Singer/songwriter Chase Rice has been the starting linebacker for the University of North Carolina; a member of a NASCAR pit crew; a touring artist who sold out strings of venues across the country without a record company, a manager of a song on the radio; and a co-writer of a record-setting, many-times multi-platinum single, Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise.” There are few Nashville artists who can match Rice for his drive, his relentless energy and his confidence. And even fewer who are positioned as well to succeed.
After moving to Music City in late 2010, Rice recorded an album, Dirt Road Communion, on his own Dack Janiel’s label and quickly beat the odds. He landed it on the Billboard Country Album chart, and launched one of his singles, “How She Rolls,” onto Hot Country Songs. In a world dominated by corporations, that’s no small feat for an artist working on his own.
“Cruise,” meanwhile, is a certified “11,” a song that literally re-wrote the country music history books, setting an all-time record by spending more weeks at #1 on the country singles chart than any other song. It generated a second life when a remix featuring rapper Nelly landed in the Top 5 on the pop chart. “Cruise” sold more than 5 million copies through mid-2013, though Rice – in diehard “11” fashion – refuses to rest on that accomplishment. Or to let it define him.
“It’s not normal what it’s done,” Rice says. “I understand that. But I want it to be a song of the past for me as a writer. ‘Cruise’ is a once-in-a-lifetime song for most writers. I am very appreciative of it, but I’m about a lot more than just one song.”
“Cruise” did, though, draw more attention to Rice’s own artistic career, which is already on a fast track. In conjunction with Dirt Road Communion, he hit the road on a heavy touring schedule, playing more than 150 dates annually, building a fan base and honing his skills. He sold out a dozen venues from Florida to Illinois, even while operating without a formal record company and without radio play.
His latest set of tracks, recorded with producer/engineers Chris Destefano, Scott Cooke, and Chad Carlson demonstrates how deep the foundation runs. Rice owns a sandy resonance and a Southern-bred masculine quality that bears some resemblance to country stalwart Tim McGraw.
Chase Rice's new EP comes dripping with testosterone. The first six songs (of seven if you purchase a physical copy) are loud, rowdy party anthems that feature the star as the next to merge hip-hop and country music. Colt Ford makes a guest appearance on one particularly rowdy cut called 'Party Up.'
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