That’s what happened in March when Taylor Swift hash-tagged country singer Kelsea Ballerini’s “Love Me Like You Mean It” in a tweet about the artist’s debut EP “The First Time.”
The tweet garnered an avalanche of publicity for the song. And, that’s when Lance Carpenter knew he and his co-writers had a hit on their hands.
“I guess the first time I really thought ‘holy crap,’ is when Taylor Swift tweeted about it – when she was riding in her car listening to Kelsea’s EP saying, ‘This is like my favorite new song.’ That was kind of the moment when it was above and beyond all of us. Because that was totally unsolicited. Taylor just did that because she loved the song. So, that was a pretty cool moment.”
Lance and Kelsea co-wrote “Love Me Like You Mean It” with Josh Kerr and Kelsea’s producer, Forest Glen Whitehead. We talked with Lance a couple of days ago as a follow-up to our original interview with him, which published on Aug. 12, 2014. You can read it here.
Some 3 months after Taylor’s tweet, “Love Me Like You Mean It” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, making Kelsea only the 11th female artist in country music history to achieve No. 1 status with a debut release.
In the beginning, though, the writers weren’t sure what the future held for the song, since Kelsea did not have a record deal at the time.
“The night we wrote it,” Lance said, “we finished it was like 12:30 in the morning. And, we all knew it was just catchy, and simple, and we thought it sounded cool. Three weeks later, Forest (recorded Kelsea singing) a demo of it, and I do remember he called me into the studio and he was like, ‘Dude, I’ve never said this about anything that we’ve ever written, but this is a hit song.’
“We didn’t know who in the world was going to record it,” Lance said, “because It doesn’t sound like anything on country radio. So, I guess when we had the demo, that’s when we thought, ‘this thing is cool, it’s catchy, It’s fresh, it sounds different.’ But, at the time we just thought, ‘man, maybe it’ll get cut by someone.’”
Shortly thereafter, though, Black Record Entertainment signed Kelsea as an artist, and she began her recording career. And, one of her first orders of business was to re-record what would be her first hit.
“And, then, when she recorded it and put it out as a single, it went to Sirius XM-The Highway,” Lance said. “And, it did all right there, but it didn’t really fly up their charts or anything. And, then she put it out last September to mainstream radio, and it was a very slow build.”
The No. 1 ranking occurred on June 22.
Lance and Kelsea have communicated several times since then.
“She’s on cloud 9,” Lance said. “We talked the week it went No. 1, and since then we’ve been together a couple of times, at her manager’s house for a little celebration. We all jumped in the pool with our clothes on, which was kind of cool, holding up our number one (fingers), you know.”
He added, “For the writers, it will change our life a little bit; but, for her, to be only the 11th country female artist in history to have her debut go No. 1, she’s breaking a lot of records, and she’s turning a lot of heads. Her life is really changing, and I think her next single “Dibs” is going to be amazing and I think it will fly up the charts.”
Lance has nothing but praise for Kelsea. “No one sounds like her on country radio,” he said. “She’s 21, and she’s got all this spunk and charisma, but she’s also got this grace and this poise. She’s so good to her fans; and, she’s so genuine, and, I love that about her.”
Lance, the Artist
“I’ve got a new EP that’s coming out, probably the first week of August,” he told us. “I just re-signed my publishing deal with Parallel Entertainment, and they’re wanting to put out a press release — kind of get a little bit of this excitement from the No. 1 to hopefully pour over into my artist side.”
He said, “A lot of people even in Nashville don’t know that I’m an artist, and I have a band and we tour the country, you know, in a little white van and a trailer. So this is an opportunity to hopefully shine a little light on me not only as a songwriter, but to let people know the other side of me and my artistry, so I’m blessed (Parallel Entertainment is) willing to do that.
“I’m fixing to be heading up to Boston it’ll be August 7-9,” he said. “We’re playing at a place called Loretta’s which is right across the street from Fenway Park, and we’re basically the after-party for the Zac Brown Band’s 3-day event up there. So as soon as they’re off at Fenway, we go on at Loretta’s, and we’ll keep the party rocking all night long.”
He proudly added, “And, my little sister just had a baby, little Ryan Kennith Mainer, so I’m an uncle again. I’ve got nine nieces and nephews now. So, my family is all wondering when I’m going to settle down and have some kids.”
Given Lance’s recent whirlwind of success, any new adventure may have to wait just a bit.