After a couple of tough years, country favorite Jerrod Niemann is more than ready to kick off a new chapter. Newly divorced and newly independent after leaving his former record label, he’s got a fresh perspective and a wealth of fresh inspiration — and the result is Lost & Found.
Marking not just Niemann’s first release in two years, but also his first new music since the 2018 end his four-year marriage, the set is understandably steeped in personal upheaval. But as Niemann will explain, every hard time eventually passes, and the “Lover, Lover” star found and new beginning in the process.
His Lost & Found collection will find songs coming out track by track with two already unveiled — “Ghost Rider” and the intriguing “Tequila Kisses.” And it actually involves a few more “firsts” for Niemann as well. It’s the first time he’s taken the reins as sole producer, the first time he’s played almost all the instruments (even learning lap steel guitar), and the first time he’s recorded a set in his crimson-painted vibe-lair of a basement studio. So needless to say, Sounds Like Nashville had some questions.
Below, Niemann opens up about the loss-and-redemption inspiration of his new music, recording in his “Red Room,” doing 50 tracks of “a capella” vocals while the rest of the genre embraces computer programming, and working with his good buddy, Lee Brice.
Sounds Like Nashville: This seems to be a big season of change for you. How has that played into the way you’ve written and recorded these new songs?
Niemann: It really is a season of change for me. After going through a divorce, I had a lot of song ideas and feelings I really wanted to express musically. With everyone staying at home these days, and not having access to studio musicians or a high-quality recording facility, I had to learn a lot about myself as a musician. I challenged myself to cut records at home, alone in my basement. All the new tunes I’m releasing are products of this process, and honestly, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had recording.
What’s the story behind the project’s name: Lost & Found?
It represents me and where I’m at in my life – both musically and personally. A divorce or any sudden change can leave you feeling lost. However, in creating this new music, I’ve found out so much about myself – from learning the lap steel guitar to picking up all the pieces of my life and moving forward. I feel like I’ve found out more about myself now than I ever lost. It’s such a great place to be.
Can you give us some backstory on “Ghost Rider” and “Tequila Kisses?”
I was walking around the house singing “Ghost Rider” to myself, and I thought it must be someone else’s song. Once I realized it wasn’t, I wrote it with the Warren Brothers and Lance Miller. I wanted to record it with a Southern rock vibe, with the track and lyrics having a haunting feel – because that’s what somebody’s memory does to you when they leave. It turned out exactly as I had imagined.
“Tequila Kisses” is a tune that I wrote it with Lee Brice and Jon Stone really late one night several years ago. We all threatened to record it from time to time, but it just kept slipping through the cracks. I always wanted to do an “a cappella” version of it, and finally, one day it just felt right to do it. Over the course of about 10 hours, I ended up putting 50 vocal tracks on it. I’m glad I went for it because it’s now one of my favorite things I’ve recorded.
You’ve been friends with Lee Brice for years. Can you talk about how your relationship has evolved?
Lee is one of my best friends, for sure. We moved to Nashville around the same time, we are almost the exact same age, and we both connect on endless levels. He’s one of the greatest talents Nashville has ever seen, and it’s been so much fun making music over the years. Recently, we’ve been writing together more than ever before. I can’t wait to see what happens with some of these new songs we’ve come up with. I feel like so many people out there, particularly ones who are going through a lot in their lives, will be able to relate to what we’ve been creating lately.
View this post on Instagram
I’m so excited to be working on new music. Life sure has its ups, downs & in betweens. This record is gonna cover them all. I’ve been writing some of my personal faves with some of my favorite people ever. Can’t wait to share!! #newmusic #songwriters #countrymusic #fromtheheart #fromtheliver #comingsoon #redroom
A post shared by Jerrod Niemann (@jrodfromoz) on
What is it about the “Red Room” in your home that inspires you?
The Red Room is my basement – but it’s not your typical basement. Everything is red: the walls, the ceiling, the chandelier, the shag carpet – I even have some fun red-chili pepper lights. I did that because I wanted a creative space with good vibes. Red is a color that is supposed to inspire creativity, and for me, that room is my favorite place to go when it’s time to be creative. It has a way of blocking out the rest of the world.
This is your first chance to really make the rules and share with fans the music you wanted to make. Was that intimidating or freeing for you?
More than anything, I believe it’s freeing for me. I’ve always co-produced all my records, but I’ve never done it on my own. I’ve always played an instrument or two on them, but certainly never taken songs as a musician all by myself. In doing so this time around, I’ve learned so much, and I can’t wait to continue to be a student and evolve while I work on more new music.