Tucker Wetmore has earned massive breakthrough success over the past few months with a pair of hits — “Wine Into Whiskey” and “Wind Up Missin’ You”— that have accelerated the 24-year-old’s status at the forefront of country music’s crop of newcomers.

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In December, Wetmore teased the moody heartbreaker “Wine Into Whiskey” on TikTok and the video snippet surged, earning over 6.5 million views to date. He officially released the song in February, and by early March, the song had made its debut on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 — later reaching a peak of No. 16 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart in April, and earning 63.4 million total official on-demand U.S. streams to date, according to Luminate. In late March, he followed that breakout hit with the romantic “Wind Up Missin’ You” — which eclipsed its predecessor on the Hot Country Songs chart, reaching No. 11, and has earned 47.9 million official on-demand U.S. streams to date.

“Wine Into Whiskey” had a darker feel, a more sad-ish vibe. I wanted to follow that with something that showed the other side of me,” Wetmore tells Billboard. “I go straight out of the gate with two different sides of the spectrum. From there, I’m not really in a box from here on out. It was a good roadmap.”

Seated in an office at artist development/publishing company Back Blocks Music, Wetmore is excited about another newly achieved target — his new GMC Denali truck. “That’s been a goal of mine for years now — I wanted to treat myself to getting a truck,” he says.

That vision-setting has aided Wetmore in reaching career milestones at warp speed. He recently signed with WME for booking and has attained his enviable run of success as an independent artist — though he’s fast closing in on a label deal, which he hopes to announce in the coming weeks. In the process, he’s charging through the tally of goals he set for himself just a few years ago.

“I gave myself three years to get a publishing deal; I knocked that out in one year,” Wetmore recounts. “I gave myself five years to get a record deal. I gave myself four years to get on my first tour and knocked that out in three. I was just very goal-oriented.”

Growing up in Kalama, Washington, Wetmore says music has been a constant in his life (he began playing piano at 11 and took up guitar soon after). However, through college, he devoted himself to a variety of sports — including football, track, pole vaulting and basketball. During his senior year in high school, he earned four state championships, in football, pole vaulting, Mens 4×1 and men’s track team. He went on to play football at Montana Technological University, where he majored in business and information technology.

When a sports injury sidelined him, he shifted his laser focus to music. He moved to Nashville in the fall of 2020, as the world was still deep in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. He released cover songs on TikTok, but it was one of his original songs, “I Think It’s You,” which prompted Back Blocks founder Rakiyah Marshall to reach out.

“I only had like seven original songs by that point, and she DM’d me and asked to set up a meeting,” he recalls. “In that first meeting, she was like, ‘What are your goals?’ I said, ‘I want to sell out stadiums and I don’t want to be put in a box.’ I’m too ADHD to be like, ‘This is one sound for one person.’”

With the success of “Wine Into Whiskey” and “Wind Up Missin’ You,” he’s already taking his first steps toward both goals. Wetmore has opened shows for Kameron Marlowe’s The Strangers Tour, and will open shows for Chris Young and Jason Aldean this summer, before joining Luke Bryan’s Farm Tour later this year. Between shows, he’s writing songs and working on his debut album, which is expected later this year — while his new single, the 808s-driven “What Would You Do?,” comes out May 24.

Billboard’s Country Rookie of the Month for May, Wetmore spoke with us about songwriting, the influence of Jerry Lee Lewis, and why he’s not afraid to share his music in a raw state on social media.

You wrote “Wine into Whiskey” and “Wind Up Missin’ You” in the same week, but “Wine” became your first breakout song. What is the story behind writing “Wine into Whiskey”?

It was the day after my birthday, and I was hanging out with [‘Wine into Whiskey co-writer] Jacob Hackworth that weekend. We showed up at a writing session with [songwriter] Justin Ebach that day and were tossing ideas around, but nothing stuck. Then, Justin pipes up and says, ‘Sorry guys, I’m hungover right now.’ Me and Jacob started laughing and were like, ‘Oh, thank God, because we are, too. We do not feel good at all.’

Then a few minutes later, Ebach told us about the idea of ‘Wine into Whiskey.’ We loved it, and it just kind of poured out onto the paper. There was something special in the room that day, for sure.

You’re not shy about sharing bits of songs in their unfinished state on social media. Why has that been important to you?

It’s an art. You can show polished-off versions of everything all day long, but then people don’t connect as well because they think everything you do is perfect. Not everything we do is perfect. We have steps and we have processes for everything. Showing them the first stages is important. The vocals on the master of “Wine into Whiskey” are the day-of writing vocals. When we wrote it, I was like, “Hey, there’s magic in it. It’s special.”

I do get some comments — like, on “Wine into Whiskey,” we originally had some snaps on it. Some people liked it, but it sounded tacky to me. If someone likes that version, they can go listen to it.

Your family is musical — what are some of your memories of growing up around music?

I come from a Samoan family on my dad’s side, and they’re all very musical. If you’ve ever hung out with a bunch of Samoans, it’s lots of love and everyone singing. My grandpa was a pastor — and growing up around church, if one person starts singing ‘Amazing Grace’ in the kitchen, the next thing you know, you’ve got a 12-voice choir harmonizing. My love for music just stemmed from watching my family.

When did you discover your own musical inclinations?

My mom tells me stories all the time that she remembers me being three or four years old and harmonizing to 3 Doors Down songs with my uncle. When I took up piano, I played by ear. I would watch YouTube videos and learn Elton John and Billy Joel — or even classical, like Beethoven.

Then I found Jerry Lee Lewis. I fell in love with his boogie-woogie type of bluesy piano playing. I remember going to the music teacher in high school and showing him a video of a guy playing a Jerry Lee Lewis song. He taught me a C-blues scale. I took that and ran with it and just learned a lot by listening.

You have been out on the road opening shows for Kameron Marlowe’s Strangers Tour. What has having his support meant to you?

Kameron is one of the best people I’ve ever met my life, hands down. He’s such a solid dude, and I couldn’t think of a better intro tour than Kameron Marlowe. Back when I was learning cover songs, I learned Kameron’s “Giving You Up.” He truly believed in me before any of this — we had teased ‘Wine Into Whiskey’ when I got the call from his team asking me to come out on the road with them. Rakiyah was like, “Well, we can’t tour without any music.” So we were like, “Let’s go!”

What are your must haves on tour?

Jack Daniel’s. We take a shot of Jack before every show. We do a prayer, then we do the shot and talk about what our goals for the show are — what do we want to be better tonight than last night?

What is a song you’ve been listening to a lot lately?

“Easy on the Eyes” by Texas Hill.

Who would you love to collaborate with?

It depends on the song, truly. I think collaborating with Alan Jackson, one of my favorites, would be super cool.

What is your “Desert Island” album?

Exodus by Bob Marley and the Wailers.

How would you describe your upcoming album?

I’ve been working on songs for three or four years. The project is going to be all over the place when it comes to ideas—some cool country-type stuff, some that are more of an 808s-type of vibe. And there’s one song I’m definitely playing a little piano on, too. “Wine Into Whiskey” did what it did, and it was really cool, but I don’t want it to just be a moment; I want to use the momentum to build something great.



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