Savannah musician encourages unity, brotherhood with group’s new song

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – “No, we’re not the same color, but we all bleed red.”

The powerful lyric kicks off the chorus of “Brother,” the first single from Tennessee-based duo, Exit 216.

“We’re literally all in this together, we don’t need to be divided,” said artist Cole Burkett of the song’s message. 

“It’s better to love than it is to create conflict so that that’s what the song brings,” the Nashville native told NOW. 

Last December, Savannah-born singer-songwriter Steven Battey formed the soul-country group with Burkett, who Battey says brings a blend of blues, soul, bluegrass, country, pop and rock influences to the act. 

Exit 216’s name originates from the highway exit leading to Nashville International Airport.

Battey, who got his start in music performing on River Street with his brother Carlos as part of The Jackie Boys, left the Coastal Empire at age 19 to continue pursuing his dream.

He and his brother went on to produce and write for artists including Madonna, Chris Brown and Justin Bieber, even earning themselves a Grammy award.

With his latest project and the release of Exit 216’s new track, Battey tells NOW he and Burkett hope to spread a message of brotherhood and unity during challenging times.

“The main thing a preacher taught me was just to love thy neighbor,” Battey said. 

“I’ve always had a spirit of unity for people that I don’t know and people that I do know to just stay together and make the best of this life we have,” he said.

Battey, who co-wrote “Brother,” says he hopes his and Burkett’s song resonates with those who may not have many friends of different ethnicities and backgrounds.

“We’re in a war every day with life; people are getting sick, people are losing their jobs, and we need to come together and all be family,” Battey said in a Zoom interview, adding, “No matter what our differences might be, we can always find a common ground.”

He shares that some of the most influential people he’s met in life often looked nothing like him.

“‘Maybe we need to discover a little more about each other; we might have grown up on a different track, but you’re still my brother,’” Battey recited from “Brother.”  

“For me, that’s a very important line for everyone just to think about,” he said.

The music video for “Brother,” which you can view on YouTube here, will be officially released on July 17.

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