"Outer Banks" Actor Charles Esten Calls Himself a Reformed "Bad Decision Machine" When Explaining New Single "One Good Move"
Country singer and actor Charles Esten said he was a "bad decision machine" when he was younger. And looking back on it, he wishes he had come to Nashville much sooner than he did. Esten's relationship with Nashville and country music began when he portrayed country heartthrob Deacon Claybourne on ABC's "Nashville," which eventually shifted to CMT.
A decade later, "Nashville" the show is over, and the actor is part of the "Outer Banks" cast. But Esten still sings country music and calls Music City home. He released the first single from his debut album last week. "One Good Move," he said, was inspired by the only decision he got right when he was young -- to marry his wife, Patty.
"I love going on a journey, even within the song," Esten says. "I love a dynamic range. It starts kind of general and quiet, and then it starts to rock into the pre-chorus. By the time we're on the chorus, I'm singing out loud, 'You're my one good move.' Most of my ballads end up rocking. This one is that to a T."
Esten wrote the song with Sam Backoﬀ, Zarni deVette and Elise Hayes at a writers' retreat organized by British artist Twinnie. He remembers sitting around telling stories with his co-writers before lunch and talking about how hard it would have been for him to be a young person in the age of video cameras on cell phones.
"It wouldn't have worked out," Esten says. "I wasn't that bright. You put in a quarter, and I'll give you a bad decision and a foolish youth. Then I said, 'Except for one thing, honestly, my wife, Patty. She was my one good move.'"
The conversation continued, and the new friends ate lunch. When it was time to write again, Esten was surprised to hear his co-writers wanted to write a song called "One Good Move" based on their conversation.
"We got in the room, and they go, 'Well, we're writing that,'" Esten says. "Instantly, I knew they were right, and it immediately sounded like a title. I thought, 'Oh, that's awesome.'"
While "One Good Move" is Esten's first single from his debut album, it is far from his debut single. Esten holds the Guinness World Record for most songs released in consecutive weeks. He digitally released an original song every Friday for 54 weeks in 2018.
"That's all just preamble to the album that I've been thinking of making for a long time," Esten says. "If you had asked me back then, I would've guessed I would've done an album a couple of years ago. Then again, they say it's a 10-year town. If I'm being honest, maybe I wasn't ready before this. All of those singles were my 10,000 hours of doing something. And if I'm honest again, it was a whole lot of finding out who I am as an artist. I guess that's what we're all trying to do is get to the heart and the core of what makes us us. What might look like procrastination feels more like just waiting for the right time."