I waited for him. I invented the long hand wash, and he walked up and he said, Oh, he made I don't need any breath mints or a towel or anything because I was in a tuxedo by the city. No, he didn't. And I said, No, I don't work here. I'm JT I wrote somewhere with you. And he said, mate, what a song. You know, I if I had heard that before, Kenny, I would have put it on my last album. And I said, Oh, man, that's really wild. Because you know, I sent that song to your record company, and your manager, and everybody that knew you. And he said, Do you have your phone on you? And I said, Yeah, and he put his phone number into my phone and he said the next time you have a song that you love, he said, don't do anything with it. Just let me know right away and we bro hug and went back to our candlelit tables. And treble. Trevor, you're gonna love this. I texted him at 7am The next morning. That's

Trevor Tyson  6:42  
for everyone listening. And especially in music people that party like a rock star. They don't wake up that early. I don't wake up that early. Yeah, no,

J.T. Harding  6:53  
no. I'm not allowed to go in any men's room in Nashville now either because they say I'm stalking the stars. He did not answer back. But fate led us together. He finally did answer back and we ended up writing a number one song called in my mind was somewhere in my car listening to Trevor talks on the podcast

Trevor Tyson  7:14  
on and when I first started reading through your arsenal of songs that you have pieced together, like and you co wrote a lot of these things salutely Smile like you make me smile like the sun fall. Somewhere with you. By Kenny Chesney alone with you Jayco and somewhere in my car Keith Urban sangria, Blake Sheldon, you've written with the Goo Goo Dolls and for the Jonas Brothers Darius Rucker. Oh, there's quite an arsenal, I

J.T. Harding  7:44  
need to write a song called somewhere alone with you in my car will combine those three. Yes. That's a great question. You know, I was in Los Angeles before this, and it was pretty fun. You know, that that, you know, both ends of the pool were shallow at the apartment I lived in it was so Hollywood. But seriously, when I got to Nashville, Nashville, because I'm from Detroit, Nashville is so it's such a great community. So all of these songs are co written. Some of the best friends I have in the world are people that I met in writing rooms. Definitely. We're very competitive here. But everyone in Nashville, we all help each other. We cheer each other on. We share information. Hey, I heard Darius Rucker is looking for songs or hey, I met Keith herb. And I'll tell him about you. So going back to your question. Yeah, all the songs are, are co written, it would be fun to write a number one hit all by myself. But that's just for the ego, which doesn't help anyone. When you have a song that's climbing the chart or the first time you hear it on the radio, the first thing you do is text the people you wrote with it and say, Oh, do turn it on, you know, 98 seven, or turn it on the highway our songs on and it never gets old. Your heart skips a beat and it's fantastic. And that's also you know why I wrote the book. I always loved music and watching MTV and I had no idea how to get in the music business. And that's the real reason I wrote the book. I tell people, This is how I wrote the songs. This is how I got to Nashville. This is how I met people in bathrooms and this and that, you know, Trevor, thanks to the music business, my heart has been broken more than the ice cream machine and McDonald's but you can learn from my mistakes my incredible book party like a rockstar, it's on audio to Morgan Friedman apparently was unavailable. So they hired me so

Trevor Tyson  9:23  
I listen to the audible production so I have the hardcopy and the audible production because me like I don't know if ADD or ADHD I've never been diagnosed but I just self diagnose it. I like no go for me to like, I'll have my air pods in just vacuuming or something. I've got to have something going on other than just listening to the book. But one thing

J.T. Harding  9:47  
that should be the name of your Facebook, from my lips to pods ears. Thank you. Thank you.

Trevor Tyson  9:53  
CO written with JT Harding the title at least I'm stealing that but in the interest same thing about you is like your story covers everything from adaption to songwriting to overcoming trauma and within the family, and then to becoming an advocate on top of being such a successful songwriter. And you mentioned ego a little bit of go a bit ago, I gotta get this together, y'all. And it's just a go.

J.T. Harding  10:20  
That's why I'm not lonely. It's just I'm just here with my ego all night long.

Trevor Tyson  10:27  
Just like you like, this podcast isn't just me. There's eight people that helped this thing get from the recording that we're doing now to the people's ears in their eyes on YouTube. Like, it takes a team to get this stuff together. But like, as I was saying, like all on top of being a songwriter, you've gone through so much. So I'm curious to just open the floor up and make this JT talks for a second. I want to hear like from conception, which I've never said before, but that's a story of its own. There's just so much for you to cover. So I want to open up the floor from conception. You know, those don't share that

J.T. Harding  11:06  
it was a rainy night in Nashville and Olufsen was playing. So bass, so I found out most of this years later, I was adopted at birth, it was the greatest thing that's ever happened to me. I say in the book, I feel like I was taken from the hand of God, or by the hand of God and given to the hard things. My parents, Larry and Kendra Harding. I found out years later, my biological father was a late night DJ on a college station. And these these kinds of fun girls from a dorm or from somewhere, were calling up requesting songs, even though it was very late at night, though it was very late at night. Not a lot of people were calling up and he started kind of flirting with one of the girls and he would play songs for her for a long time, months. I think they ended up meeting, they ended up you know, having me as the great Olivia Newton John would say, Let's get physical, physical, and but they knew that they couldn't take care of me. And I say that, you know, they loved me so much that they gave me away. They knew they couldn't take care of me. So that's how I was born and brought into the world. And then I was adopted and grew up in Detroit loving MTV. My parents were incredible sports fans, my dad scored a touchdown in the Rose Bowl for Michigan State. And my dad worked at ESPN and there I was just you know, trapped in an episode of Sports Center, and I was an MTV addict. But they encouraged me I grew my hair long I wore checkerboard shoes. My dad took me to concerts and and so I just and then I like I said I didn't know how to get into the music business. So I would look on the back of all my CDs and they all said Sunset Boulevard. And before my friend's graduation caps were bouncing across the green gross pouring grass of high school. I was already out in Los Angeles living on the most unglamorous corner of Hollywood. I was so naive that something could happen that it actually did. I got a job at a record store and made a demo with money I made off VH one rock'n'roll Jeopardy was a game show at the time. And I ended up getting a record deal and losing that record deal. But I kept writing all the time. And it just kind of brought me on this journey. You know, you're a great listener. It's a it's a crazy story and much more colorful in the book. But that's, that's the clip notes.

Trevor Tyson  13:16  
No, and that's freaking crazy. And your biological father, Jay Thomas. Yes, I was. I forgot. I think I looked him up when I heard that. And I happen to hear about a little show called Mork and Mindy.

J.T. Harding  13:33  
That's true. So we should give people a backstory. I know. Yeah. So I meeting my biological father, who turned out to be an actor and a famous DJ named Jay Thomas. He was on Mork and Mindy, cheers. Murphy Brown, and we were like too long loss fraternity brothers when we met. I wasn't looking for anything. I didn't have a hole in my soul that I needed to be filled. But it was really great to meet him. His incredible wife Sally, and He has two sons, Sam and Jacob close with. So yeah, continued So Jay Thomas turned out to be, you know, just as loud as I am.

Trevor Tyson  14:10  
It was wild because I was listening to the bobby bones interview, which I assume this episode is just show and tell because I'm like Bobby bones who like I know nothing about this guy. Definitely. Two of his books. Yeah, right. Just hold up two of the books. They didn't encourage me. I don't look up to the guy at all, whatsoever. Don't let it fool you. But Mork and Mindy was a huge part of my childhood, which I was born in 97 way past the recording dates for the show. But my mom who is amazing listens to the show. Love you so much, mom, love you. And Mork and Mindy was a huge thing for me because I saw Robin Williams and Pandora and I was like, sup for some reason. The chemistry was just encouraging to me, and I found it so humorous, and I was intrigued like obsessed

J.T. Harding  14:55  
with the show. Mark was an alien and you thought, Well, if he can get a girl I can too. Thank you.

Trevor Tyson  15:00  
That's exactly what I needed to hear in that pleasing because I've always been so insecure. And that's not even a joke. But like nananana like we had to dive into it. And what was it like? Like you obviously had an amazing like family at home, the hard things were so good to you from what I've read and what I've heard in the prior interviews. Tell me a little bit about that. So you How old were you when you met your biological father?

J.T. Harding  15:25  
Oh, I was 21. And this is all true. My biological mother had found me and we'd spoke on the phone for a while. And she said, after maybe three or four weeks, she said, I'd like to tell you about your your real father. And she said, He's not like other people. And that gave me a little bit of pause. And I'm trying to be kind when I say this, but when someone says that your brain kind of, you know, it's like the popcorn at the movie theater. It just was like overflowing like, what does this mean? Is he he's not like other people. Is he in jail? Is it you know, just to imagine you can imagine, she said, Oh, no, no, he's he's an actor. His name is Jay Thomas. And I could just tell in her voice that she wasn't joking. And Trevor, one block from my apartment in Hollywood on the entire side of a building was a giant billboard that said power 106 FM We apologize for Jay Thomas and it was Jays head on the body of a ballerina because he was causing so much trouble on the radio, which now you have to do but at the time, and literally like the room just started spinning. I was like, I passed this billboard. Every single day. I've I've seen cheers all on TV all the time, Jay was even emceeing a movie premiere that I went to and stood in line to try to meet Prince and get prints my demo and my friends and I were heckling Jay Thomas, we had no idea he was my biological father. It sounds like such a bad movie j should star in it on the Hallmark Channel. But it's all true. And so you can imagine and then we met and we just really got along great. He was so different than my dad, Larry Harding. I mean, Jay was like, Hey, look at those hot girls. And Jay was like, he was just really loud and boisterous. I guess, like a like me, you know? And, you know, I've never once heard my dad say anything other than how beautiful my mom was. Yeah. Beautiful, great relationship. And that's, that's in everyone. They all met and it just has really been fantastic. You know?

Trevor Tyson  17:20  
Come on. So your biological father has met your adopted parents.

J.T. Harding  17:25  
Yes. Jay met Larry and my brother Lance. And all they did was talk about football because they just all love football. Even Jay. Oh, Jay hated music. He said the Beatles were hippies Bob Dylan was a moron. Elvis was a thief of, you know, black music. So it certainly had its moments and that its moments. Yeah. And then also you mentioned, you know, you mentioned you brought it up earlier, I also had a brother that passed away when I was young. And I'm before we got on the air here. You mentioned it. And I'm glad you mentioned it's the most surprising thing about the book because I turned in the book 10 drafts of the book, and that was never in there. And I decided to the last draft, I said, this is such a big piece of my story. My brother took his own life when I was was a kid and he was a few years older, and I put it in the book. And it's been really surprising. Humbling, I don't know what words to use that so many people strangers have reacted to that I thought they would want to hear about the songwriting, and the famous people I met. But that's been a real standout thing. And when you mentioned it as well was like, I'm just really glad I put it in the book, if that makes sense. Well,

Trevor Tyson  18:37  
it's like hearing about all the celebrities and such is amazing. But that's something that's like not that the songwriting and that isn't authentic to you. But that's something that a lot of people can relate with. Because we've all had someone who's passed on. And a good portion of us have had someone in our lives pass on due to suicide. And the first thing that hit me like in your book is I noticed that there was a crevasse in the middle, and I opened up to the pictures and saw the picture of you and Chester Bennington on stage with you having blood dripping down your face. And if Linkin Park you got it? Yeah, so if I'm not mistaken, you were asked by Chester and the Linkin Park guys to open for them in between was it slipknot and Linkin Park?

J.T. Harding  19:28  
Someone like that someone loud and the only thing louder than my outfit was the opening band? Yes, I was. So I had lost two record deals. You know, just all you hear in the music business is no no, no, no. So you just got to keep working and find that one. Yes. That makes all those notes Fade to black. So I lost two record deals. I was tired of living in LA and I got a job working for Linkin Park as their assistant and they were so nice six guys in the band. They didn't drink they didn't smoke. They were all in great relationships or married and they were very Very low maintenance, I would set up their x box I would have their stage clothes ready. It was very you know, but they were superstars selling out arenas all over the world. We were, you know, staying in great hotels and flying all over. You know, I've been everywhere. I've been to places with completely different languages, different food, different cultures. I've been to Japan, I've been to Russia. I've been to Iowa, you know, you name it. I've been to all the different places,

Trevor Tyson  20:24  
Iowa cornfield

J.T. Harding  20:28  
drummoyne. So one night, I didn't really talk about my music with them too much. I wasn't, that wasn't what I was there for. But they would see me strumming a guitar and they'd come in and I put it down and they said, Would you like to open up for us one night? And I said, Absolutely. And anyone listening? If you ever get the chance to stand on a stage in front of 30,000 people under a spotlight, and hearing every one of those people screaming, you suck, you suck. It gives you a chill, doesn't it, Trevor? Yeah. I mean, they could not stand me. But I didn't want to get off the stage. And you know, because Linkin Park asked me to be out there. And I was like, Alright, it was in Kansas City. I said, Alright, Kansas City. How many people like Ozzy Osbourne and there was a row there was like a low rumble and I said, Well, here's a little Joan Osborne. What if God was one of us, Trevor, I was out there by myself playing acoustic guitar, anything not tied down was thrown at me shoes, bottles, coins, and a coin hit me and I was bleeding. And that's when the crowd started cheering and I sent him when winning them over because I'm bleeding but little did I know. Chester Bennington the superstar lead singer of Linkin Park came out on stage to rescue me they were cheering for him. And I once I saw the blood I went weak in the knees. The roadies came out with those big brooms that janitors habit like schools. There were hundreds of dollars worth of coins on stage and they said JT made a fortune tonight. I mean, I was the laughingstock of the road crew. Here's the best part of that. The next day in the newspaper, there was a great review of the Linkin Park show and that picture of me bleeding from the head with Chester's arm around me and it said the opening band was a one man act called the JT experience despite bleeding from the head he finished a three song promising set and somebody saw the article and said isn't this the guy that had the record deal with EMI and they got one of my CDs that I was passing out and someone heard it and said you got to go to Nashville your your songs are like three minute movies. So imagine failed record deals, getting booed off with you know, Linkin Park, you know, not wanting to be in LA all the you know, the universe God, whatever you want to call it was just leading me down down the path to be a hit songwriter in Nashville, I just had to keep going.

Trevor Tyson  22:46  
Come on. And when you were on that stage, with blood dripping down your face, what was going through your mind were like, Alright, I'm done. Or was it not even though

J.T. Harding  22:55  
I didn't know someone had thrown a shoe, I wish I should have waited at the exit and waited for someone with one shoe to come out and go to school to them. I was like, hitting coins and everything being thrown at me with my guitar. Like it was a lightsaber, you know, and I thought it was a shoestring because there was just a little line. And I kept kind of like shaking my head or, or moving my head. I didn't know that I was bleeding. You know, I was just so pumped up on the adrenaline. But man, I mean, I'm really lucky it didn't hit my I mean, you know, rock and roll you know is great, but you don't want to lose an eye over it but leaking so great to me. And you know, Chester did pass away. I don't know much about that. But it's, it's just very sad and unfortunate that those things happen. But

Trevor Tyson  23:37  
the wild thing is is that was like your first mountaintop experience, like on a stage in front of 30,000 people. And the first thing that ever like took off for me Hold on

J.T. Harding  23:50  
that mountaintop. So Cold Harbor, Trevor, you know why it's so lonely at the top. I've discovered this. Why? Because it's so crowded at the bottom. Thank you very much.

Trevor Tyson  24:02  
He'll be here all week. Like the first thing that ever like got traction for me was when Chester passed. I wrote an open letter to Chester Bennington. That just kind of like started like, okay, maybe there's something in the words like it was more so like, Okay, I'm gonna write this to Chester. But if anybody else is out there struggling like this is for you, too. And I was never a huge Linkin Park fan until after he passed. So I never got the chance to see them live or anything or experience like that. But it's like now as a 24 year old. I'm like, man like that had to be an electric night especially when you dive into the lyrical content and such and the fact that you had that experience is mind boggling. Like standing on a stage blood dripping down your face having one of the biggest rock stars of our generation just come usher you off like leaving Can't

J.T. Harding  25:00  
even scolded the audience which he didn't need to do. And you know that I know I sound like a you know, used car salesman, but that's why the pictures in the book I had to put it in the book. It's so great, I think an open letter to Chester Bennington. That's incredible. That sounds like a song title and album title. I just can't say it enough. They were, they were just really kind to me. And they were it's no, it's no wonder they were so successful because they worked so hard. And they were great to their fans, and they made great music.

Trevor Tyson  25:29  
They definitely did. And one thing I really want to dive into with you like it's been a long journey to get to where you are today as such a successful songwriter, obviously a professional wardrober I guess we can raising? Like, there has had to have been roadblocks along the way. Can you share with us like one of those experiences that you had and how you were able to overcome that mindset of like, oh, I can't do this or so forth? Oh, absolutely.

J.T. Harding  25:58  
roadblocks. Yeah, it's more like every every open door was a wily coyote fake tunnel painted on a rock from Roadrunner. So that's a great, I liked that. You're being specific because a lot of people well, first of all, I didn't have the internet when I was working at a record store in LA and I had my demo CDs. So but I knew a girl who we didn't have the internet, so I couldn't call a record company. They wouldn't just let you walk in. But I knew a girl whose roommate worked at FedEx. So I borrowed her FedEx jacket, it was pretty big. And I literally like Obi Wan Kenobi. sauntering into the Deathstar. I passed every security guy guard, every promotion guy chewing on a golf tee, and I just walked right into every record company, and put my demo in every mailbox and it was just fantastic. Those are the kinds of things that you have to do. But to answer your question, one comes right to mind. I signed a really big record deal with EMI records, you know, this is the these are the people that brought the Beatles to America. They had you know, Sinead O'Connor and you know, David Gray and all the Five For Fighting. And I signed a record deal. I was working at Tower I met the guy there, I flew to New York, I got a big advance. I was driving around in limousines. And I made a record with John Mellencamp band, and the record was as sparkly and as professional as anything I've ever heard. I was just so excited. told everyone at home, my family went home for an extended summer it just the dream was coming true after being in LA for five years. Well, the record company stopped returning my calls, which was a huge red flag, and then the record company folded, and it really felt like a wrecking ball hit me it was worse than any breakup I've ever gone through. And I fall in love every time a girl sneezes, I'm at Starbucks. So trust me, I don't take breakups lightly. But here's, I felt embarrassed, insecure, everything I shouldn't have, I should have just said I had a record deal. And I've got a bunch of money in the bank now that they can't take back and I don't owe it to anybody, but I didn't feel like that. But here's what I did. After I kind of got over the sadness. I always read I always read and have read about rock stars, shale, Crowe had a record deal that fell through. Mariah Carey has lost a record deal. One of my favorite bands as a kid kiss were called Wicked Lester. They lost that record deal. Just every single person, the Beatles were turned down Elton John. So I just thought, well, if these people just you know, have gone through it as well, I'll just keep going. And then I just thought I can do it again. So I just that's what I and I did get another record deal was signed to Atlantic and then I just kept I just kept going just reading books about other rock stars, who who kept going even Abraham Lincoln, I think who you know, was a rock star of politics. I believe he he lost 12 elections in a row and then won the presidency. I was like, you just have to persevere, you know, positive thinking.

Trevor Tyson  28:49  
I didn't even know that he lost like 12 presidencies. That's

J.T. Harding  28:52  
don't quote me on that not 12 presidencies like 12 Small elections. Exactly. Well, yeah, heck, I know I kind of need to are there but yeah, now that that's all I read once that competence is like a muscle and you just have to keep working and we all are insecure. But don't you have a great quote that don't let fear trick your mind? So

Trevor Tyson  29:13  
yeah, you're stronger than your symptoms, man. Yes, and listen,

J.T. Harding  29:17  
it never gets it never gets easier. I just had a gigantic number one single called beers and sunshine with Darius Rucker. So then because we had a hit, I wrote with Darius Rucker of hooting the blowfish fame who's now big country artists. I wrote with him again, his brand new single called My masterpiece. It did not become a hit. And it's been taken off the radio even though I have all these hits. That did not feel great. I was in New York City kind of wandering around for a couple hours. Not I was like, Oh my gosh, it's such a good song. Why is my masterpiece not working? So rejection never gets easier, but you just kind of, you know, keep going and remind myself how far how far I've come and if I can do it, anybody can?

Trevor Tyson  29:57  
Yeah, it's incredible man. Like one of of the things that I used to watch as a child growing up is interviews with my favorite artists. And I'd be like, man, like they're real people. And then it's incredible to now be able to provide that content for other people and even interviewing the JT Harding right now is it's a complete like 180 From where you're supposed to be when you're from a little podunk town called social circle, Georgia by

J.T. Harding  30:27  
social media budding star, and you're from social circle, Georgia, I love that.

Trevor Tyson  30:32  
It's, it's insane. And now I'm like, I own a home here. I don't plan on leaving. Like, if I like I told you I was in Nashville for eight months wasn't my thing. Like, if we've done this much from here, why not continue to see what God wants to do through it. And for anybody listening, like, if you're from a tiny town, or you come from a family that isn't like, okay, with what you're doing, keep going, like you can take keep going. If JT would have quit after he got hit in the face with a coin and just like, Oh, I'm just going to be an assistant for the rest of my life, we wouldn't have a lot of joy, like smile, Uncle Kracker, somewhere with you, Kenny Chesney, all of these legends would not have some of their biggest hits without you in their life. And God's use you to do that. And he's got something for everybody. And Mine just happens to be running my mouth, what you're very good at, you need to start a podcast called party like a rock star, and have all your aunts and our buddies. Come on. Like, come on, dude. Like, you're, you're behind the clock here, like, get it going. But, man, like you're really good

J.T. Harding  31:37  
at it. I'm good. I'll stick to writing songs. But no, thank you. It's very flattering. It's great to be here.

Trevor Tyson  31:42  
No, it's so awesome to have you.

J.T. Harding  31:43  
Like, can you say you're so right, I'll say it again. I didn't know anyone in the music business. Also, I can't read music or write music. I don't know any of the notes I'm playing. I do think knowledge is power. So if you're taking a music class, that's great. But one of the reasons my songs are so catchy is because they're just three or four chords in different patterns. So but I love what you said, you know, you can be from anywhere. It doesn't matter what your family is, like, if they're loving, or if you're having a hard time to see if you're if you're dreaming something. You have to go for it. Because you'll you'll experience great things when you least expect it when you follow your dreams. Yeah, I mean, it's certainly not easy, but nothing worthwhile is is easy.

Trevor Tyson  32:26  
No, come on. Everyone be doing it.

J.T. Harding  32:29  
I don't want to go back to my high school reunion and everyone has a hit song. What fun is that?

Trevor Tyson  32:34  
Exactly. If we were all built the same

J.T. Harding  32:36  
book, everyone in Nashville has hit songs. But do they have a real published book available everywhere.

Trevor Tyson  32:43  
Some of them do. But also some of them don't know. But ladies and gentlemen party, like a rock star is available wherever books are sold. And I highly recommend the audible edition, which I want to specifically put a link for that in the description because by far, like get a physical copy of the book where you can see these photos that you can't see in the audible production. Go check out more of what JT is doing, go follow him on socials, all that stuff will be in the description. And guys, like if you're listening, and you're struggling and just can't get past the hump know that there is hope for you. You were so loved you have so much purpose. And we have so many resources readily available to you, with our friends at heart support death, the life beneath the skin, the teen HopeLine there is hope. And there is a reason to keep going keep chasing those aspirations that you have. If you feel like they're too big. Wait till you complete them and then have to figure out bigger things to do. Because it can happen and it will happen if you have that perseverance you have that faith and you just run after it. Who can tell you? No. They tell you no. They probably aren't the people you should be working with

J.T. Harding  33:49  
you say you borrow a FedEx jacket and sneak into the office. Hey, I forgot Can I add something really quick. And we're talking a lot of things. Adoption Awareness Month is in November. So I'm having a contest totally free, if anyone is listening. Or if you know someone that if you're listening in, you're adopted or if you know someone that is adopted, send them to my website. It's called write like a Send me your adoption story. And I'm going to choose someone totally free to write a song with over zoom and I'm going to record the song in Nashville. There's no strings attached. It's really easy, right like a And it's just a fun way to give back. And if you are adopted or you know someone that was adopted, the contest is running now for a month and it's gonna be really great. I mean, we could read a hit song you never know. It's right like a rock And it's really easy once you look at it.

Trevor Tyson  34:42  
And you have to be adopted into that if you're thinking what I'm thinking don't do it.

J.T. Harding  34:47  
Don't Don't lie. Don't and don't give a child away. Just Just enjoy the contest. Yeah.

Trevor Tyson  34:53  
That's awesome. Everybody go check that out. That will also be in the description below. We love you so much and we'll talk to you guys next week. Trevor

J.T. Harding  35:00  
talks and he walks the walk he rocks thanks everybody

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J.T. Harding

J.T. HARDING was born and raised in South Detroit. While other kids were on the baseball field, J.T. was in his basement, jumping around to MTV videos and trying to write his own songs. He put together several bands in high school and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream. J.T. made his first demo tape with prize money he earned by winning the VH1 game show Rock & Roll Jeopardy! He has since written several chart-topping hits, including "Smile" with Uncle Kracker, "Somewhere in My Car" with Keith Urban, "Somewhere with You" and "Bar at the End of the World" for Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley's "Different for Girls," Jake Owen's "Alone with You," and Blake Shelton's number-one song "Sangria."

His memoir/how-to book, Party Like a Rockstar, was released in February 2022 and quickly reached number one on Amazon in the songwriting category. He lives in Nashville and continues to churn out the hits by the light of his vintage KISS pinball machine.