If you're an up-and-coming artist, getting a country superstar to collaborate with you is no small feat, so it's especially impressive that Jordan Rager's debut single, "Southern Boy," features none other than Jason Aldean. But as the rising star tells The Boot, Aldean is more than a one-time collaborator; rather, the two have built up a friendship in the couple of years they've known each other.

"Whenever we’d see each other, we would catch up: He’d ask me how I was doing and how’s my music and all that," Rager tells The Boot. "Then I signed at Broken Bow, and he started to become very interested in supporting me and the music that I was cutting. We kind of started to talk about a duet with me and Jason ..."

"Southern Boy," Rager says, was "the perfect song" to make that idea a reality. Written by Jeremy Stover, Luke Laird and Barry Dean, the single is proof positive to Rager that dreams, even lofty childhood ones, come true.

"Every artist dreams about cutting a song, recording a song or writing a song, collaborating, with their favorite artist. Very few get to do it. So for me to get to do it on my first single, I’m incredibly humbled and really, really lucky, and very, very blessed, to get to do it," Rager acknowledges. "It’s so cool to say that your first single is with Jason.”

But Rager and Aldean aren’t just friends: Aldean's father, Barry Williams, also serves as one of Rager's managers. In fact, that's what led to the two singers becoming labelmates at Broken Bow Records.

"[Barry and my other manager, Pete Hartung, who also manages Dustin Lynch] started talking to people at the label and said, ‘You’ve got to come see this kid we’ve got out with Justin Moore,’" Rager recalls. "A couple of the guys came out on the road, and they reported back to the guys upstairs, said they liked me enough to bring me in. I came in and played a couple songs and started sending them music, and that’s kind of how the snowball started rolling."

Being friends with the reigning ACM Awards Entertainer of the Year has its perks -- including being able to ask for advice, which Rager says that Aldean is eager to offer.

“It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it meant something to me -- and [his advice] was, ‘Be yourself, and find out who that is,'" Rager reveals. “Country music’s already got an Alan Jackson. Country music’s already got a Jason Aldean. Country music’s already got an insert-name-here. It’s okay to have role models, and it’s okay to take little things that you see that you like and make that a part of your thing, but you’ve got to find who you are.

"Once you find out who you are," Rager adds, "that’s how you’re going to stand out the best."

"Southern Boy" is available for download on iTunes.

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