Even by country music’s exacting standards for authenticity, Pennsylvania-born, Tennessee-based Warren Zeiders is about as authentic as they come. Pouring his soul out across Pretty Little Poison’s 14 songs, the fast-rising Zeiders has created a debut album that acts as a cure for heartbreak, while also proving himself to be a natural-born songwriter who’s earned every bit of acclaim thrown his way since the release of his debut single, Ride The Lightning, in 2021. Going from staging an impromptu performance at a local bar to appearing on the Grand Ole Opry and announcing a headline show at Nashville’s iconic Ryman Auditorium before even releasing his debut, Zeiders’ story is one of up-from-the-bootstraps self-determination the likes of which few artists possess.
“This album is my story. It’s who I am. It’s who I’ve always been,” he says of Pretty Little Poison. “I still put in the work. I still push myself.”
Listen to ‘Pretty Little Poison’ here.
A rising country star: “A lightbulb went off, and I thought, This is something I should pursue”
Despite being a relative newcomer to the country scene, the 24-year-old Zeiders is no stranger to a crowd. Before committing himself to music, he played lacrosse for over a decade, but was forced to bow out of a successful career after too many concussions threatened his long-term health. In swapping his lacrosse stick for an acoustic guitar, however, Zeiders took much of the discipline he’d learned as an athlete into his newly chosen career as a musician. “There were so many tournaments in different cities. So many different hotel rooms,” Zeiders has said of the gruelling demands of being a full-time sportsman. “It felt a lot like touring. It taught me about travel, commitment and hard work at a young age.”
Learning things the old-fashioned way, Zeiders taught himself guitar by playing along with Chris Stapleton and Luke Combs records in his bedroom, before a song by the latter set his new destiny in motion: while Zeiders was out for dinner with his family, a local musician began taking requests; when she didn’t know Combs’ song Beautiful Crazy, Zeiders got up and played it for the room. “I had an out-of-body experience,” he says. “In that moment, a lightbulb went off, and I thought, This is something I should pursue.”
Over 1.4 billion TikTok views, nearly 100 million audio streams and a collection of early recordings, titled 717 Tapes, later, Zeiders released Pretty Little Poison on 18 August 2023 as a fully formed statement of intent.