Every morning, Chase Rice makes it a priority to talk to God a little bit. And in one particular, pre-pandemic conversation, the North Carolina raised singer had a rather an interesting request.

“I remember telling Him that I needed some real in my life, because I truly didn’t know what was real anymore,” Rice remembers in a interview just days before the Friday (May 28) release of The Album, the completed version of the multi-part project he began putting out in January 2020. "How do I calm this down? How do I get people around me that aren’t just there because of the music?"

Rice pauses, then admits, "He ended up answering in a way that I wasn’t ready for.”

For a moment, the walls of the tough-guy persona that Rice has long built around him begin to come down, and his voice cracks under the realization of it all. The answer he received that day is the same one that plenty of people received during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they found themselves craving simplicity and authenticity in the people they chose to have around them.

“There was this group of families who hung out with me at my farm,” Rice remembers of sweet days in the middle of the shutdown. “We sat around fires, we had a Beer Olympics, we had a Top Gun volleyball tournament -- we lived in a way that we will never do it again.”

And much as in his current single with Florida Georgia Line, “Drinkin' Beer. Talkin' God. Amen.,” there were plenty of conversations around the campfire. "A lot of it wasn’t about music -- it was about what was going on in your life and my life," remembers Rice, who snagged his first No. 1 song back in 2018 with "Eyes on You."

"Those are the conversations I will take into my music and on the road and in that mindset that there is a life outside of that tour bus and on that stage," he continues. "I learned that you could have the calm and the chaos at the same time. Before, it was just the chaos.”

Fans will hear the backbone of this newfound philosophy all over The Album.

“All these songs are songs that didn’t belong, but they finalized my album,” Rice says of the record. "These songs came to be when I had a moment to step back and write real songs as opposed to trying to write songs. I’m writing about whatever happens. I’m living life again for the first time in eight years, and it’s been pretty awesome.”

As the world climbs back onto their post-pandemic reality, Rice admits he isn’t the same guy he once was.

"You are not going to see the artist up there anymore,” says Rice, who will be joining Kane Brown for the NBA arena Blessed & Free Tour at the top of 2022. "You are going to see me. And I don’t know what that’s going to look like or how it’s going to be taken, but it’s going to be me, whether you like it or not."

10 Hottest Songs for Summer 2021

Summer 2021 needs a great soundtrack, and country music's biggest stars and hottest newcomers are supplying. Find songs from Little Big Town, Jon Pardi, Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert on this 10 Hottest Songs for Summer 2021 list.

Newcomers Willie Jones and Walker Hayes also make the list with earworms we don't want to quit. Not every hot summer song needs to be a good-time party song, and not every good party song will make a great summer playlist. Our Top 10 embraces a range of emotions and experiences. What would summer be without summer love or summer heartache, or a bit of nostalgia?

Scroll down to see all 10 songs on this list of the hottest summer country songs. It's part of Taste of Country's summer Hot List, an annual report on the songs and artists set to bake this year.

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