It has been a long journey to the top of the charts for Jon Pardi, and he told journalists and members of the industry on Tuesday (Oct. 25) that while having a No. 1 single is surreal, not much has altered in his everyday lifestyle.

"My life is still writing songs and playing shows every weekend, so not much has changed there," he admits.

"Head Over Boots" is the first single Pardi released off his sophomore album California Sunrise, and he explained to reporters that he knew he wanted a song that fans could dance along to. During a visit to a Texas dance hall with his dad, the initial idea for the song came to him.

"I was drinking a beer, sitting down on the benches and watching older couples dance and younger couples dance," he recalls. "I really wanted a song that would make everybody want to dance and fit in that atmosphere. The next day I woke up and had a cup of coffee and came up with the melody and, 'I want to sweep you off your feet tonight / I want to love you and hold you tight / Spin you around on some old dance floor.'"

Pardi says that he knew immediately there was something special about the song's melody, and saw that a co-write with Luke Laird was coming up, so he saved the idea for their writing session. Once he played it for Laird, they decided to make it a love story.

Seeing Pardi play "Head Over Boots" live, it's hard not to stare at all the couples in the audience dancing along, and it's something that Pardi tells Taste of Country is a great feeling.

"When you're a songwriter you really try to work to get that and [when] you can see it live after everything is all said and done, it's really fun," he says. "There's a connection when people are dancing, laughing and singing and that definitely happens with 'Head Over Boots.'"

Pardi prides himself on being authentic and wears his boots every day. He says his fans are the same, adding, "We're boot friendly here." It is this authenticity that is often advised by songwriters -- to write what you know -- and Pardi and Laird shared their advice to up-and-coming songwriters with Taste of Country.

While Pardi said his producer Bart Butler has always been a mentor to him, he recalls publisher Jennifer Johnson suggesting that he read lyrics to make sense of a song's structure. Meanwhile, Laird said it's important to "check your ego at the door."

"Don't ever think that you have it figured out. I learn just as much when I'm writing with a Hall of Fame songwriter as when I'm writing with a brand new writer in town because we all bring our own unique voice to the room," Laird notes. "Always be willing to learn and just write. There's no secret formula. If you have the goods and what it takes, Nashville is still a town you can get discovered in. There's only so many places you can play open mics and word spreads in town."

Laird knows from firsthand experience, as he was celebrating his 22nd No. 1 hit alongside Pardi. At the "Head Over Boots" No. 1 party held at the BMI offices in Nashville later that afternoon, Pardi and Laird were recognized with several plaques, trophies and even an engraved rocking chair from Cracker Barrel. "Head Over Boots" has been named the most Shazamed song in country music this year, and was recently certified platinum for 1 million in sales.

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