Chase Rice had no problems saying goodbye to his old label, Columbia, and welcoming a new one, Broken Bow Records. In fact, he demanded it. In a new interview with Rolling Stone Country, Rice says he felt he was being ignored when it came to the new music he wanted to release — a deviation from the "bro-country" rut he’d fallen into.

“It's been hell," he said. "I'm still blessed, but when you know what you can do and you're not able to do it, it feels like a slap in the face. I felt like people were holding me back from the music I could create. That's no way to live, and it's weighed me down for a long time. This is actually the first time I have talked about it.”

After the mega-success of “Cruise,” which he wrote with Florida Georgia Line, and his subsequent chart-topper “Ready Set Roll” from Ignite the Night, Rice found himself pigeonholed into a category he didn’t set out to stake a claim in.

“"There will always be people saying, 'You're not country, you're ruining country.' And there were songs [on Ignite the Night] where I'm like, 'You're kind of right,’” he admits. “I’m very proud of it, but I didn't have a clue what I was doing on that record. I was just throwing a bunch of stuff on a wall and seeing what stuck.”

Though he takes responsibility for songs like “Whisper,” which has a particularly sexually aggressive line about getting a girl to "shut up" by kissing her, he adds that the mostly-absent label should’ve given him some guidance at the time.

"They should have said, 'Wrong time, wrong song,'" he says.

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Once he realized the direction his music had taken him, he began forging a new path for himself artistically — but it wasn’t well received. On a golf course with one of the label execs, who gave little more than “hmmm” in vague acknowledgment of his input, Rice decided enough was enough.

"He wouldn't look at me," Rice said. "I was like, 'What the f--k?’”

He went home and called his team, he tells RSC.

“I said, 'Get me out of this deal. I either want to not do music again or get out of this deal.' I don't think it was 10 days later I was out."

Things are looking up, now, though. His new record, Lambs and Lions, teams him with Broken Bow, a relationship he said came at a perfect time. It will be hard to stop him this time around — not that anyone would try. According to the interview, the unofficial motto for the new partnership is simply, “Let’s f---ing go.”

He says the title track is the backbone of the record, while another tune, “Amen,” written about his father who passed away when Rice was only 22, is the heart. Its official release date has yet to be announced.

Rice has been laying low while the label shift went down, but he recently performed at a pop-up show in North Carolina April 25. He graced the stage of a dive bar he used to play when he was coming up as an artist at UNC.

Rice will hit the road in September for his Lambs and Lions Tour, with ToC RISERS artist Jacob Davis set to join him as an opening act at stops in Minnesota and Illinois. Rice will also head overseas for dates in the U.K. and Ireland in December. Other support acts for the Lambs and Lions Tour include Brooke EdenFilmore, Travis Denning and Sam Riggs.

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