The Transformation of Chase Rice: ‘It’s About the Music Now’

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Chase Rice has never been one to be overly dramatic. But to say that he went through a total life transformation just over a year ago wouldn’t be an overstatement.

It’s the truth.

And it’s this truth that the North Carolina native is ready to tell on The Album Part I, a collection of seven life-defining songs that Rice says is the album that essentially starts his career.

“I think I’ve had plenty of time to think about what I want to say and how I want to say it,” Rice told American Songwriter in the days leading up to the surprise release. “And believe me, now I know. I don’t think I have ever put anything out that compares to The Album Part I.

Indeed, a year and a half ago, Rice admits that he had a moment of enlightenment, a moment when he realized what he needed to do in order to have lasting power in the often cut-throat genre of country music.

“I was partying my ass off before,” he admits while on a recent tour stop in Europe. “I was just living that rock star life. I was losing why I got into this in the first place. So, I sat back and worked on my personal life and my family and my music and I finally realized that I only have one shot. I don’t want to blow this.”

He takes a deep breath.

“The last year and a half is the first time in my life that I truly put the music first.”

Granted, one can hear that heart and determination in every single honest to goodness song on The Album Part I.

“I finally realized that I can work as hard as I can and write the best songs I can and sing the best I can and become the best producer I can and really study this and try to be great…and that’s all I can really control,” he remarks. “I can’t control a lot after that. All I can focus on is the music.”

And the music is good.

Damn good.

Besides his current single “Lonely If You Are,” the seven song collection is as real as Rice has gotten in his creative career. “American Nights” serves as a rather poetic ode to the beauty of diversity and pushed Rice ‘harder than I have ever been pushed.’  “Forever to Go” is the picture perfect look at the often messy reality of any love story and ‘will surprise a lot of people coming from me’ and ‘will take this whole thing to a whole another level.’ And “Messy” is an emotional journey into ‘a relationship that can be a disaster sometimes’ and serves as yet another look at life away from the social media filters.

And yes, every single song tells a little more of Rice’s story.

“There was a time when I worried about songs being to personal,” admits Rice, who will perform on an already much talked about episode of The Bachelor come Monday (Jan. 27.). “I just didn’t know if they were going to hit home with my fans. But I’m never going to make that mistake again. I’m going to get as personal as I can because that’s what has been successful for me. I’ve finally figured that out.”

The Album Part I also tells the story of a woman who stole Rice’s heart.

“It was the best relationship I have ever been in,” Rice says of the woman who he dated for a year and a half and who inspired a good portion of the songs on The Album Part I. “The worst part is that she didn’t do anything wrong and I didn’t do anything wrong. It was just timing. It just didn’t work out, for now. Who knows? It may come back around.”

He sighs.

“I just decided to dive into that,” he continues. “It still sucks thinking about it, but its part of life and you move on. And the greatest thing about what I get to do for a living is that most of the time I don’t have to pay for a therapist. I just write a song about it.”

And yes, there are more songs about her.

That’s one of the reasons Rice decided to call this The Album Part I.

“There is a song that I want to put out on Part II later this year that’s just miserable,” he chuckles. “I have 2 or 3 albums ready to roll with songs that I feel like are just as good as these seven. I’m at a point where I’m being as real as it gets. Its just where I am in life and who I am right at this very moment.”

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