Rising country music star, Mitchell Tenpenny, is anticipating the release of his first, major label record, Telling All My Secrets, on Dec. 14.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do and put out,” Tenpenny told PopCulture.com. “Finally I’m getting the opportunity to do it on a major label and get it out to the world. I’ve always dreamed of this.”
Tenpenny was born in Nashville, Tennessee and grew up in the music business with his grandmother, Donna Hilley, serving as Sony ATV’s first female CEO. The country music singer has written hundreds of songs over the last several years, but deciding on 11 for his album was not an easy choice.
“It’s hard to pick those songs, especially since I’ve been writing for other artists for six years," Tenpenny explained. "I have so many songs, it was like, ‘Where am I at now and how are we going to pick 11 out of hundreds of them?’ But we finally narrowed it down to where we thought we were and how I felt as a person in that moment."
One song he wrote was a Top 5 hit for Granger Smith, “If the Boot Fits.” He’s also opened for artists like Smith, Dustin Lynch, Jake Owen, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Gary Allan.
Tenpenny has a soulful and rugged sound that adds flavor to each of his songs. His first single “Drunk Me” hit Top 5 at country radio – an ironic twist since he never intended to sing the song himself.
“I expected someone else to cut it to be honest,” he explained. “We pitched it and thought ‘Somebody else will do this.’" But when no one picked up on the catchy tune, and he got his first record deal, on Sony Nashville, Tenpenny realized it might work for him instead."
"I thought ‘What’s going on?" he recounted. "'We wrote this song. What’s happening?’ Then the whole Sony thing happened and we got the chance to make our own record and the song was still there. I thought ‘Man, I’m going to give this a shot.’”
“When I heard the final mix and we were done that day," he added, "I was like ‘This feels right, this feels like the first thing I want to say’ since I’m getting the first opportunity to put something out on the radio."
“Drunk Me” made streaming chart history when it reached the highest entry ever for a new artist with 1.5 million streams, a clear sign that seemed to indicate Tenpenny was meant to sing his own song. The success of "Drunk Me" certainly helped him reach a much larger audience but another track, “Walk Like Him,” will give fans a peek into something more personal for the singer.
The song, which says, "So I cuss a little bit when the game’s on TV / Got Eagles in the truck on repeat / Know how to use a hammer and nail / Don’t whine about my problems / He was better at putting that bottle down / But I spend every day tryin' to make him proud / If I said that I didn’t, I’d be lying / But I’m trying to walk like him," was written while coming to terms with the death of one of his parents.
“I lost my father to cancer about three years ago, and it’s just one of those things that sucks," he said. "You lose someone you love and you try and play tough. I know I acted like I had to be the man of the family with my little brother and my mom."
The impact of the death of his father didn't hit him at first, but when it did, he knew he had to write about it.
“I just remember we were on our way back home from a long show,” he said. “We were in our van at the time – the band was asleep in the back and I was driving – and that’s when it hit me that my father was gone. I just broke down in that moment and it took a little time, like a couple of years to realize that ... I wrote down that lyric “Walk Like Him” because my mom always said ‘You walk like him.'"
The first time Tenpenny performed “Walk Like Him” was at a party celebrating his album, while his mother was in the front row, crying as he sang the sentimental lyrics. It was in that moment, overcome with emotion, he knew he had written something beautiful.
“It’s the perfect way to end this record, pay homage to him is what I want to do because he gave me every opportunity in life to do this and he came to every show and was always just supportive of someone dreaming to be a musician.”0comments
Pre order Tenpenny's new album Telling All My Secrets by visiting his website.
Photo Credit: Getty images/Mat Hayward