Milledgeville native songwriter Thomas Archer has reached country music’s mountaintop twice again.
The Georgia College and John Milledge Academy alum recently had two songs reach No. 1 on the Mediabase Country Music and Billboard Country charts, giving him three now in his songwriting career. The two most recent No. 1’s hit the pinnacle just a few weeks apart — first with Luke Combs’ “Lovin’ On You” a month ago, followed by “Got What I Got” by Jason Aldean last week. Combs’ song remained at the top spot for four weeks, then, after a two-week break, Archer’s work was back again with Aldean. In speaking with The Union-Recorder Friday, Archer was hopeful “Got What I Got” would hold its No. 1 status for a second week.
“It’s very exciting because it’s rare to get,” Archer said of the two No. 1’s in quick succession. “You treat every one like it could be your last. It puts you into a different category as a songwriter. There are great songwriters up here who don’t have hits who are overdue. There are some who get that first hit that might just be luck. If you do it enough, you can stumble across one and maybe two. But when you get three and four, it puts you into a category of people who know what they’re doing. You get looked at just a little bit differently and bump up a level.”
Co-written by Archer, Ray Fulcher, James McNair and the performer himself, the beginnings of “Lovin’ On You” can be traced back to Combs’ 2017 nationwide tour. The Asheville, N.C. singer-songwriter had just gotten his own artist’s tour bus, meaning he was traveling separately from his band members. He brought a few writers, including Archer, with him so they could collaborate on some future songs while on the road. The tour made stops in Fayetteville, Arkansas and Denver, Colorado with no progress made other than the guys working to shave a few strokes off their golf scorecards.
“Luke’s one of those guys who isn’t going to write every single day,” Archer said. “Sometimes you get there as a writer and wonder what you’re doing. I was having fun and all, but I was really wanting to write something.”
A stop in Kansas City yielded some chart-topping productivity, though.
“It was one of those days where Luke came on the bus and said, ‘Let’s write.’ It was Ray Fulcher’s title, and we wrote it in 45 minutes to an hour,” said Archer.
Their work created “Lovin’ On You,” which three years later became Archer’s first No. 1 since the 2017 mega-hit “Hurricane,” another collaboration with Combs. “Hurricane” was up against some heavy-hitters on the chart, so it did not remain on top for long. It has, however, had some serious legs when it comes to sales. “Hurricane” is currently four-times certified Platinum, meaning it has sold over four million copies, and it will likely reach five. Another of Archer’s songwriting credits, “You Broke Up With Me” by Walker Hayes, peaked at No. 9 around the same time as “Hurricane” and reached double Platinum status. Sales figures are not yet back for “Lovin’ On You” and Aldean’s current No. 1 “Got What I Got.”
Through his joint publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music and Madfun Music’s Alicia Pruitt, Archer has many more what he hopes are future smash hits in the works. That songwriting deal was announced just earlier this week.
“Thomas has the ability as a songwriter to make you believe he has lived every word he writes,” Pruitt said in a press release announcing the agreement. “That is what I love about his songwriting. With his work ethic and true love for music, I knew I wanted to work with him the first time we met. I’m thrilled to have him as part of this team and look forward to celebrating lots of wins together with my Warner Chappell family.”
No matter who he’s writing for or when he’s writing, nearly all of Archer’s inspiration comes from the same place.
“I draw 99 percent of the ideas I write from are from growing up in Milledgeville and the experiences I’ve had with my friends there,” he said. “Growing up on my family’s farm, everyone listened to country music and that’s kind of the lifestyle we lived.”