When Lee Brice took the stage in Chicago on Thursday night (Sept. 7), it was all about sharing his new music. But he also threw in an old story about his first love, circa 1984.
It was about his kindergarten girlfriend and how she inspired Brice to write his first song.
"I was 10, so I hadn't seen her in like five years. So half my life. It was the first time I ever wrote a song. It was called 'Friends,'" Brice explained before singing a bit of what he remembered from that old song, "I loved you then and I love you now, and that's how friends should be."
His passion for songwriting goes back to kindergarten and to the clock radio he had in his room. That's where he'd listen to love songs on the country radio station.
"I wanted to write songs because when I listened to love songs, something inside of me was like, 'I wanna sing songs and write songs and sing them to my girlfriend.' That was my ultimate goal," he said.
Before all of that country music inspired him, Brice says he listened mostly to gospel music.
"My dad sang in gospel quartets, so it really was more than just a Sunday morning thing. It was my whole life. It was always on," he said.
But once he started to hear Garth Brooks, Alabama, George Strait, Vince Gill, he was hooked.
"Vince killed me. And Garth always took me to crazy awesome places," he said. However, Brice was quick to add that if he wasn't listening to gospel or country, it was Boyz II Men, Whitney Houston and Edwin McCain.
Brice's stage for the intimate show was inside the AT&T flagship store on Chicago's Magnificent Mile, and the Q&A came after he played a 10-song set for fans who won their way in through country radio WEBG.
Brice threw some older hits into the set, like "Hard to Love," "Drinking Class," and "Boy," but he spent the majority of his time showcasing the tunes from his upcoming album, set for Nov. 3 release.
Songs included "Rumor," "The Best Part of Me," "The Locals," "You Can't Help Who You Love" and "I Don't Smoke." He also performed "What Keeps You Up at Night," which will feature his brother Lewis and their parents on background vocals on the album.