On his way to a Nashville songwriting session with Adam Wood and Ashley Gorley, Lee Brice stopped by the CMT offices to talk about, well, songwriting.
But first, that duet.
Brice's duet with Carly Pearce -- "I Hope You're Happy Now" -- is one that he had a feeling would be a hit. "But then again, it’s so hard to tell if a song will be a hit on the radio. But I knew people would love it, so I knew it would be a hit with people," Brice told me of the top ten tune. "As soon as it hit the charts, though, radio was jumping all over it and saying it was a smash. That’s always a really good sign.
"In my heart I knew, but you never really know. It’s on fire now. Heck, I feel blessed to be a part of that moment in music. To have my voice on the radio," he said, "I’m always grateful for that."
Pearce wrote that song with Luke Combs, Randy Montana and Jonathan Singleton.
So what's the secret to writing songs that could be a potential smash?
"It's everything from sitting down with a blank brain and a blank sheet of paper to just starting to play music and see what comes out. Or sometimes my iTunes will randomly play a song and it gives me an idea. The other day on my way to a write, I was thinking about a new version of a Don Williams kind of song. And I walked straight in and said to the engineer, 'Give me a kick drum and a guitar.' I just threw down a groove before my co-writers even got there."
But sometimes, inspiration is a little more strategic than just waiting on an idea. "Sometimes it’s a matter of looking at what you have: love songs, break-up songs, feel-good songs, and then you see where the gaps are. I always say, 'Let’s not write the same song twice.' I like my albums to be balanced, that’s just part of my artistry. And I will always want to make a body of work. Fans want that, too."
Next up for Brice is a song about one of them girls. He wrote it with Ashley Gorley, and hopes to release it right around the ACM Awards.
"It’s kind of like the girl that you might not think a guy would want at a young age," he shared. "She kind of plays hard to get, she's a good girl, she respects herself, she works hard, she's not necessarily looking to party down, and she is not looking for guys.
"But when you grow up, as a guy, that’s the kind of woman you want."