Chase Rice Talks About His Early Career Hits and Making the Music He Wants to Hear

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Chase Rice released his first album, Friday Nights and Sunday Mornings in 2010. Then, Rice co-wrote Florida Georgia Line’s Diamond-certified single “Cruise” in 2012. From there, his star started to rise. His 2014 major label debut Ignite the Night debuted at the top of the Billboard Country Albums chart. Singles from that album – “Gonna Wanna Tonight” and “Ready Set Roll” – brought Rice his first of four hit singles. Later, he would hit the top of the charts with “Eyes on You” in 2018 and “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen” in 2020. However, Rice has never been happy with his early output.

If you listened to the singles from his upcoming album, you’ll notice a bit of a sonic shift. Chase Rice is moving away from the slick pop production and bro-country lyrics that brought him success. That sonic shift is most evident in his latest single “Way Down Yonder.” You’ll hear it in the later parts of “Key West and Colorado” as well.

In a recent interview with Taste of Country, Chase Rice looked back on his early singles and talked about the music he plans to make in the future.

Chase Rice on His Sonic Shift

During the interview, Chase Rice said that he never really wanted to make the music he was making earlier in his career. Rice said when he started he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. “All of a sudden, I had huge success with it earlier with ‘Cruise’ and then ‘Ready Set Roll.’ I was like ‘Oh, I guess this is what I do.’ But that’s not what I ever really wanted to do.”

Looking back on hits like “Eyes on You”, “Ready Set Roll”, and “Gonna Wanna Tonight”, Rice said they were all in the “same vein” and represented that era of country radio. However, he finds more than the lyrical content offputting in retrospect. “The songs are one thing, but when you produce them so slick and pop, you create a sound for yourself… I think people just – when they hear that they think it’s you. Every time I’d hear it, I’d think, ‘Aww what are we doing?? It sounds awesome, but it ain’t what I’m trying to do here.’”

When asked what he wanted to be doing, Chase Rice said, “Albums like the one I just made, to be honest.”

Looking Ahead

A few albums and a handful of hits into his career, Chase Rice is finally in a place where he can make the kind of music that he wants to hear. If these latest singles are any indication, that means Rice is planning to lean into traditional-sounding country music.

Right now, Rice says that making good music is at the top of his list. “That’s all I can focus on. If you start thinking you wanna sell out stadiums or you wanna sell out arenas or anything like that, then – I mean, it’s a cool thought – but just thinking that ain’t gonna make it happen. What makes it happen is great music.”