Chase Rice wants the world to know something: contrary to what Wikipedia says, he was born in 1985. The uber-popular online encyclopedia lists Chase’s birthday as Sept. 19, 1986, which would mean he’s turning 30 this year. The fact of the matter is, Chase turned 30 in 2015, but that hasn’t stopped unknowing well-wishers from asking Chase if he’s excited—or dejected—about turning the big 3-0 this year.
“I’m already 30,” says Chase with a laugh during an afternoon sit-down with Nash Country Daily. “Wikipedia is wrong. I was born in ’85. A lot of people still think I’m 29. But I don’t care about my age. I was the same person the day I turned 30 that I was the day before.”
In Chase’s 30 years on this planet, he’s had a few different incarnations, especially in the last 10 years. From college football linebacker at the University of North Carolina and NASCAR pit crew member to Survivor contestant and country artist, Chase has had his thumb in a lot of different pies over the last decade. Or, to put it linebacker parlance: he’s covered a lot of ground.
“The biggest thing that helped me [with my music career] was football,” says Chase. “Football really shaped me into who I am as a person. I played that from the time I was in middle school to senior year of college. Then I was planning on going to the NFL, but that didn’t work out. I got hurt, and while I was hurt, I learned to play the guitar a little better. And then my dad passed away my senior year and I wrote my first song about him. It all kind of worked its way to music. It was far—far from reality for me to be able to do music [as a career]. It wasn’t even something I thought I wanted to do. But it turns out, here we are talking about it.”
More specifically, we’re talking about Chase’s new single, “Everybody We Know Does,” which was released to country radio on June 28. Written by Jeremy Bussey and Travis Denning, the new tune is a positive, blue-collar country anthem that Chase feels reflects his upbringing and current lifestyle.
“I got the song from a publisher and took it out to my farm and drove around in my truck [to listen to it]—and I don’t get many songs sent to me because I write most of my songs—and I was like, ‘Man, I wouldn’t have written this any different. It’s my life like right now,’” say Chase. “I’ve got a farm in Tennessee and I was just thinking to myself, ‘This is my life and I couldn’t have written it any better.’ We took the cover picture right at my farm of me sitting in the back of my truck. We didn’t’ put anything in the truck [bed]. I wanted everything about the song to be real. There’s a chainsaw in the back and bunch of cans back there. I just wanted 100 percent of that song to be real because it is definitely my life right now. The song’s second verse, that to me is the kind of people I grew up around. That’s the kind of person I learned to be. And that to me, that’s depth right there.”
“Depth” is an interesting choice of words. Earlier this year in February, Chase released the single “Whisper.” The same day, he also issued a note—My Honest Letter To You, The Fan—promising an upcoming album with “more depth and meaning.” It was an interesting strategy to say the least: defending a song before detractors could bash the country/EDM hybrid. Perhaps the strategy hearkens back to Chase’s days playing linebacker at UNC. The best offense is a good defense. Or is it the other way around?
“I knew what ‘Whisper’ was,” says Chase. “It’s a sexy, fun song. It’s got a little pop production to it. I just wanted to give people a little something fun. It’s not even going on the new record. I just knew it was going to be so long before we put something out and I wanted to put something out. We had ‘Whisper,’ which could have gone on the last record, and I probably should have put it on there, but we had too many songs, so I just wanted to put something out and tell people to calm down. The weird part is, most people loved it. During live [shows] fans are singing it like crazy. But I wanted to let those people who did get worked up—who were fans of mine and still are fans of mine—just be patient, chill out, the album will have something you’re looking for. And that’s what I wanted to focus on with the album was making sure it covered all bases.”
It’s been almost two years since Chase released his Billboard No. 1 album, Ignite the Night. The “Gonna Wanna Tonight” singer is currently in the studio working on his new album, which he expects to drop later this year.
“The new album, it’s 100 percent me,” says Chase. “I’m not listening to anybody else’s [current] music. I’m not wanting to be influenced by anything like that. I’m just listening to old records, going back to Garth Brooks and Eminem and the Foo Fighter and Chris LeDoux. Clearly, it’s not just one genre. The album’s not completely all over the map, but I’m covering a lot of different bases. I got a song called “Chills” that has a little bit of that sexy vibe that I’ve done in the past. I’ve got “Everybody We Know Does,” which is more of that blue-collar, workingman song, which is what I was before I did music. I’ve got a song called “Three Cords and the Truth” that’s just kind of reflective and speaks about [past] times and the music that went along with those times. The album is covering a lot of different bases. It’s not completely done. We’ve got about eight songs that are for sure going on there, and I’m looking for two more. I’m hoping by the end of this year we’ll have it out.”
photo by Cody Cannon/EB Media