Editor’s Note: CMT Hot 20 Countdown takes a look back on 10 years of incredible music with Decade, a weekly segment that features a modern country classic that made its greatest impact between 2010 and 2019. This week, Luke Bryan talks about his 2013 single, “That’s My Kind of Night.” CMT Hot 20 Countdown airs at 9/8c Saturday and Sunday mornings.
CMT: What did you think the first time you heard “That’s My Kind of Night”?
Luke Bryan: I thought, “Big ol’ summer dancin’ fun.” … I love going out playing big stadiums and watching people dancing in the aisles and drinking beer and having fun. And that song, I felt like, the first time I heard it, would certainly facilitate a big ol’ fun time.
Dallas Davidson said when he wrote it [with Chris DeStefano and Ashley Gorley] that you would feel the same way about it.
The reason why Dallas and I have had success writing and I’ve had success recording some of his songs — or a lot of his songs — is because we grew up in the same area. We kind of speak each other’s language a little bit.
It’s funny, he’ll write a song to this day and he’s like, “Hey, I got one comin’ for you. It’s one you’re gonna like.” And nine times out of ten, it’s something that really speaks to me and something that I really like. “That’s My Kind of Night,” the second I heard it — there were just so many hooks throughout the song.
One of the best aspects about the video is, I was building my pond at my house and we shot the video in the bottom of my pond, my bass lake. So now every time I’m out there, I’m like, “Yeah, my fish are swimming over where we shot the video.”
Did you actually catch the fish in the video?
[laughs] Well, that catfish was flown in. He was brought in, but I have caught real fish in real videos before. That’s the only time we had to use Hollywood tricks.
The only time you had a stunt fish.
Stunt fish. Yeah. Call in Ol’ Whiskers.
The video has had 102 million views so far. Can you wrap your head around that number?
That’s amazing. Anytime you look online, and certainly YouTube, and see how many people have watched it – and I think Zac Brown had 10 million of those views. I’m just playin’! Just playin’. [laughs]
But it is very humbling when you know that, and even when you look and there’s multiple videos that have been streamed and watched that much, it’s pretty hard to wrap your head around. It’s always amazing to see that you’ve reached that many people with your videos.
Can you let criticism of your work bounce off you?
I’ve spent a good part of this decade doing my brand of music and I’m pretty confident in my track record. … I’m very proud about how I’ve entered into this business. I’ve had fun with it. I’ve put fun music out and I’ve put really, really heart-touching music out. I’m not gonna put out 25 sappy, sad songs. It’s just not gonna work that way for me.
So, if people want to sit back and [criticize me]… That’s just the way of the world these days and if I want to scroll down and read the comments then it’s on me at that point. I can honestly say there’s been times in my career where stuff’s bothered me but I’ve kind of moved on from that, I think. The problem is when you let that stuff enter into your mindset, it can control what you want to do musically.
I think the second that I quit having fun with my music and my shows… we’re still sellin’ ‘em out after so many years because I have to stay true to what I am, and I think the fans gravitate to that. As an artist, you have to do your lane. You have to do what brings you enjoyment in music. And that’s what I’ve done for this decade and what I’ll continue to do.
What effect did “My Kind of Night” have on your career?
I think when you look at trying to play stadium shows and you think about the stadium artists of our genre and our era — when you look at Kenny Chesney … and even George Strait, they gotta have four or five kind of anthemic songs. And for stadiums, “Country Girl Shake It for Me” certainly checks that box. [So does] “I Don’t Want This Night to End.” And “That’s My Kind of Night” is just another energetic, high-energy stadium song. It’s so hard to find those up-tempos that really move the needle for you.
I mean, we’re sitting here in [Bridgestone Arena,] the home of the Predators and every time they score a goal, “I Like It, I Love It, I Want Some More of It” comes on the PA. And “I Like It, I Love It, I Want Some More of It” is not rocket science. But it works. And “That’s My Kind of Night” just works for a good time and you gotta have those, in my opinion, in your career. And it did, it gave me another element of a big ol’ fun up-tempo.
When you were recording “That’s My Kind of Night,” did you have a mental picture of how it would be playing it live?
Oh, yeah. Early in my career I didn’t, ‘cause you can’t visualize… you’re praying for success but you can’t really… still a lot has gotta happen. But now it’s fun when I record a big song or something, I always like to visualize what the fans will do when I play it and certainly “That’s My Kind of Night” felt that way. It just had all the little makings of magic on it.