From football to Nashville: Nick Walsh is ready to leave his mark

Nick Walsh performs at The Hat in Manhattan, Kansas on Oct. 20, 2018. Walsh is a former punter for the Kansas State Wildcats who is now pursuing his passion in country music. (Photo by Justin Wright | Collegian Media Group)

For many, country music and football go hand-in-hand. But for one former Kansas State player, this connection goes even deeper.

Nick Walsh, former punter for the Wildcats, is beginning to make his mark in the country music world. Walsh, who received his degree in finance from K-State in December 2017, has shifted his focus onto his new career full time.

“Music’s always been a passion of mine, it just scary because the singer-songwriter life is really different,” said Walsh.

This year Walsh made the tough decision to move his life to Nashville, Tennessee, in order to pursue this passion.

“Life’s too short, crazy things happen so I’m just gonna move to Nashville,” he said. “I told my mom that I was gonna move to Nashville and drove down without a job or a place to stay and now we’re making it work.”

“It’s a lot different, I’m from a small town in Kansas so being surrounded by big-city things is a little different,” he said.

Moving to the “Music City,” Walsh has been finding songwriters and creative individuals that have helped him in pursuing his dreams.

“I’ve been trying to write with as many people as I can, I’ve learned a lot just from doing that,” said Walsh.

With the help of songwriters Rick Tiger and Jeff Wanex, he has put in work into creating new songs, such as his recently finished piece, “Don’t Fool Me Anymore.”

“Being able to co-write songs with other people who know more about the songwriting than I do has been really helpful,“ he said. “They’ve really taken me under their wing. They’ve both been in Nashville for 20 plus years, I’m pretty thankful I was able to write that with them.”

Tiger, who first met Walsh while driving for LYFT, said he enjoys working with Walsh.

“I drove Nick home one night, we got to talking … and he stayed in touch,” Tiger said. “The kid has got that ‘it’ factor about him, he’s approached, he’s engaging. He’s also one of those guys that we wrote the song then two weeks later he’s in Kansas recording it. As a songwriter that’s what you want.”

“He’s got a good voice, and it seems like he’s determined to do something,” Wanex said about Walsh. “There’s a lot of people with talent, but determination is what with gets you somewhere.”

Writing songs has become a daily exercise for Walsh, who works on potential pieces on a regular basis.

“I pretty much write a song a day… It’s just kind of like waking up and working out every day,” he said. “The song writing is a way to work your brain every day and it’s a way to get creative,” he said

While he has taken a step toward his goals with this move, it hasn’t kept him from him from returning here to Kansas.

Performing in venues such as The Hat in Aggieville, Walsh has come back and forth from his new home in Nashville. Opening for several other artists and bands, he sings both covers of popular songs and some of his own original works.

“I wanted to make sure that everybody is gonna have a good time, but I also did want to play just one original song too,” Walsh said. “I would say my songs are a little bit easier on the ears, heavy on the heart.”

Though he has not recorded a full release yet, Walsh fans can keep an eye out because he has plans to do so.

“I’d really like to get 4 or 5 solid songs and sometime in the next year is like to put out a debut EP,” he said. “It’s gonna take some saving up and some really good songwriting on my part.”

Life may have taken some turns for him, but Walsh is hitting this goal head-on. Taking a risk for your passion can be well worth it, he said.

“Sometimes it’s really scary, like moving down to Nashville,” said Walsh. “Sometimes things like that can be the best thing that’s ever happened to you, just taking a risk and trying to follow your passion and then I think things will start to fall into place if you really love something enough.”