It’s already been firmly established that Luke Combs can write the hell out of a country song.
So why, when he wrote a killer duet with Carly Pearce, did he gives his part away to Lee Brice?
When Brice was in Chicago last week, he explained to me how “I Hope You’re Happy Now” came to be.
“Back when I met Luke Combs for the first time, he was like, ’Man, I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time,'” Brice told me of the early days of Combs’ ascension into country superstar status. “That was before he had anything going on. He said, ’I wanna write like you. And I wanna sing like you.’
“And that was such a big compliment. He has so much charisma, and he’s such an honest dude. And that gets you a long way in country music: being who you are.”
So fast forward to the songwriting session, starring Combs, Randy Montana, Jonathan Singleton and Pearce. After the tune was written, and Combs and Pearce recorded the demo, that demo made its way to Brice. Because apparently, Pearce had had Brice in mind all along.
“As soon as they sent me the song, I was like, ’Yes. For sure.’ Because as soon as I heard it,” he said, “it threw me back to 90s classic country. I love throwing back like that. I was excited, but I did wonder, why me and not Luke? Carly said that when they wrote it, she just pictured my voice on it.
“She said, ’You know when you do that Lee thing? That’s what I want.'”
According to CMT Radio, this is the first time Combs has written an outside cut (a song for another artist). “It’s the first cut that someone else has done. I mean, I’ve had some friends that have cut some songs that I have written and stuff, but as far as a major label, that’s the first thing that I’ve got,” Combs said. “I’m super pumped about it.”