INTERVIEW: How Lee Brice's Self-Titled Album Became His Most Soulful

By Nicole Mastrogiannis

November 2, 2017

Lee Brice's fourth studio album may just be his most personal and definitely more soulful sounding record yet. 

The country star's new record follows his three Gold certified albums Love Like Crazy (2010), Hard2Love (2012), and I Don't Dance (2014), and features 15 new songs including his latest single "Boy." Brice calls his new self-titled album very "introspective" and really "personifies who [he is]."

On the writing/recording process & why his self-titled album is introspective

Lee Brice explains to iHeartRadio that he's spent a lot of time finding himself, who he is lyrically as well as musically, and that with this self-titled album he put a lot of effort into "making [the songs] really connect." To help accomplish this, Lee "strayed away from tricks and computers." He tells us, "I wanted it to be guys playing guitars, and bass, and drums, and me singing, and sticking to that through the process." He adds, "It made it more difficult to be able to make a record that's raw, but still stand up sonically to all the stuff that's out there. But it was fun. And I think we did it."

So, what makes this album more introspective than Lee's previous albums? He explains to us:

"I've always tried to be true to myself no matter what, and looking back now, I mean, I was finding myself. I was finding myself as a guy, and then now as a man, a daddy; who I am, lyrically, in the songs and content, but also musically. I've loved all kinds of music my whole life, so I've kind of been finding what I wanted to have as one unit, one cohesive record. This record is very introspective into my own self, my own battles, where I'm at in my own life from being a daddy to being an artist. So to me, this record really personifies who I am."

And to top it off: "And heck on top of that, Metallica's fourth album was their first self titled album and it was their biggest one. So I figure I could try it."

Lee Brice

How Lee's new album became his soulful

Many of the songs on Lee's new album are very personal, including tracks like "Songs In The Kitchen." But he explains that one song in particular, may not be as personal, but is extremely special, because it's what helped to create and kickstart a soulful, groovy record, and it's called "Rumor."

Going back to the beginning of creating his new album, Lee discovered he had developed a polyp on his vocal cord, which was eventually treated with surgery. As a result, singing became a little more difficult, and in fact, he tells us while performing live "Looking back, for the last five years it was a chore to get through a set." But while recording this album, this vocal chord polyp forced him to sing harder. He explains, "I had to sing kind of more soulful and bluesy, just to get anything out."

Out of singing more soulful and bluesy came "Rumor." Lee tells us of the story behind the track:

"From that, came these songs that I was writing that were extra soulful. That kind of put me on the path of this raw, soulful record. 'Rumor,' is one of those songs. I was writing this song just about small town, kind of where I'm from just about, like every small town, how a rumor gets around like that. You know, whatever happens Saturday night, everybody is talking about on Sunday morning. So 'Rumor' was kind of the base of the groove for this record. I wanted this record to be groovy, but with drums and bass, and cool bass lines. It's not some big personal song to me, but it really had a big influence on how the rest of this record turned out; a little extra soulful because I couldn't easily sing it, so I had to stretch for it. I had to really reach, and my voice just wasn't there. And then after I had the surgery, my voice kind of came back and it was kind of smooth again. So it was difficult to go back and re-sing some of this stuff. I even tried to re-sing some of this stuff like, 'Rumor,' and it wasn't the same. So I had to leave the old vocals that I had on there. It's kind of cool that a lot of the soul from this record came from this song."

He adds, "That was a chapter of my life that created a soulful record. And so I'm kind of thankful for it."

Lee Brice

On the most personal songs on the record: "What Keeps You Up At Night & "Songs In The Kitchen"

While all of the songs on Lee's self-titled record are personal, there a few that stand out to him aside from "Rumor," one being "What Keeps You Up At Night," which he tells us was the foundation for the album, and the other is "Songs In The Kitchen" which is a snapshot of the country singer's life growing up, as well as his life now. Read the stories behind each song below.

"What Keeps You Up At Night"

"[It's] the song that I wrote that I knew immediately was sort of the foundation of this record. On the last record, I wrote 'I Don't Dance,' and I knew that that was going to be the foundation of the record, and everything else was going to kind of fall into place after that. And so what keeps you up at night is the first track on the record for one of these reasons, it is personal to me. It kind of lays it all out there. There are little bits and pieces in that song that show up later all over this record. It's a self-titled record, but there were a lot of titles like, 'What Keeps You Up At Night,' or 'Songs In The Kitchen,' that could have been an album title. 'What Keeps You Up At Night' was a foundation that I really just wanted that to be the first thing that people hear, to go in and get my heart out of my sleeves for this record. So, that's definitely a special one."

"Songs In The Kitchen"

"I think the most personal one obviously has to be, 'Songs In The Kitchen.' 'Songs In The Kitchen' is a song that's basically as a verses are a literal snapshot of myself, my brother, my daddy and mamma, growing up every Sunday morning at our house, and in the car on the way to church; this is what my life looked like. A perfect snapshot. And then the choruses are talking about where I'm at now. I'm on the stage, I'm in the lights, I'm in front of the cameras, and kind of that battle between, and what it all means to me. And getting back to, 'Songs In The Kitchen,' and not just songs to put out there."

Lee Brice

Photos: Rachel Kaplan

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