Aaron Watson has written a song with a very special message for his upcoming album, Red Bandana. The singer-songwriter hopes that "To Be the Moon" will encourage fans everywhere to celebrate their own unique qualities.

Watson has been working for years to slowly build a strong career in country music, starting in his home base of Texas and working outward until he established himself as a national touring act. In 2015 he debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart with his aptly-titled The Underdog album, which he released independently. His 2017 follow-up, Vaquero, was also an indie success story, scoring him his first mainstream hit single with "Outta Style." But as much success as he’s had, Watson doesn’t have the machinery of mainstream stardom behind him, and that’s part of what inspired “To Be the Moon,” which is debuting exclusively with Taste of Country.

Watson was inspired to write the song the day after the 2017 ACM Awards, after what he describes as several humbling encounters with mainstream media on the red carpet.

“I had a few moments where I kinda got treated like a chump,” he ruefully admits. “I’m sitting there waiting in line for 10 or 15 minutes to talk to the next one, to do an interview, and you know, some big country star walks up, and they’re like, ‘Sorry, we’ve got to get them in,’ and people are just cutting in front of me. And then when I finally get up there, they’re asking me questions like, ‘What’s your favorite color?’ 99.99 percent of the time that doesn’t bother me, but I had my wife with me, and you know, I wanna be macho in front of my wife. What husband doesn’t want to be?”

Watson did get some face time on the broadcast, though — as part of the audience, when Keith Urban was singing from the crowd and Watson happened to be positioned right by him. The following morning, Watson heard from a young friend named Hayden, an 11-year-old who was born with spina bifida. He’s confined to a wheelchair, and the two became friends several years ago after Hayden’s parents brought him out to several of Watson’s shows.

“He texted me, and he said, ‘I saw you on the ACM Awards last night,’” Watson recalls. “And he said, ‘I wanna be a star just like you someday.’”

Watson wasn’t feeling much like a star.

“I said, ‘Well, I’m not a star.’ And he said, “Well, if you’re not a star, what are you?’ And I said, “Man, I don’t know. Maybe I’m more like the moon.’”

“Explain,” Hayden returned.

Mulling it over, Watson says, “I walked the red carpet, and I was surrounded by all those stars, and honestly, I’m just not one of them. I kinda just don’t fit in … I’ve never even been nominated, and I don’t even covet those kinds of things. But that’s kind of where ‘To Be the Moon’ came from, is that we can’t all be stars, and that’s okay, because there are other things that are equally as important.”

Written as an acoustic lullaby accompanied by swelling strings, “To Be the Moon” ended up as a shot of encouragement to anyone who’s feeling a little discouraged about their place in the world. The lyrics celebrate everyone’s unique qualities.

"So don't you dare duck behind the clouds and hide / You help children dream and you make lovers swoon / Don't you know you're strong enough to change the tide / So it's not so bad to be the moon," Watson sings in the uplifting chorus.

“I wrote that song for anyone who’s different,” Watson tells us. “I want anybody who is feeling down in the dumps, anyone who is feeling different, I want them to understand that it’s not so much that they’re different, it’s that they’re more unique.”

Hayden is one such example, and that’s why Watson told him “To Be the Moon” is his song.

“He loves country music and he loves Wheel of Fortune and Ellen, and he loves hotels. Man, this kid is unique, and he’s awesome,” Watson enthuses. “He has been so excited over this last year, knowing that he has a song on my record.”

Hayden does have one bone to pick with Watson over the track, however.

“He did tell me that I shouldn’t call it ‘To Be the Moon,” Watson shares. “He told me it just needed to be called ‘Hayden’s Song.’”

“To Be the Moon” is one of 20 all-new songs that Watson wrote for Red Bandana, which is set for release on June 21. The album is available for pre-order via an array of digital music services beginning Friday (April 12), and fans who order in advance will receive instant downloads of “To Be the Moon” and another track, “Trying Like the Devil.”

For more information about Aaron Watson, visit his official website, or follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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