10 Questions with ... Lee Brice
September 14, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Lee Brice attended Clemson University on a football scholarship, but his career ended due to injury. That allowed him to focus on music, which he had also pursued since childhood. Brice grew up playing guitar and piano and started writing songs at an early age. By 2007, he was getting songs cut on a regular basis, including the record-setting "More Than A Memory," which Garth Brooks sang and debuted at #1. Brice also signed to Curb Records in 2007. In 2009, his "Love Like Crazy" release became the longest-charting song in history, spending more than 56 weeks as an active single. Brice has gone on to log four #1 singles, including "I Drive Your Truck," which was named the CMA and ACM Song of the Year. The title cut from his "I Don't Dance" album - released this week - is Brice's most recent chart-topper. His follow up single, "Drinking Class" is just getting started.
1. Lee, thanks for taking the time for 10 Questions! Listen, the life as a Country artist is going fine and all, but do you ever wish it could have been different - say, a 15-year career as a long-snapper in the NFL? Those guys make the NFL minimum - a lot of money - and don't have to work a lot. Thoughts?
Well, first, I think they probably work more than most of us realize. But, either way, no I don't. I love football and it was always a lifelong goal of mine to play at Clemson, but my dream is and always has been my music. I couldn't imagine being in a better place than I am.
2. Would you consider "I Drive Your Truck" your "career song" and do you wish you'd written it?
I'm not exactly sure what a 'career song' actually is, but I will say this song changed my life and impacted my career tremendously. However, that's not the reason I wish I would have written it. As a songwriter, I'm just a fan of the quality and heart of the song. The writers on it wrote it to the wall. It couldn't have been any better or more special.
3. Some artists are serious chart-watchers - are you?
I am not. I tend to watch it a little if I have a song moving towards the top, but otherwise not a whole lot. I try to stay busy writing, making records and playing shows. I figure the rest will take care of itself.
4. On the subject of charts, your songs have a habit of staying on them a while. "Love Like Crazy" was about 50-something weeks; "I Drive Your Truck" and "I Don't Dance" also hung out a while. As a songwriter AND artist, do you think there's a benefit to singles having a long life, versus, say a song that goes up and down in 15 weeks?
I'm sure the more impressions and spins the better, yes. The more people that hear my music, the better for what I'm trying to do.
5. Speaking of "I Don't Dance," we heard you wrote that for your wife and sang it on your wedding day. Can you share her reaction to the song? Is that how you decided to make it a single? Follow up: Do you really not dance?
Well, she was actually in Branson visiting the place we were planning on getting' married at when I sent it to her to hear for the first time. She was speechless. I'm pretty sure she loved it. Ha! When I finished writing it I knew it was special. I knew it was more me than anything I had ever put out and also commercial in its own way. I went straight to the label and asked if we could go ahead and move on to the next record. I told them I thought it was the song that would take us to the next level. Well as the song says, I dance if she really wants me to!
6. You were not exactly a household name when Garth Brooks took your song, "More Than A Memory" and debuted at #1 in 2007. How did you guys end up working together?
I wrote the song from a really personal place. It was special. Garth's publisher actually played it for him. Garth called us and asked to record it. The rest is history!
7. We read somewhere that after you got your first publishing deal, you penned 150 songs that first year. How many do you write on a yearly basis now? More, the same? Less?
Way less! I'm lucky to write 20-30. Back then I was workin' to build my songwriting muscles. Now, it's all about quality over quantity. I don't have the time to write a lot, so I have to make it count every single time.
8. And you've written for lots of different artists over the years, with great success. So when you finish a song now, do you ever think it might be more suited to another artist and not you?
Sometimes, but as I said before, I really focus and am very deliberate now with every opportunity I have to write. There just aren't as many random songs that I have that happen to fit other people.
9. You have a new album called "I Don't Dance." Did you write all the songs on it and what would you say is the theme, or tone of this album?
I wrote 13 of the 16 songs. I guess the biggest thread through the album is me; just who I am, where I am in my life, personally and musically.
10. What's your take on the so called "Bro-Country" trend for Country music? Good, bad? Here to stay or just a fad?
I'm not sure what 'bro-country' is to be honest. I'm a fan of all music as long as you are being true to who you are. So, more power to whoever you are talking about as long as they love what they are doing and are doing it from the heart. Music like that will always last
1. You and Jerrod Niemann are buddies and have been for a while. What happens when you get together, that you can talk about, anyway?
Well, we aren't 21 anymore, so we've had to slow our roll a little. I think both of us have prioritized our lives in the last few years. Music was starting to become second to our fun and that was unacceptable, so we fixed that. Now, when we get together, yeah we still throw down, but we are focused on writing, planning shows, and building our careers.
2. You have also been producing albums, including your own, latest release. Does producer Lee Brice ever have creative differences with the artist Lee Brice?
Not sure how to answer that other than yeah, I guess I have learned certain nuances about the business and radio that I pay attention to a little more than the artist inside me would have a few years ago. But, I have to be true to myself no matter what, so the end result of any 'creative differences' always ends up being just that.
3. When I say "Palmetto Bowl" what's the first thing that comes to mind?
Clemson winning this year! The Gamecocks have been on the luckiest streak in their history with us, but all that ends this year!