"I've always been rebellious and just wanting to do my own thing," Beathard tells PEOPLE

By Danielle Anderson
Updated April 08, 2016 02:15 PM
Mat Hayward/Getty

Singer-songwriter Tucker Beathard is only 21, but he’s already catching people’s attention with his debut single “Rock On.” One person in particular? Dierks Bentley, who invited the newcomer out on his upcoming summer tour. He’ll also be playing the Tortuga Music Festival on April 15. Here are five things you need to know about Beathard:

1. Songwriting is in his genes – his dad is hitmaker Casey Beathard
My dad has been a huge role model. His first break out song was Kenny Chesney‘s “No Shoes” and he’s had quite a few since then: “Don’t Blink,” “Boys of Fall,” “Homeboy.” It’s just been great to have him around. I’ve always been a fan of the way my dad tells stories.

2. Speaking of stories… He’s the inspiration behind the Eric Church hit “Homeboy”
My dad wrote the song. They kind of farfetched the title, but I definitely was the inspiration behind it. I’ve always been rebellious and just wanting to do my own thing. I was lost and trying to find myself and figure out some stuff. There was a lot of internal stuff that was going on with me, and just feelings that I just couldn’t really ever express.

All that did lead me and continues to lead me to songwriting. That’s why I started writing songs in the first place, I just needed an outlet for a lot of things. I don’t like expressing feelings and talking about things, but when I found songwriting, you can really just pour it all out in a song. It was really the best feeling for me ever and still is.

3. He never does cover songs
“I would rather not get somebody’s attention with my own songs, then get their drunk, short, party attention for somebody else’s. I’m trying to build my own foundation and figure out what works and what doesn’t. It’s just a lot more rewarding seeing somebody dig your stuff, instead of saying, ‘Yeah, I love your cover of whatever.’ Because anybody can do a cover song.

There’s been plenty of places where I’ve played that would have been a hell of a lot easier to do songs that people already knew and do covers, but I would rather get booed off stage for playing my own stuff. The amount of times that I’ve heard people in the crowd yell “Freebird” and “Wagon Wheel” … It never fails. It’s like, ‘Oh, there it is.'”

4. He gave up a baseball scholarship to pursue music
It was definitely the toughest decision of my life. When you start out at 4 years old playing sports and you’ve been doing it for 15 years, then turn 19 and you just cut it off, it’s a pretty dramatic change. There was definitely some people who did believe that I could get drafted and would in the future, but it’s tough to make it to the major leagues.

Ditching college and baseball was definitely a tough decision in my life. I just jumped in and took a leap of faith, and I’m thankful for it. I love playing music every day.

5. He has six tattoos now… but his first attempt didn’t go so well
When I was 15, I wanted to get a tattoo really bad, but I wasn’t allowed. So I had a metal cross necklace and I went into my brother’s room late one night with it and a lighter, and I said, “Hey, dude, heat this up and I want you to brand it on my chest.” It was a lot harder than it sounded. I thought it was going to be easy and you just put it on and there you go, you got a burnt cross on your chest.

Next thing you know, I woke up and I have seven half-assed crosses on my chest that are just burnt and scarred over. Believe it or not, I still have scars on my chest from trying to brand a cross on my chest.

I didn’t realize how bad it would hurt. It would heat up and it was like, “All right. Ready? One, two, three.” It’d hit me and I was like, “Oh, s—,” and I’d flinch, and it’d pull off, and it only did like half of it. I don’t think I ever accomplished a full cross and even if I did, you wouldn’t be able to tell because there’s so many messed up, half crosses on my chest. Thankfully, the scars are still there but are actually really hard to see now.