When Drew Baldridge released the song ‘Senior Year’ last May, he had no idea the impact it would eventually make. He wrote the song in the fall of 2018 with buddies, Tim Nichols (Hall of Fame Songwriter) and Jordan Walker (Luke Combs). The lyrics are universally relatable, regardless of when or where you went to high school. Baldridge sings about feeling like royalty around envious underclassmen, breaking curfews, and snagging cheap wine. But one particular line in the song, “never thought it’d disappear – senior year,” was all too real for the Class of 2020.
As the coronavirus pandemic ripped out the final pages from this chapter of their lives, many high school seniors around the country adopted the song as their personal anthem. “About a month and a half ago I started getting tagged in so many videos and TikToks and everything,” Drew recounted. When the singer’s dad shared a video made by a local student using ‘Senior Year’ as the soundtrack, Drew knew he wanted to do something more. “These kids are going through a rough time, and as an artist it’s our job to entertain and to get your mind off the hard stuff. So I was like, I’m just going to start doing Zoom concerts, that’s my plan,” he said. Drew planned to do as many of these concerts as he could; the goal was not to turn anyone down. “Before you know it, we had over 60 Zoom concerts booked. I was doing 5 or 6 concerts a day.”
It wasn’t long until Badridge took it one step further. Thanks again to his dad, Drew connected with a principal in Florida who asked if he would be willing to perform at their graduation parade. ‘Senior Year’ was their official class song and she knew her students would “freak out” if Drew came down to perform it. Without hesitation, Baldridge was in. “It was so powerful,” he described. Baldridge was moved by the looks on their faces, how they sang every word, made signs with lyrics, and held their parents tight as they watched the show from their cars. “It’s the coolest stuff I’ve done in music, actually, because it’s different. The music is making an impact; it’s for a purpose. I think that’s what I like most about it,” he shared.
After Drew posted a video from the Florida graduation, requests started coming in from around the country, including one from Dedham High School in Massachusetts. “While I was up in Boston, we did a parade through town. Seeing everybody on their front steps and everybody making signs and just all the differences going on in the world right now, to see everybody come together and cheer on as a community was, I think what everybody needed. It’s really powerful to see people coming together to support the class of 2020.” Baldridge performed on the back of a flatbed truck decked out with streamers and balloons in the school colors. After the show a student told Drew it was the “coolest graduation anybody could ever have!”
In the coming weeks, Drew plans to perform at as many graduation celebrations around the country as possible. He’s even dubbed it the “Senior Year Tour.” “I’m just traveling by myself, no band, no manager, just me and my guitar,” he explained, describing how he’s working out most of the logistics himself. “I’ve talked to so many principals in the past two weeks. I even slept in a principal’s basement because there were no rooms available!” Most importantly, Drew is making sure to adhere to each state’s guidelines. “I’m just trying to make the most out of our situation right now.”
Despite losing his record deal in October, Drew is shocked at the impact this song has made organically. “I was kind of down in the dumps. Now it’s kind of become a whole new light, for not only the kids, but for me and my music career. Now I’m traveling around the country playing graduations,” he laughed at the irony. “It’s been a whirlwind!” Even without the backing of a label, ‘Senior Year’ hit #50 on the Billboard Country Airplay Chart and #60 on the Mediabase Chart as many radio stations around the country have put it in rotation. The song Drew had on the backburner for a year has found it’s time to shine and has changed so many lives. During these uncertain times when much of the entertainment industry is struggling, Baldridge has found a way to grow his career while developing a unique bond with his fans.