If you want to “ride the lighting,” you have to risk getting struck. This is the story of twenty-two-year-old Warren Zeiders who took a chance on a career in country music after dedicating more than half of his life to playing lacrosse. In the course of one short year, Zeiders has become Nashville’s latest rising artist. The storm landed during his first year of playing college lacrosse when he suffered two concussions and made the decision to give up the sport for good and find a completely new path. “That was my seventh concussion. I had to pivot and figure out where my life was going to go.” Then COVID happened, and he was forced to deal with his existential dilemma in the confinements of his home. Quarantine was especially challenging for him as an extrovert. “There's nothing open. I can't see people. There's got to be something I can use my time and energy for in a good way.” Amid the chaos of 2020, Zeiders returned to his childhood passion for music and began learning songs and trying his hand at songwriting. “I started jotting down notes in my phone of lyrics and ideas. I hopped on social media, onto YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok and I started posting covers along with original music. The first video I put up, day one, got 30,000 views.” What happened next completely changed the course of Zeiders’ life. “My followers became fans without me even thinking about it.”
Not long after, Zeiders’ talent was noticed by Music City. “Once my manager came into my life and told me, ‘You can do this,’ the bet was off. It was a light switch that went off. He told me I can do this, so I gave him everything I have. All my time. All my energy. My mentality was, you gave me this chance, you won’t regret it. And I never looked back.” The next thing he knew, he was writing songs with some of the best in the music industry. The song that ignited Zeiders’ career, “Ride the Lightning,” was the second song he had written in his life, and it was his first song written with his new team in Nashville in his manager’s guest bedroom. It is what he considers “the bridge that opened my eyes and showed people around me in my life that I had a voice and I had something to say.” It gave him the chance to show the world that he is more than a lacrosse player, more than just another guy with a guitar; he is an artist who belongs in the country music world.
Zeiders brings a new edge to country music through the multiple influences he draws on, from his personal love for country music to the wide variety of genres he grew up listening to. He tells us, “I have a lot of different influences, anywhere from country music to rock and roll. I was always a big fan of AC/DC, Motley Crew, and Quiet Riot so there are some of those influences in my music.” But the reason why he writes country songs specifically stems from his deep personal connection with the lifestyle it represents: “Country music is a lifestyle. It's your background and your upbringing.” Growing up surrounded by the wilderness of Pennsylvania, Zeiders’ music is a true reflection of his tough, frenetic energy that resonates so well with his fans. “My favorite line in “Ride the Lightning” is, ‘Momma always said I was born on the wild side.’ I think a lot of people connected with that, because no matter how good you are, I think we all have this wild side to us. I was always a daredevil growing up. I never knew my limits. I was always getting hurt. So many accidents, seven concussions. I was always getting banged and bruised, but I think the essence is, I was more on the wild side, but I don't let that stuff stop me. I keep finding the next thing. I keep pushing myself.”
And he hasn’t stopped pushing. Since posting his first music video to TikTok just one year ago, Zeiders has been hitting the ground running with his music and “just running with it.” He firmly believes that everything happens for a reason, and all of this was in the cards for him from leaving lacrosse to learning how to self-market his music during the pandemic. He describes his journey as “a blessing, a blur, super exciting. And it has been nothing but the best experience in probably the best year of my life.” He feels strongly about his art and will continue to put music out there that both he and his fans can appreciate. “At the end of the day, it's all about my fans because they got me here and they literally formed me into an artist without me even knowing it. I owe everything to them.” His music is as much about connecting with others as it is about going all in on pursuing what he is passionate about. “I’ve seen how much I can make an impact on someone’s life with music, and that’s why music has always resonated with me.” In just 365 days, Zeiders’ lost his identity as a lifelong athlete, was forced to leave college during a global pandemic, and then transformed into one of Nashville’s fastest rising stars. As Zeiders says, “Take the risk, do what you love, and stick to your guns.”