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Why Granger Smith’s New Single ‘Happens Like That’ Is His Own True Romance

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Granger Smith didn’t set out to write a love song about how he met his wife, Amber. But by the time he hit the second verse of his new single, it dawned on him: “Hey, this is my story.”

To be released Friday, “Happens Like That” describes the surprise of finding the love of your life when you least expect it.

“Probably more often than not, it’s most people’s story,” Smith, 37, tells PEOPLE. “You can trace it back to one moment when you were just in the right place at the right time.”

He echoes these sentiments in a new video about the song, which PEOPLE is debuting exclusively.

For Smith, it “happened like that” when Amber, an actress, auditioned for one of his music videos back in 2009. “When she walked in,” he says now, “that was it.” Not unexpectedly, she got the part. Fast-forward seven months later: The two were engaged – a natural finish for the song’s lyrics, as well.

But just like in real life, neither Smith nor co-writers Jordan Schmidt, Justin Wilson and Andy Albert saw the song headed in that direction when they brainstormed its first lines: “You order a drink, it goes down smooth, before you can blink, it turned into two.”

They knew they had a good start, but what next? Smith decided to call in reinforcements. He was on tour at the time with Florida Georgia Line, and Tyler Hubbard had told Smith he wanted in if the songwriting sparks started to fly. “I texted him, ‘We’re onto something,’ and about 20 seconds later he was coming in the bus door,” Smith says.

Courtesy Broken Bow Records

“He puts his reading glasses on, studies what we’re saying,” Smith recalls, “and immediately reverses a couple of words here and there, phrases something different and then we’re off to the races.”

Someone suggested that “she walks in,” and “somehow the song started writing itself after that was unearthed,” he says.

Sure, the details in the song are a bit different from Smith’s own history, but the heroine’s eyes are still blue like his wife’s, and yes, he says, he thinks about her when he sings it. So far, that’s been only in rehearsals, but he’s looking forward to adding it to his show.

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“With its dynamics – the way it kind of starts out mysteriously with almost Ed Sheeran-ish acoustics and then slams into the first chorus – that’s going to be a moment that we don’t have” in the current set, he says.

“Happens Like That” is the first single off Smith’s upcoming album, set for release sometime this fall. He’s currently headlining his own tour and will join Luke Bryan’s tour in September.