“Music is the number one thing in my life. That wasn’t always the case—I lived a little too much of the rock star lifestyle before,” Chase Rice says openly about the party-hard life he’s lived over the past few years. As a songwriter, Rice exploded into the country music scene in 2012 as a co-writer on “Cruise,” the breakthrough hit for duo Florida Georgia Line that would go on to be certified Diamond, for more than 10 million in sales. He followed with two Top 5 hits, “Ready Set Roll” and “Gonna Wanna Tonight.” With the success came plenty of reasons for partying, until he realized the good times were taking away from the creativity that brought him success in the first place.
“But now it’s not about that. It’s about music now,” he says.
Rice has spent the better part of the past two years refocusing himself as a songwriter, a singer and an artist—and he has plenty of new music to show for it. At midnight, he made a surprise album drop, with The Album Part I, the first half of a two-part project for BBR Music Group. Rice co-wrote four of the project’s seven tracks, including his recently released “Lonely If You Are.”
“I feel like it’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” he says, which is saying a lot for an artist who celebrated a two-week No. 1 hit last year with “Eyes On You,” a track that has earned more than 330 million streams and counting.
Rice is still in the studio refining the second part of the project, which will release later this year.
“To me music is consumed so differently. It’s a singles world and I don’t want to put too much out at one time,” he says of the album’s release strategy. “I’ve been teasing the album online, saying it’s coming for a few months,” so I thought, ‘Let’s just drop the thing.’”
The new project marks one of Rice’s most personal projects to date, one heavily inspired by a recent romantic relationship that fizzled.
“We were together about two years, and within probably the last six months we ended it. It’s still a great relationship. She’s in med school and I’m doing music and you don’t see each other very much when that happens. But when I go through something, either good or bad, I get to tell it in the songs.”
“Everywhere,” which Rice co-wrote with Zachary Kale and James McNair, plumbs the depths of the relationship’s impact, long after it has ended.
“’Everywhere’ is really personal to me, just feeling like everywhere you go, you see her. I remember being at a Red Sox game and every game I saw, I saw her. I wanted this album to be real and I wanted to hear that in the lyrics.”
But the seven-song project also makes it clear that Rice is ready to move forward, musically and personally. He calls the songs “Messy” and “Forever To Go” “probably my two favorites on the album,” as each song looks toward being in a relationship for the right reasons and offer the fortitude and determination to make a good relationship last.
Seth Ennis and Kylie Sackley penned the slow burn ballad “Messy.”
“I just kept wanting to hear this song over and over,” Rice says. “Whether I write a song or don’t write it, I come from the same place—if I keep wanting to hear it again, that’s probably a good sign.
“It took us a couple of shots to really nail it down in the studio. I love what it’s saying—you’ve got messed up stuff, I’ve got messed up stuff, but in a relationship, everybody has a past and everyone has struggles and things they’ve been through that suck. But that’s what a great relationship is, seeing that side of somebody but loving them anyway.”
Sackley also adds her soothing, haunting vocals to the track.
“That’s part of why I wanted her on the song. Nobody knows a song like the song’s writers,” he says.
Rice says fans can expect more personal songs on the second part of the album that will release later this year.
“I’ve got enough music for two or three albums,” he says. “I’m just trying to not overthink the music. If I’m in the room writing with a great track guy and we got a great sounding track, I let them produce it. This album is me, this is what I’ve been through.”
Rice is currently touring in Europe and will join Brantley Gilbert’s Fire’t Up Tour beginning in April.
“I’m just real focused on music again and making and recording the best songs I can. I haven’t played most of these songs live yet, and I’m ready to let the fans hear them.” Rice says.
The Album Part I Track List:
“American Nights” (Kevin Griffin, Martin Johnson; produced by Martin Johnson)
“Lonely If You Are” (Chase Rice, Lindsay Rimes, Hunter Phelps; produced by Chris DeStefano and Chase Rice)
“Everywhere” (Chase Rice, Zachary Kale, James McNair; produced by Zachary Kale)
“Best Night Ever” (Chase Rice, Chris DeStefano, Matt Jenkins; produced by Chris DeStefano)
“Messy” (Seth Ennis, Kylie Sackley; produced by Chris DeStefano)
“In The Car” (Chase Rice, Jesse Rice, Hunter Phelps, Mark Holman; produced by Chris DeStefano)
“Forever To Go” (Jordan Minton, Casey Brown, Geoffrey Warburton; produced by Casey Brown)
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