“Flower Shops” hitmaker and singer-songwriter Ernest is launching his own music publishing venture, ERN’s Cadillac Music, with three songwriters.
The venture, in partnership with Big Loud Mountain Music, has signed writers Chandler Walters and Cody Lohden. Then, in conjunction with Big Loud Mountain Music and fellow singer-songwriter Mitchell Tenpenny’s publishing company High Dime, ERN’s Cadillac Music has signed Mitchell’s brother, Rafe Tenpenny.
As a songwriter, Ernest remains signed to a joint publishing deal between Universal Music Publishing Group and Big Loud Publishing. The CMA Triple Play Award winner has co-written hits for Morgan Wallen (“More Than My Hometown”), Chris Lane (“Big, Big Plans”), Kane Brown (“One Mississippi”), Florida Georgia Line (“I Love My Country”) and Diplo (“Heartless,” feat. Wallen).
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Launching his own music publishing venture marks the fruition of a long-held dream. “It’s definitely been within my five-year plan, but I didn’t know it would happen so fast,” Ernest tells Billboard. The company’s name is a tip of the hat to the cover of Ernest’s second Big Loud project, Flower Shops (The Album), which features the beloved Cadillac that Ernest bought in September 2021.
“Cadillac music, that’s kind of what I’ve been joking and calling any of my demos that I’d listen to in the Cadillac,” Ernest says. “It’s gotta pass the Cadillac test.”
Two of the initial signings to ERN’s Cadillac Music have close connections to Ernest. Walters, whom Ernest discovered through TikTok, is his touring steel player, while Ernest met Tenpenny in the fifth grade. Ernest was introduced to Lohden’s music through a social media post from Barstool Sports.
“I respect him not only as a friend, but as one of the best writers in the game right now, so for him to show faith in signing me means the world,” Tenpenny says of Ernest, adding that they wrote their first song together in eighth grade. “It’s always just been two friends coming together and having fun. He’s always had a talent for coming up with words and rhymes on the spot, he’s one of the best freestylers ever.”
“Over the past year we’ve traveled all over the country together and I have gotten to know him as a brother,” Walters says of Ernest via email. “Ern picking me to be in Cadillac Music is super humbling for me. He is one of the most accomplished songwriters in Nashville and him seeing something in me means more than anything.”
“Ern is the GOAT,” Lohden says, adding Ernest is already giving him advice.
“Ern told me to stay humble and keep doing what I’m doing…Just keep working hard and the songs will just keep getting better. It’s very cool to have him on my side and I’m very grateful!”
Big Loud Publishing staffers will work with ERN’s Cadillac Music writers, though as the venture grows, staffers may be added in the future. Ernest says he doesn’t have a set number of writers that he would ultimately like his publishing venture to support, preferring that it grow organically.
“I’m not in a hurry to stack a roster. I love the writers I have now, and the Big Loud building is kind of like one big family,” Ernest says. “It’s like Motown in a way, where there’s several rooms going on at once and I can bounce between rooms and throw in ideas. Now, I’ve got my space over there and Big Loud writers are welcome to crash those rooms and we all just work together.”
He also credits his and Big Loud’s mission of “empowering young creatives to just be free, creatively. Magic will happen if you just create the environment for people to be comfortable and let their guards down.” He adds, “That’s the environment I flourish in and those are the types of writers that I gravitate to when it comes to signing.”
Ernest hopes ERN’s Cadillac Music helps aspiring songwriters get their big break in the same way songwriters The Warren Brothers (Tim McGraw’s “If You’re Reading This,” Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup”) did for him.
“I want to be a source for young writers who haven’t gotten a chance yet to play ball,” Ernest says. He recalls how The Warren Brothers became advocates for Ernest and Mitchell Tenpenny earlier in their careers. “That changed our lives because we were in [writing] rooms we had no business being in, but we were getting in them because the Warren Brothers vouched for us, and then we had to do the rest on our own. But getting that one person that could bridge the gap, that’s the hardest part in this town. I want to create an environment where more writers can get a break.”
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