JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Johnson City artist known for his single “Johnson City, Tennessee” visited Johnson City on Monday to announce his pivot to country music and his cover of “Wagon Wheel,” an Old Crow Medicine Show song known for the crowd-favorite line “Johnson City, Tennessee.”

“I feel like my whole career has kind of been moving towards this point,” Mo Sabri said in an interview with News Channel 11’s Josh Smith. “This song in particular, it’s been a few months in the works. And I figured for my first country record, instead of doing one of my originals that I have in the works, I wanted to come out with a song that has meant a lot to me and our area.”

Photo: Mo Sabri

Sabri got his start in the Tri-Cities through YouTube publication of music videos, including a 2011 treatment of “Johnson City, Tennessee.” Now, Sabri is working to tack his name up among the country greats of Nashville.

“I’ve been in Nashville for the past six years and just making music full time,” Sabri said. “I’m really fortunate to be a recording artist and I never thought that I’d even be able to make that happen.”

As the first South-Asian American that he’s aware of trying to make a name in Nashville, Sabri said the path ahead has no clear directions. He just hopes that staying true to his roots pays off.

“It’s exciting to do a cover that everybody knows, but it’s definitely a bit nerve-wracking. But I’m excited for people to hear it because I’m definitely taking my own take on it,” Sabri said. “I’m taking my pop influences, some of my hip hop flow a little bit, but it’s truly a country song. And I’m really letting it rip with the guitar on there, too.”

Photo: Mo Sabri

Sabri said he hopes to bring new perspectives and sounds to the scene as well.

“I think country music is very ready and very welcoming to people who traditionally have not been represented in it,” Sabri said. “And me making the song is not in spite of it, but because of the readiness for welcoming all types of people. I think that country music is a big representation of America and America’s for everyone.”

Sabri said his single will drop at midnight on Tuesday and can be found on streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and others.