Chris Janson just dropped his third studio album, Real Friends, on Friday, Oct. 18. The 14-track record includes a collaboration with fellow Grand Ole Opry member, Blake Shelton, who appears with Janson on the title track.
“It’s awkward sometimes to ask your friend to do something, because if they didn’t want to do it by chance, then it will be hard to say no," Janson reflected to PEOPLE. Thankfully, Shelton didn't hesitate in agreeing to appear on the track, which Janson appreciated even more, since the rising star co-produced the entire project.
“Being a co-producer, I got to go through all the files and hear all the stuff that he recorded on it and kind of pick what I wanted to use," Janson said. "He took a bunch of takes on it, which was remarkable. He totally cared.”
Janson's confidence shines through with many of the songs on Real Friends, including a song called "Say About Me," which chronicles how far Janson has come, from living in his car to having hit singles at radio.
“I’ve always had that side of me,” Janson said of his self-assuredness. “There’s a fine line between being confident and cocky, and I’m not a cocky person whatsoever. But I’m a very confident person and have no qualms about telling anybody that I am. But with songs like ‘Say About Me,’ they’re really just ‘dream big, win big’ songs. Same with ‘Check.’"
"[We] don’t live a flashy, flamboyant life,” he continued. “But I do like cool cars and I don’t mind talking about them, and I do like cool watches, and I smoke cigars a lot. I’m just in a place in my life where humbly I like to celebrate it because my hope would be that maybe it inspires some young kid out there to know that you can come from a trailer park and you can totally make it. That’s what I did.”
Janson and his wife, Kelly, have two children, plus two "bonus children," as Janson calls them, from Kelly's first marriage. It's his family that fills Janson with the most pride, far above any career success.
“I have a great wife, and I have a great home life, and my kids are healthy and everything is going our way there,” said the singer. “That why I smile. I’m just so thankful to be alive.”0comments
"Good Vibes," the debut single from Real Friends, is currently sitting at No. 2 on the charts.
Photo Credit: Getty images/Matt Winkelmeyer