Country music’s creation is, more often than not, divided into two very distinct elements – the songwriter and the singer. Curb Records recording star Lee Brice is a master of both of those. The Nashville superstar recently rediscovered himself with his new self-titled album and the singles Boy and Rumors. Brice performs at The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor on Friday, August 31.
519 Magazine had the chance to interview the country star ahead of his Caesars Windsor show as he travelled across the US on his latest tour and we asked him about a bunch of things including some of the songs he’s written for others and why he chose to simply self-title his new album.
You’re not only a performer, you’re a well-established songwriter. Songs can often be personal stories. Is it odd hearing someone else sing your feelings?
It’s one of the most incredible feelings in the world. It’s a vulnerable thing to share something so close to you with another person who then takes it on as their own, but it’s a moment I’m always humbled by. This person not only appreciates your writing, but wants to make it their own. Wow. Yeah – it’s humbling for sure.
Was there one song out of all the ones you’ve written that someone nailed it so good that you’d never be able to top it on your own?
I love hearing Garth sing “More than A Memory.” I’m not sure it can get any better than that.
That Garth song must have opened a few doors and I’m guessing it changed your life dramatically.
Garth has always been a hero so when he heard and decided to record “More Than A Memory” I was just blown away — completely humbled. A lot of people took notice and it changed things for me — it also made me want to work that much harder to deliver great songs for myself and other writers.
What are some of the more personal songs you’ve written?
I wrote “I Don’t Dance” for my wife Sara as a gift for our wedding. I made it the title of my third album and it was exactly how she makes me feel. It’s very personal and I love that so many people relate to it. I see a lot of engagements at my shows while we’re playing this song. It’s pretty special
When you first started you had three hit singles, but it took a couple more years for the debut album to come out. What happened?
Working on an album takes time – we wanted it to be right and we took the time we needed. It also gave me time to visit radio stations and promote the singles that were out at the time. I am grateful for that time because I made a lot of friends at radio and on the road — and I got to play a lot of shows so I built a great fan base. I see so many of them at shows now — that were there from the beginning. I don’t take any of that for granted.
One of my favourite lines in any song is “High five to the guy who thought about cutting that thing in two” – that must have been a fun song to write.
That was fun — and it was meant to be just that. Fun. My wife Sara even got in on the recording. It’s her voice you hear on the track. What’s funny is that the folks at Sports Illustrated asked to use it for their Swimsuit Issue promotion that year … who knew that’d happen but it did.
Your latest album is self-titled. With other artists it usually means some sort of self-realization or change. Why a self-titled album?
This album was more “me” than any other, I think. It’s a snapshot of where I am today — and I’m on solid ground in every way. I know I’m blessed with a wonderful family, health, incredible friends that surround me and the opportunity to do what I love, every single day. I captured that all in this album so it made sense.
Tell me about Boy from the new album. That’s a pretty emotional song.
“Boy” touched me the moment I heard it. It reminded me of my childhood and my dad, and brought me into the present with my two boys. I had to record it. We put it out before our daughter was born so it all worked out. (She’s got her own song on this record also. I couldn’t leave my baby girl out.)
Rumor is also a song that probably hits home for a lot of people.
Rumor is one of those songs that draws you in. I played most of the instruments on this album, and one of the parts I’m most proud of is the guitar on Rumor. I love Bonnie Raitt – you’ll hear a bit of a tribute to her on this recording.
You just recently achieved 2 billion spins on Pandora. Holy crap that’s a lot of spins!
That is thanks to all the incredible listeners out there who tune in and hit “repeat” on our playlists. I’m grateful for every single one of them and I’m grateful for Pandora. That’s what it’s all about — the listener and the audience. I say it all the time but I’m grateful to get to do this.
I remember seeing you pop up on a morning show with your new daughter last year. You’re probably still a proud papa, even after three kids.
I love my kids and my wife. It’s why I love being home. We genuinely have fun together. I get on the floor and wrestle with the boys and I could sit and stare at Trulee’s smile all day long. She’s the perfect little girl.
Is life different with a girl in the family now?
Well, there’s a lot more of the color pink in the house now.. She’s just perfect and such a sweet baby — always laughing and smiling; loaded with personality. Her brothers are protective and love her so much and, as you’d probably guess, she’s got me wrapped around her little finger.
How does life on the road affect your family life? Does the family join you?
I focus time on the road to write and work but my family is my world. They do get to come on the road — sometimes its planned and other times it isn’t. A few times last year Sara and the kids surprised me and I love every time that happens. One of the nights, Takoda and Ryker came out on stage during “Boy” — it was a sweet moment for me and for the audience who actually got to see the boys make their way to me while I was singing “Boy.” They all saw the boys walk up before I did. It was a special night.
What can we expect at the Windsor show?
Without giving anything away, I’ll say that you’ll hear hits plus a bit of new material from the album I released last November called “Lee Brice.” You may or may not see a couple get engaged and we always pay tribute to our first responders. Overall, I usually see people dancing, laughing, singing at the top of their lungs and — during that moving first responder tribute — we see tears and a sense of reverence. Music really does unite people. It’s a gift to get to do this every night.