Chase Rice Says 'Eyes on You' Success Has Brought Him a New Sense of 'Freedom'
"I’m truly enjoying the ride," Chase Rice says of his latest single breaking the country chart's Top 25
It was 2017, and Chase Rice found himself at a crossroads.
After top five success with songs such as 2013’s “Ready Set Roll” and 2014’s “Gonna Wanna Tonight,” Rice had broken ties with his label, fallen off country radio and wondered if he had a future in music.
But Chase Rice is a fighter.
He always has been.
“My life has included losing a football career, losing my dad and losing a music career two years ago, or at least being on the cusp of it,” says Rice from his dressing room backstage before a recent sold-out show in Chicago. “And I’m still here.”
In fact, at the age of 33, Rice finds himself not just here, but once again making quite an impact with country music fans. His addictive new single “Eyes on You” is climbing the charts and currently holds the spot as the most-streamed song of his career. This month, he will head out back on the road on the second leg of his “Eyes on You” headlining tour.
But while Rice is enjoying a career currently on the upswing, he admits that it has been anything but easy.
“There are still those evil voices saying, ‘Nah, you are screwing it up’ and voices saying, ‘What if radio doesn’t want you?’ but at the end of the day, that’s okay,” says Rice, who closed out 2018 with the first leg of his tour. “That’s what I built my entire career on.”
Initially, Rice found widespread success in the country music scene when his debut album Ignite the Night found itself at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums and No. 3 on the all-genre chart. It produced a pair of Top 5 hits, the platinum-certified “Ready Set Roll” and “Gonna Wanna Tonight.”
And then the bottom fell out.
His 2016 single “Whisper” failed to gain any traction on the charts, and then he parted ways with his label.
“I still think it’s probably the greatest move I ever made, getting out of that deal,” says Rice, who now finds himself under the Broken Bow Records umbrella but remains friends with people from his previous label Sony. “The time allowed me to mentally get myself together and physically get myself together. I became more of who I know I am.”
And never has he been as sure of who he is then he is right now.
“There is only one person who can sing my songs the way I’m going to sing them,” says Rice, who is currently working with a full-time trainer and a chef as he continues to rehab from tearing his pectoral muscle on the set of the “Eyes on You” music video.
“I look at Thomas Rhett. There is only one person who can be him. There is only one person who can be Sam Hunt. There is only one person who can be Chase Rice and that’s me and when you realize that, it’s like a freedom that you have never felt.”
Indeed, Rice says throughout even the tough times of his career, the fans have always been there to support him. In fact, It’s a conversation that he often has with fellow country star Kip Moore, who has also seen widespread success with his music despite not always having consistent radio support.
“I’m a fan-propelled artist to this day, whether that’s fans requesting my song on the radio or coming out to my shows,” says Moore. “No matter what, the fans keep showing up. We are right where we want to be.”
As Rice heads into 2019, he has his sights set on accomplishing something he has yet to do in his career: he wants his first No. 1 song.
“This isn’t something I strive for, like if it doesn’t happen, I’ll be done, but I think me and the band and the label — we deserve a No. 1 song and we are going to push for that with ‘Eyes on You,’” says the North Carolina native, whose song is currently sitting at No. 21 on the country airplay chart.
“I don’t care where ‘Eyes on You’ dies, because no matter what, we are going to have a monster party at my house on the farm. We are going to celebrate like it’s the greatest thing that ever happened. That’s part of enjoying the ride. I truly feel that song is going to be the one that is going to start this whole new piece of my life.”
Personally, there also could be changes coming down the road.
“Right now I live on a farm by myself and there are times when I haven’t heard another person speak for a few days and I go a little stir crazy,” admits Rice with a chuckle. “So yeah, there is still a lot of things I want to do with my life with a family and kids and all of that. I’m figuring it out right now.”
Rice laughs and looks down, clenching his hands for a moment.
And then he continues.
“The biggest thing that I love about life is that I’m truly enjoying the ride,” he says. “There is going to be some s— times and there is going to be some great times. But the most important thing is the music. It’s about putting out great music and being the artist you are. I’m Chase Rice. Nobody else can be that.”
Chase Rice is back on the road beginning Feb. 22. Get your tickets here.