Kellie Pickler has unveiled a brand new single called “Feeling Tonight,” the first taste of her in-the-works next album. Co-written by Sarah Buxton, Jimmy Robbins and Josh Osborne, the flirtatious track is a true summer jam, according to the singer.
“It makes me feel happy,” Pickler tells Rolling Stone Country. “I think it captures this fun energy and where we are today in country radio. . . the perfect combination of it all. It’s up-tempo, it feels good, it’s light. For spring and summer, it’s perfect.”
Along with a propulsive beat, crunchy guitars and Pickler’s sugary-sweet vocals, the song’s lyrics are about a girl looking to feel something real for the first time — especially something like true love. Pickler, who began her career as a wide-eyed teenager on national TV, says she can relate.
“I think this song really captures young love or new love,” Pickler says. “And I think I’ve definitely experienced that. When I was first introduced to the world on American Idol I had just turned 19, had never been anywhere, had never experienced anything outside of the bubble that I lived in, and jumping out in the world you have your heart on your sleeve. You’re vulnerable, you’re naïve, you can definitely be a little gullible in the romance department, and then you meet that right person that is just your sanctuary. This song is very much about living in the moment and living in the now and that excitement of being in love.”
“Feeling Tonight” marks the first time the 28-year-old has worked with her songwriter husband Kyle Jacobs in the producer’s chair. (Jacobs produced the song along with Matt McClure.)
“It’s interesting because I’ve always known him from a songwriter’s perspective,” she says of Jacobs, who has written hits for Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw. “This was my first time getting a front-row seat to see what my husband is like in the studio. It’s very different writing a song with someone at home on your couch and then being in a studio and seeing them orchestrate and conduct a band and put all this together.”
Pickler’s fifth studio album is forthcoming, but so far she’s remained tight-lipped on any specifics. Judging by her thoughts on the new song and country’s current sound, though, she may be ready to spread beyond the traditional influences she’s become known for.
“Country music is such an eclectic format with people from all walks of life, and other formats are kind of marrying in to the country demographic,” she says. “Right now, country music is all about a great song, there’s not necessarily a particular sound.”
Pickler, who is currently filming a new reality series with Jacobs about their daily life for CMT, will receive a special honor named for “American Sniper” Chris Kyle during CMA Music Festival. The Operation Troop Aid Chris Kyle Patriot Award recognizes Pickler’s commitment to entertaining U.S. servicemen and women around the world.