He first gained attention for his role as Sam Evan on the popular TV series Glee. The show offered the perfect opportunity to showcase Chord Overstreet’s talents as both an actor and a singer. Since then, he’s continued to remain active at both, and with much success.
In 2017, he released his megahit “Hold On.” The song, written to help those struggling through hard times, has resonated so well with people, it’s been streamed (at last check) close to 3-billion times across all platforms.
Earlier this month, Overstreet released his latest single “Friday Night Lights.” It’s a song he actually wrote years ago, while still working on Glee. It’s about the emotional journey one goes through after a break-up when it seems you keep seeing that other person everywhere you go.”
“I dated this girl when I started working on Glee,” Overstreet explains. “She was an actress, and the song’s about how I’d always run into her like on a Friday night. She’d be with a new guy or talking to somebody at a club or something. And it was kind of like, I can’t freaking go anywhere because everywhere I go, I keep running into this girl. So, the song’s about that feeling you have when you just want to go out and have a good time, and every time you do it, it burns you up, it eats you alive.”
He’s older now and says he’d like to think he’d handle things differently. “When you’re young, you’re so much more changed and you have so many more emotions when it comes to certain scenarios. Now, I think if I ran into somebody I’d be like, ‘Good to see you,’ and not be so emotional about it.”
Overstreet’s love of music and songwriting dates all the way back to his childhood in Nashville, Tennessee. His dad is GRAMMY-winning country artist Paul Overstreet.
“I grew up with my dad being a songwriter and doing it at such a high level for country music, so, when we were three or four years old our first gift was probably a musical instrument. We learned how to play, and used to go into the studio to help him record vocals. It’s one of those things I grew up around and if I’m bored or by myself, I’m usually writing a song or playing the guitar.”
He also has a deep love for acting and has found, when he’s focused solely on either acting or music for long periods of time, he ends up missing the other.
“After I finished Glee, I was a little bit burnt out because it was such an intense schedule. So, I took some time to focus solely on music and dive back into that fully. But after a few years, I was missing acting, so I thought I need to get back into that and I picked it back up again. It’s two completely different things, but I’ve always loved them both.”
And he’s found a way to strike a balance between the two.
He’s recently been working on a new film for Netflix. And this fall, he traveled to Mexico to shoot Apple TV’s new Acapulco series. He had a great time and is hoping it’ll be renewed for a second season. During the down time while shooting the show, he was hard at work on his music.
“When I was in Mexico, and I had a couple days off here and there, I would set up a Zoom call with my buddy and we’d write songs over Zoom. It’s one of those things where if you love something, you do it every chance you get.”
And music is a little bit easier to pursue – on your own.
“The way I look at it is I can always do music. I can do it when I’m alone, it’s like an intimate thing with me, and I can also do it with other people. And I have more control over the artistic side of music because unlike acting you don’t need someone to write a script, you don’t need an entire production crew. And there’s so much down time with acting because the acting world comes in waves. So, music is always going to be there for me whether I’m successful or not.”
So far, though, he’s had great success with his music. His song “Hold On” has reached double-platinum status and continues to remain popular thanks, in part, to TikTok and other streaming services. Even Overstreet has been a little surprised by the song’s staying power.
“I’m so grateful it’s done what it’s done,” he says. “But yeah, it’s still mindboggling that it’s still doing so well four years later.”
Overstreet has released his own EP (called Stone Man), and just released “Friday Night Lights” as a single. And he’s doing to do a full album.
“I was talking to a friend of mine in the music industry about how I’ve never put out a full-length album. And I’m thinking about re-releasing music that I released with my old label that they own all the rights to. So, even if a song did really well, like “Hold On,” people think the artist gets to keep the rights to their music, but I own none of my music.”
That music is up to re-record and re-release in 2022.
“So, I’m thinking about taking those six songs and writing about eight more, and doing a full-length record. Basically, using some of those older songs I don’t own, and going back and putting a new coat of paint on them.”
For now, he’s excited about his latest song, his current acting projects, and heading back to Nashville to spend the holidays with family.
“And looking to the future,” he says, “life is good. I think we’re all just hanging on here, hoping the ship starts to settle a little bit. It’s been a wild two years, I’ll say that.”