One day after releasing "Downtown's Dead," his first single in 15 months, Sam Hunt sat with SiriusXM host Storme Warren to discuss the new song, which depicts a guy feeling the emptiness of his constant-party existence.
"There's that line in the bridge: 'What am I doing with my life,' where he snaps out of it a little bit. The whole song is about him snapping out of it," says Hunt, who also points out that it doubles as a statement about his own fame. His rapid rise with Montevallo and singles like "Take Your Time" and "Break Up in a Small Town" transformed him into a massive star, where he started feeling as if his life had shifted entirely in one direction and left no space for reflection.
"I love a good time and I love the environment of a concert or going downtown," he says. "But life sort of turned into a 24/7 version of that and I needed a little more balance. A full diet of that leaves you feeling a little empty."
Hunt released Montevallo in October 2014, with the singles "Drinking Too Much" and "Body Like a Back Road" appearing in early 2017. Not long after, he got married to the woman who had inspired many of his songs, altering his trademark brooding perspective to a general feeling of happiness.
"That's been one of the hang-ups I've had," he says. "It's like, what do I want to say now? I've always been inspired from more of a sad, dark place and I haven't felt that emotion in a long time. Now I'm doing other things because I don't need that therapy as much anymore."
As for the long-awaited follow-up to Montevallo, holding one's breath would not be advised. Hunt has still been writing songs, but doesn't currently have the selections he wants in order to put together a full album.
"I have lots of songs in pieces right now," he says. "I don't necessarily have a record ready. I don't have quite enough continuity in the songs I've been working on."
On the upside, Hunt did announce he'd be releasing another new song "shortly after" "Downtown's Dead," though he didn't share any further details. This summer, he'll help warm up the stadium crowds on Luke Bryan's What Makes You Country XL Tour, which kicks off May 31st.