Lee Brice's new album, Hey World, arrived two days after the singer exited his quarantine following a COVID-19 diagnosis, making his album release a uniquely 2020 experience. The 15-song project had been partially recorded before the coronavirus pandemic hit, but Brice hadn't yet cut any of his vocals, which meant that he had to wear a whole new hat this time around.
"I had to do all my vocals on my own at my house," he told PopCulture.com. "I pulled up the Lee Brice engineer that I had learned through all these years and I did my own vocals." The whole second half of Hey World was done in quarantine, and Brice noted that it slowed the process and allowed him to really listen to each part of every song and make sure it was perfect. "I think at the end of the day, slowing that process down like we had to do for the second half probably ended up making the whole record better," he said.
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Being in quarantine also meant that Brice wasn't able to be with producer Ben Glover throughout much of the album making process, which allowed Brice to "let go of the reins a little bit," and Glover to "put his pizazz on what some of this stuff could be." "Every record is new for me," the singer explained. "I'm always trying to push the boundaries, and push myself, and get better, and whether it be playing, or singing, or writing, and/or production."
Hey World contains Brice's recent No. 1 single "One of Them Girls," his No. 1 duet with Carly Pearce, "I Hope You're Happy Now" and current single "Memory I Don't Mess With," which Brice named as one of his favorite songs on the record. He also cited "Save the Roses," "If You" and "Do Not Disturb," the latter of which is his wife Sara's favorite song on the project. The South Carolina native co-wrote 11 of Hey World's 15 tracks, and he said that if he records an outside cut, it has "to be a song that I wish I'd written or one that I wouldn't have written but I love as if it's my own."
"I love writing my own songs. I take pride in it, a lot of pride in it," he shared. "I worked hard to do that, but I also am very, very aware, and sure, and positive that some of the best songwriters in the world live right here, under my nose, in Nashville, and they're all right here, and there's thousands of songs floating around that never get heard, and so I try to put my ears on all those songs, all of them, to see if there're are one or two that just fit this record, fit me, fit this moment, that are just amazing."
Brice originally released the album's title track in May, and while he never even intended for the song to make his next record, the response it received and its message resonated with him enough to make it the title of his new project.0comments
"It wasn't supposed to be even on the album, and then the song just developed, and then we got Blessing [Offor] on it, and then I started thinking about what am I going to call the album, and I started looking through the titles on the record and nothing really, really felt like it was the magic thing," he recalled. "And I happen to look over at 'Hey World,' and I thought this year, this whole time, it'd be a good song to have on the record instead of just putting it out as its own thing."
"And then on top of that, it's just something about that felt like this record is another step for me, another layer of maturity, another layer of life, and so to say, 'Hey, world, listen to this. Hey, world, this is who I am,'" he continued. "Hey World just felt like a title to me that worked for the whole album." You can stream Hey World here.