Last updated on September 17, 2020
By Evie Herndon
Volunteer State Community College alumni, Conner Sweet, got a taste of fame after his breakout song,”Times Like These,” received 64,780 streams on Spotify.
Sweet’s song also reached thousands of listeners on other streaming platforms. The song snagged him a spot on the music Top 40 as it ranked #38 on the Music Row Country Breakout Chart and #55 on the Billboard Country Indicator. He also performed as the opening act for country music star, Lee Bryce.
Success came as a surprise for the young artist, he said.
After graduating from Vol State in 2018, Sweet was hired as a songwriter at Given Music Publishing. It was one day after the tornado in Nashville, when Sweet went into work. Sweet sat down with Lance Carpenter and Liz Hengber to write, “Times like These,” to cheer up people in the studio. After writing the song, they decided to produce a simple demo with Sweet singing. Someone anonymously sent the demo to a radio station and in a months’ time, the song had taken off.
“We had to basically call a bunch of radio stations and ask them to hold off on playing the song so we could create an artist platform because when the song was released to the public, I was still just a songwriter,” said Sweet.
Sweet and his team took time to work with the momentum they were given and create an artist persona for Sweet to officially release “Times Like These.” It was ranked the third most played song on the radio for 18 weeks. It was released, falling behind names like Luke Combs and Tim McGraw.
“My story is really just your basic follow your heart story,” said Sweet. “It just goes to show you that if it is meant to be, the ducks will all fall in a row,” said Sweet.
An irony of Sweet’s story is that he wrote Times Like These, before the outbreak of COVID 19, but the song can also relate to the global pandemic. Sweet will have the unique story of what it is like to start a musical career during the 2020 pandemic.
“It’s really just a catch 22. We are in this new era of entertainment and we are just trying to figure out how to create the new normal for the music business,” said Sweet. “It’s a new world, and the cool thing about it is, I have been able to kind of take a chill pill. I am not in control here. All I am supposed to do is create and I can either create at home or on a stage. I am blessed to have the means to be able to create at home,” said Sweet.
Sweet shared how much of a blessing Volunteers State Community College had been for him and how many professors contributed to his learning experience. Sweet said, Vol State helped him prepare for his future and he encourages other students to soak up the education they can from the college.
“Vol State is a great place for people like me who are trying to figure out life. It is a good place to find personal stability and go to school,” said Sweet.
“Connor is a gentleman and will go far,” said Department Chair of the Performing Arts, Ben Graves.