Since his single “A Woman Like You” topped the country music charts earlier this year, Lee Brice’s popularity has been on the rise. The soft-spoken, 6-foot-3-inch former Clemson football player performs in Mesa this week.
He took time out of his tour schedule to chat with the Tribune about his transition from writer to star and the Christmas traditions he wants to share with his 2-year-old son.
Q: You started out as a songwriter and have had songs recorded by Garth Brooks (“More Than a Memory”) and the Eli Young Band (“Crazy Girl”). What does it feel like be on the other side now with a hit of your own?
A: I’ve always recorded, but I had success as a songwriter first. Writing songs was something I worked really hard on. It’s really satisfying to have my own stuff out there. I’ve been on the road the last seven years. It’s been really hard and really long. It’s probably harder that I thought it would be, but I get to work and have a career and pay my bills and be around music.
Q: Between having a hit song, touring and recording, do you still find time to write songs?
A: It’s on the back burner right now. It’s a little more difficult to find the time, but I’ll block out 3 days and go on a trip to write songs. I don’t get to write every day like I used to. Now it’s more about quality and not quantity.
Q: Tell us how your new album, “Hard 2 Love,” came about?
A: It was one of those writing trips I set aside. I had five of my really good friends and co-writers. We split into groups and wrote all day. We were writing for “Hard 2 Love,” but it wasn’t “Hard 2 Love” then because the song wasn’t written yet. These guys are my friends and they know me as a person and they know me musically. They’re my kind of guys. It was really kinda cool.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years?
A: I’m starting to make a new record and I’m producing (an album) for a new duo, with Jon Stone and Kristy Osmunson, called “American Young.” Jon co-wrote “A Woman Like You” so I’m producing his album for him. I also want to continue to grow my tour and just get bigger and bigger.
Q: What Christmas traditions do you hope to carry on with your son, Takoda?
A: All the normal stuff is important to me. I’m really not home a lot right now, so putting up the tree, letting him open one gift (on Christmas Eve), those little things that I grew up doing are really important to me and it’s really nice to keep that going. Sara (Brice’s fiancée) is actually Italian, so we’ll do things a little different than the southern home cooking I grew up with.
IF YOU GO
What: Country singer Lee Brice performs in support of his new album “Hard 2 Love.”
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14.
Where: Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill, 1065 N. Dobson, Mesa.
Information: (480) 844-8629 or www.tobysmesa.com.
Contact writer: (480) 898-5629 or firstname.lastname@example.org