Hardy‘s album was completed.
He’d written and recorded all of the songs. He’d give you the idea of a half nation, half rock undertaking — eight tracks of every style — fleshed out the idea, turned it into his label and shot the art work. The report even had a reputation, Michael Hardy, with the singer’s first identify symbolizing his nation singer-songwriter aspect and his final identify symbolizing his onerous rock aspect.
“For a short second that was gonna be that album title. And now that I am saying it out loud, I hate it,” Hardy admits to Style of Nation and different retailers in a dialog concerning the undertaking. “So I am actually glad that it labored out [the way it did.]”
The change got here in the summertime, when Hardy was on tour. Two songwriters he collaborates with continuously, Brett Tyler and Jordan Schmidt, joined him on the highway and requested to listen to a few of his new materials. He performed them a few his new rock songs, which had been just a little little bit of a novelty to the veteran nation songwriters, and the music piqued their curiosity.
“I used to be like, ‘Man, the report’s performed.’ They had been like, ‘Dang, that sucks. We might actually love to jot down one thing like this,” Hardy recounts. “The subsequent morning, I wakened and Jordan had already been awake for, like, three hours, and he was producing this rock monitor. I walked in — this was on the bus — and I simply checked out him and stated, ‘Rattling it, dude, this sounds superior, and we’re in all probability gonna find yourself writing it as we speak.'”
Write it they did, and never solely did the music find yourself making it onto the report, nevertheless it turned the title monitor and centerpiece of your entire album.
“That is gonna blow your thoughts, however ‘The Mockingbird & the Crow’ was the final music I wrote for the report,” Hardy relates.
It was a music title he’d been kicking round for some time, impressed by a time he’d seen a mockingbird attacking a crow whereas he was driving down a rustic highway. He appreciated the visible to sides of himself that continuously discovered themselves at odds: The mockingbird, a profitable nation songwriter crafting radio-ready hits; the crow, a defiant, progressive and rock-inspired artist who breaks boundaries of format, style and conference.
“It actually does describe and convey and seize the dilemma I’ve with not solely being a rustic artist and a rock artist, however simply as a songwriter. And a rock artist, and since there’s lots of that, inner wrestle and inner battle,” Hardy displays.
“I’ve needed to take care of that, as a result of I like, love, love writing songs for different individuals. And I like, love, love performing and being my very own artist,” he continues. “That music is only a wrestle between the 2.”
The Mockingbird & the Crow is an exploration into — in no explicit order — Hardy’s twin pursuits within the nation and rock genres; the steadiness he strikes between being a working songwriter and a recording and performing artist; his veteran interpretation of the nation radio format and the formulation that creates successful music and his ongoing drive to push himself as a songwriter, particularly on his personal initiatives.
Hardy had a hand in writing each music on the report, and he says that is quietly by design. “I believe I’ve a chip on my shoulder in that I really feel like I’ve to jot down every part that I report,” he acknowledges. “Actually, I need to. I believe it looks like I am in full management of the artistic course of after I try this … It is sort of a vow that I’ve made to myself, and I do not ever wanna, like, publicly say that, since you by no means know, there may very well be a music someday that is excellent and that I need to be part of. However for now, I suppose, my ego or no matter is, ‘I’ve to jot down each music.'”
The truth is, The Mockingbird & the Crow contains the very first music Hardy’s written solo because the starting of his profession: A music referred to as “Joyful.”
“That was the primary music I had written on my own since 2013 after I wrote a music referred to as ‘Canine Years.’ That was the music that bought me my first publishing deal,” he recounts. “I had been making an attempt to get one [song] on my own simply to know that I nonetheless may.”
To not indicate that Hardy’s towards collaboration: His profession is stuffed with co-writing tales, and as a author who got here up within the songwriters’ rooms of Music Row, artistic collaboration is a serious a part of his songwriting course of. As a singer, Hardy’s no stranger to successful duet, both: He is had No. 1 success with songs like “Beers on Me,” with Breland and Dierks Bentley, and his Hixtape albums are stuffed with joint efforts. That pattern is not slowing down on The Mockingbird & the Crow, whose monitor checklist incorporates a number of duets, together with his present single, “Wait within the Truck,” with Lainey Wilson.
Morgan Wallen — one other frequent collaborator for Hardy — additionally seems on the tracklist with a duet referred to as “Pink.” On the rock half of The Mockingbird & the Crow, Hardy joins forces with Jeremy McKinnon, lead vocalist of pop punk group A Day to Bear in mind, for a music referred to as “Radio Track.”
Maybe probably the most overtly self-referential music on the undertaking, “Radio Track” factors to — after which rails towards — the tropes of a rustic radio hit.
“I’ve simply at all times been a fan of meta music lyrics,” Hardy explains, citing Sara Bareilles’ “Love Track” — which was written out of frustration at a report label who requested her to jot down a love music for a report — and Outkast’s “Hey Ya” — a dance-ready megahit that was really written as a criticism of modern-day relationships.
“I simply love songs which might be, like, meta or bizarre or completely different,” Hardy continues, “a music inside a music, an thought inside an thought. I do not know. I additionally simply needed to jot down the heaviest factor I had performed thus far, and I believe we did all of it.”
His album highlights dichotomy, and spotlights the truth that with one foot in every style — and a hand in a number of completely different features of the music trade — he by no means actually really matches in anyplace. However in so doing, the singer carves out a lane, and finds a house to settle into. Even within the songs the place he embraces rock, a powerful nation lyric is a theme on The Mockingbird & the Crow, from begin to end. The extra he strips away the nation sounds he thinks needs to be there, opting as an alternative to pursue the music that is true to him, the extra he discovers his personal sort of nation.
“I suppose it sort of did open the door for doing the rock and roll factor,” Hardy permits, “However it additionally opened the door just a little extra broad open for me to kinda give my very own rendition of nation music.”
The Mockingbird & the Crow arrives on Jan. 20.
11 Songs That Modified Trendy Nation Music: