Chase Rice took a winding road to get to where he is in country music, but he wouldn't have it any other way. The 32-year-old tried a few different careers, and a few different record labels, before landing where he is now – a successful album, Lambs and Lions, on a record company he's proud to be a part of, and a Top 30 single, with "Three Chords & the Truth."
"Lambs and Lions is the first record we put out in three years, since our first album, Ignite the Night," Rice tells PopCulture.com. "It's been a long journey to Lambs and Lions. There's ten songs on it that stood the test of three years – an old record label moving to a new record label. It's had a lot of ups and downs in those three years. But Lambs and Lions is that story. It has a lot of stuff, from a song called 'Lions' to a song called 'Eyes on You,' to 'Three Chords & the Truth' to 'This Cowboy's Hat.' It's all over the map. That's why I love the album itself."
Rice released a few albums independently, before signing with Columbia Nashville to release Ignite the Night in 2016, and then leaving the label – a risky move Rice felt was necessary when he became unhappy with the direction the company was heading.
"For me, it's about my life and my career, as everybody should be, about the people around you," Rice explains. "You're only going to be as good as the people around you. To me, I didn't have the passion, and they would say that too, the old record label. And then my guys left and got fired and got out of there. So the new people came in, and they didn't have the passion I wanted to see behind my music, so I got out of there.
"And now, with Broken Bow Records, that's the coolest part," he continues. "The passion's there, and it's stronger than it's ever been. I think you'll start to see that within the next three to 12 months of the success that's going to start coming on country radio."
Rice initially planned on playing in the NFL after college, then worked for NASCAR, and also was the runner-up on Survivor in 2010. So perhaps the person most surprised that he has a successful country music career is Rice.
"This is a deviation," Rice concedes. "Football was my plan. It was, 'Go play in the NFL. Go play in the NFL.' And then I got hurt. And I was a good enough player. To play in the NFL, there's so many great players out there, everything's got to go your way, which it didn't for me, which led me to NASCAR, which led me to country music.
"When I was in college, I started playing guitar," he adds. "But this would have been as far for me as go be an astronaut. It was literally that far in my mind of what I was going to do. I was just writing songs, because it helped me deal with my dad passing away, and playing guitar because I enjoyed it. And it turned into this, which is insane, but God's got His plans."
Rice recently had shoulder surgery to repair an injury he suffered while making the video for "Eyes on You." Although he says his shoulder is improving, he admits he hasn't been a model patient.
"It's hurting," admits Rice. "I've done way too much, way more than I should. But it's still attached the way it's supposed to be, thank God. I'm supposed to be in a sling right now. I stopped wearing the sling two days after surgery. I probably shouldn't have done that."
Purchase Lambs and Lions at ChaseRice.com.
Photo Credit: Instagram/chaserice