As the rest of the world wallows in the uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic, Chase Rice finds himself living and loving the moment.
Seriously…he’s loving it.
“This whole coronavirus thing has thrown a curveball at humanity,” Rice tells American Songwriter rather nonchalantly while sitting on the porch of his Nashville-area home. “But I kind of love when life throws some storms your way. I kind of love when you are out of control of things, and you have to find a way to calm yourself down. I mean, all of this is out of our control.”
Heck, he’s got a point.
“People are saying that 2020 is the worst year ever, but that’s just not my take on it,” the “Lonely If You Are” hit maker says quietly. “I’m not looking for brighter days. I’m looking to enjoy each day, because we are never going to live days like this again.”
And coincidentally, these are, in fact, the days of Chase Rice.
With a career that has juggled him in and out of a genre that has not always known what to do with the former NASCAR pit crew member, Rice has spent recent months cementing his place as one of country music’s most intriguing and lasting acts via a series of impressive music.
And yes, his revised status will only get stronger with the release of The Album Part II. The four-song follow-up to the January surprise release of The Album Part I, The Album Part II continues a streak of non-stop music from the North Carolina native, including an anthem custom made for a time such as this.
And no, Rice never even expected it to make it on this EP.
“We were completely done with Part II,” he recalls of “Belong,” the song he actually wrote a year and a half ago, originally referring to the political divide that was and continues to be evident even now. “I was driving around and it came on and I realized that’s exactly how I feel right now. I wanted to get the message out about how I felt and how I feel that I’m right where I belong and no matter where we are going, we are going there together.”
In fact, for the music video set for release this Friday (May 15,) Rice requested the help of his fans to get just the right feel for such a weird time in all of our lives.
“Everyone is home and quarantined, so I wanted to show what my fans have been busy doing, whether that’s behind a gate or on a Zoom call or six feet apart,” says Rice, who actually hasn’t been able to do much songwriting in recent weeks because he’s not crazy collaborating over Zoom. “At the end of the day, we are all in this together…and that’s powerful.”
Of course, while Rice continues his musical transformation into an artist that deserve far more recognition than he has ever gotten in the past, he also continues to be the down home guy we fell in love with via hits such as “Ready Set Roll” and “Gonna Wanna Tonight.” And that’s the guy you can hear on songs like “Break.Up.Drunk.”
“That’s the one I want to hear in my truck,” he says of the song with The Lumineers-esque vibe. “It’s the song that I want people to turn up when they drive down the back roads.”
And then there is “Down Home Runs Deep,” a song he didn’t write but a song that hits him straight in the heart.
“The first time I ever heard it, I got goose bumps,” he says of the truthful song co-written by Michael Hardy. “It took me straight back to the stuff my high school buddies would listen to. It reminded me of my roots and the relationships we will have till we die and the house we used to hang out at and have girls over at. (Laughs.) I had a really cool upbringing and this song really hammers that fact home to me.”
Heck, the recent downtime caused by this relentless enemy known as coronavirus has hammered home much for Rice.
When all is said and done, it gave him perspective.
“This break is one of the best things to happen to me in my life,” Rice concludes. “It gave me a break that I desperately needed. It forced me to slow down. It reminded me that I am surrounded by some amazing people and I am building a career that I can now be proud of. Everything is coming together before my very eyes.”