Gilbert co-wrote his current single "Heaven by Then" with Michael Hardy, Brock Berryhill, Jake Mitchell, Randy Montana, Hunter Phelps, and Taylor Phillips. The collaboration featuring Blake Shelton and legend Vince Gill touches upon the little things that make life whole – NASCAR, chivalry, faith, and country music.
Gilbert recently (Jan. 9) sat down with Big Machine Label Group to discuss what it was like to cultivate the harmony-stacked ballad. The platinum-selling artist declared that HARDY's professionalism and creative approach made the songwriting process a breeze.
"He's obviously good at what he does, and he does his homework too. It's not like he'll just sit down in a room and expect something awesome to happen," Gilbert told the label. "He shows up with ideas. I think one of his big strengths is he holds his place in a room."
The 37-year-old hitmaker vocalized his weakness and said his strategy could be "overbearing" at times.
"I can be a little overbearing at times. I have a tendency to hijack a write," he confidently admitted. "Like, if I think it's somethin' I want to put on my record, I'll just straight up steal it, and I can box people out and block ideas and block words. I have a tendency to be overbearing in a room."
Gilbert clarified that HARDY is a team player, a great listener, and a songwriter that isn't afraid to advocate for his own work. The father of two acknowledged that working with HARDY was like a breath of fresh air, since finding like-minded collaborators on Music Row can be challenging.
"He doesn't have that. If he really has a solid line, he'll stand up for it, like he's not a pushover when it comes to that, but I just feel like he molds into a room well, and he's a great writer, but he's a great cowriter," he shared. "You know, there is a difference. You'll meet guys that write great songs by themselves that get in a room with other people, and it can be nails on a chalkboard. But he's not one of those. He's a solid ass dude."
Hardy has become one of Gilbert's go-to writers throughout the years. In fact, the BMI 2022 Songwriter of The Year secured a spot on Gilbert's yearly writing retreat in Texas. Following a night of Karaoke and drinking in the lone star state, "Heaven By Then" was born.
"Every night, we do something a little bit different. One night we'll go to this local hole-in-the-wall bar that is literally held up with toothpicks and cardboard, but it's the karaoke joint. But that night we got back, and as you can imagine, it's three in the morning," he previously shared with Today's Country Radio. "We're all sitting out there just hanging out, and HARDY picks up a guitar, and if that dude... That's one dude, if he picks up a guitar, it's like… everybody just starts paying attention. Taylor Phillips was talking about something and he said, 'Shoot, man, I hope I'm in heaven by then.' And HARDY slammed his fist on the table and stood up and he said, "Damn it Taylor." He said, 'Why would you say that in a room full of 10 writers?'"
"Heaven By Then" lives on Gilbert's 10-song project, "So Help Me God." The well-rounded album clearly represents Gilbert's current chapter and place in life. HARDY had a hand in writing four of the progressive songs on the record – "Heaven By Then," "RolexÒ On A Redneck," "The Worst Country Song Of All Time," and the title track.
The clever songsmith exploded into the scene in 2020 with his debut album "A ROCK," but it wasn't until 2022 that he experienced rapid success. The breakout artist has penned five of BMI's top 50 songs, accumulated a billion on-demand album streams, and spent over 106 weeks on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart.
HARDY is just weeks away from introducing his next chapter and second full-length LP, "the mockingbird & The CROW," on Jan. 20. The highly anticipated Joey Moi-produced collection will include – "here lies country music," "Truck Bed," "wait in the truck" featuring Lainey Wilson, and more.
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