Kristian Bush is readying the release of his sophomore solo album and the singer/songwriter compares the process to college as this is his third go around. Previously, Bush released a second album with his ’90s folk-rock band Billy Pilgrim and country duo Sugarland.
“This will be my third sophomore record,” he tells Sounds Like Nashville. “I know how important that is, which means it’s got to be better than the last one. It’s got to reach more people and have more authority about who I am than anything you’ve ever seen.”
Bush is well on his way to reaching more listeners with the album’s catchy lead single, “Sing Along,” which has him looking back fondly on old love and begging his ex to remember the good times instead of whose fault the ending was.
“The best part of me was always you / Like a sunset fading from red to blue / And when I see it I still think of you,” he sings sweetly. “In the end it doesn’t matter who was right and who was wrong / When you think about me girl, I hope you sing along.”
As Bush explains, he never intended the world to hear “Sing Along.” He simply needed to write it for himself. He said the song was the second one he started writing that day after getting frustrated that the previous track wasn’t going anywhere.
“I had just been in a relationship… I’m a single dad, so I’m trying to put my heart back up on the rails and the track and see if I can get it to go, and I made a terrible mistake,” he says, speaking softly. “This song became the message in a bottle that I wanted to give to her to say, ‘Look, I know I made mistakes, you made mistakes, and instead of running away from this, how about I run into it and try to remind you that what we have is great, and just stop there. Remember me fondly, because I remember us.'”
When asked if the woman who inspired the song has heard “Sing Along” and what she thinks of it, Bush confirms that she has, in fact, heard the track but wouldn’t reveal too much more. “I can’t tell you. You’ve got to wait for the entire series to be released on Netflix,” he jokes.
What he will reveal, though, is that his sophomore release won’t disappoint. Wherein previous years he accompanied Jennifer Nettles on harmony in Sugarland, he said this time around he won’t be able to hide behind an incredible singer.
“Now you’re hearing my voice tell my story, and that’s a different responsibility,” he explains. “I’m obsessed with records. I’m obsessed with you giving me 45 minutes of your life, and I promise I will deliver. I work really, really hard at that because I think it matters.”
When sitting down to talk with Bush, his positive outlook on life is infectious. A glance on social media shows inspirational quotes as well as frequent hashtags #NeverGiveUp and #FansMatter. The singer says joy is contagious and he strives to surround himself with people who are constantly excited and happy. He said he learned this lesson from his mother, who passed away when he was 30.
“She [taught] us that whichever way you’re facing is always the right way, and that it’s a choice to be happy. It doesn’t fall from the sky,” he says. “You have to choose what you’re doing, and when you do choose, it is the power of choosing that is a secret. It’s something people don’t explain to you in school or anywhere.”
Bush adds that he embraces this attitude because he has often heard the word “no” throughout his career in music. While he’s gotten used to being told no, he says a person’s success is often indicative to how well they handle rejection.
“Resilience in this business has to do with understanding no and understanding failure as a step towards success. The faster you fail, the faster you figure out how to get through the door,” he adds. “The fear of failure, fear of success, the only way that I know how to face that in life is to face it without giving up. Otherwise, it just gets really depressing and there’s plenty of things to be depressed about. Music should not be one of them.”
One listen to Bush’s positively infectious “Sing Along” brings this realization to life.