Sam Hunt's career continues to rocket full speed ahead. After celebrating the one-year anniversary of his debut album Montevallo earlier this week, Hunt tells Entertainment Weekly that he's already planning the follow-up to his 2014 release.

"I’ve really been able to appreciate the value of certain types of songs [for] a live audience," he says. "Our show has a little bit more energy and the tempo is a little bit more upbeat than the way I usually approach songwriting — I tend to lean towards ballads and slower songs. So I’m more aware of needing that balance. There will be songs that will be great to listen to in the car by yourself, songs that will be perfect for a party with your friends, or a live show."

Hunt adds that he's working with the same team that assisted on his debut album, including producer Zach Crowell.

"I just got back in the studio. He’s my right-hand man in terms of the workload. And, of course, [writers] Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne," he says. "Everybody in the little group musically has been there from the start. We’ve got such a relationship now, the personal side of it is really important to the productivity of the creative side. It took a few years to develop that, so I want to stick with it."

With Hunt's continued cross-genre success, he stresses that he'll never leave the country genre behind.

"I don’t have any intention of leaving country music. I really don’t even know how to go about doing that," he admits. "The things that are going to be in all my records, for as long as I’m making them, are going to go back to who I am and where I’m from and the lifestyle that I live and come from — and I don’t know how I could ever get any of that close enough to pop to be considered a pop act."

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