Chase Rice's Surprise Release 'The Album Part I' Marks a New Chapter in His Career (Exclusive)

Chase Rice surprised fans at midnight on Friday, Jan. 24 when he released his latest project, The Album Part I, which the Florida native had been teasing for months and working on for around a year-and-a-half. In an exclusive with PopCulture.com, the 34-year-old admits his fourth studio album was a challenge — but one he very much welcomed for his musical process.

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(Photo: Jason Myers)

"It's by far the hardest I've ever worked, and that's just me, kind of looking myself in the mirror and being like, 'All right, you only get one shot at this thing,'" Rice told PopCulture.com. "'Let's go, let's put all the work we can into this.' And to me the product is just that much better because of that, because of how I work, how much time has been put into this album."

The Album Part I contains seven songs, and Rice views the project, which includes current single "Lonely If You Are," as a turning point in his career for multiple reasons.

"I'm in a new place creatively. I'm in a different place personally," he explained. "I've just, I've taken care of a lot of stuff that I never took care of before as far as my personal life, so that's allowed me, freed me up to write songs to the best of my ability."

"And also I've just done it for 10 years now," he added. "Practiced, gotten better over time, and that's going to show in the songwriting in this. It's going to show in the singing and the producing. This is the first time in my life that music's been the number one thing and everything else has always been kind of just for fun. And now I'm really, really more focused than I've ever been and hopefully that shows in the songs."

Rice released his first album, Friday Nights and Sunday Mornings, independently in 2010. He followed that with three more studio albums that earned him two Top 5 singles and one No. 1, 2018's "Eyes On You." On The Album Part I, the 34-year-old retains his love of a good time but gets a little more sentimental this go around, waxing nostalgic about the "Best Night Ever" and finding a relationship he hopes will last a lifetime on album standout "Forever to Go."

"It's not too far off from the old stuff," Rice said of his new music. "It's more love than lust, I'd say these days. But I think the main thing is that you're going to be able to tell like, 'Oh man, this guy's not messing around anymore.' This stuff as far as production, singing, songs choices that we chose to put on this thing and it's just that much better."

"I hope they see that," he continued. "I hope they hear that when they listen to the record. It's a much more focused version of me and hopefully that just pays off and turns it into an album that people can really, really love and enjoy for a long, long time."

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Stream The Album Part I here.

Photo Credit: Jason Myers