Singer Chris Bandi may be new, but he's not naive. When it comes to writing and recording he follows a golden rule. That's reflected in "Gone Girl," premiering first exclusively on Taste of Country.

"With country music I think it's just about being true to yourself," Bandi says. "I think every song that I write is a song about life."

"Gone Girl," a pop-friendly track reminiscent of recent Sam Hunt or Chris Lane's "Fix," complies with that rule. Bandi says when he's singing the Bruno Mars inspired song, he's got his girlfriend on his mind. It was written early on their relationship.

"It's about that girl that no matter when she calls or what she does, you're there," he says.

The St. Louis native moved to Nashville weeks after graduating college with a degree in marketing in 2013. While his college experiences have proven useful for his life and career in Music City, he admits he mostly went to college to appease his parents.

"When I was a kid when people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up ... I wanted to be a rock star," Bandi says. "And I had no idea how to do it. I thought you just got found."

It didn't long for him to figure a whole lot of work was required to reach career summits. Soon he'd formed a band, and they're still booked solid through spring. When he's not on the road he's writing, recording or taking interviews. Now 27 years old, Bandi says he's learned who he is, and who he isn't. Yes, "Gone Girl" is very progressive, but it's very him. Early on he'd be pitched typical country songs about back roads and trucks. Those weren't working.

"Out of necessity I felt I needed to write my own songs about my experiences, my influences," the "Man Enough Now" singer says. Those include Bruno Mars, but also Garth Brooks. Like so many of today's top artists, Bandi is a true amalgam of styles and genres.

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