‘Love Me Like You Mean It’ Writer Fondly Recalls Taylor’s Tweet

beaverdamusa.comSometimes, a simple tweet can make a huge difference.

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.

lance 3“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.


Image via kelseaballerini.com (Black River Entertainment)

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.

Lance Carpenter: Success, Country Style

lance carpenter, beaverdamusa.com, barry currinNashville songwriter Lance Carpenter is still helping those in need. He’s just found a new way to do it.

His tribute song, “This is Our Home,” was inspired by the devastation left by tornadoes in his and co-writer Matthew Huff’s home state of Arkansas in April. It’s not surprising they arranged for the proceeds to help the victims of the storm which claimed the lives of 15 people in its 40-mile path.

What is surprising, though, is that only 6 months prior to the storms, the Ozark, Ark., native was helping victims of natural disasters in a different way.

“Up until October of last year, I worked for FEMA for 8 years,” he told us recently. “I traveled the country and worked Federal disasters — Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ike, and last, Hurricane Sandy up in New Jersey and New York City.” Lance has been based out of Nashville since 2011.

lance 2He continued, “Matthew is a good friend of mine. He’s from Mammoth Spring, Ark., and we both had people affected in the storm. He called me and was coming to town, and he had this song he was wanting to write. And I didn’t know it was about the tornadoes. I just thought it was something else.

“And I told him, ‘Man in all these years I’ve never written a song about a disaster because I’ve been so close to them, but now that I’m resigned from (working for FEMA), and I’m doing music full time, let’s do this.’ But let’s not just do it for the folks in Mayflower and Vilonia, Ark. Let’s make this universal where anyone in the country, anyone in the world who went through something like this — you know a storm in your life — this song would kind of help you get through it, give you some hope.”

So they wrote it. Lance described the result this way: “We got knocked down to our knees, but we’re going to get back up and pull together, and the community is going to prevail.

“I talked to my publisher and our lawyer, and we got it to where a 100% of the proceeds of it are going to go to all the storm victims. Us not being huge artists, that may not be a big amount but it’s a small piece.”

But the piece may have been bigger than they imagined. The song rang up 10,000 listens online in its first week. “We’ve got calls from many states saying, ‘hey, we heard your song it touched us. Thank you so much for giving us something to listen to and hold onto and have that hope.’ So it’s an honor to use this gift of music we’re given to help other people and not just try and get a No. 1 song on the radio, and not just play a big sold-out stadium or something.”

lance 3This is only one of many examples of Lance’s success since he went full-time in the music business less than a year ago. This year, he released his self-titled debut album and backed it with a successful tour.

“We released it last February here in Nashville and had a big show down at the Listening Room, and that went real well,” he said. “Putting that first album together was exciting. I was in town a couple of years and had a lot of songs to choose from.” For the album, Lance wrote two of the songs himself and co-wrote the other 10.

He described the tour as “wonderful.”

“We got a band put together, and so far this year we’ve played shows in Tennessee and Arkansas, Kansas, Ohio, Kentucky. We played some acoustic shows down in Key West, Fla. We spent a whole week down there for a songwriting festival – a great networking opportunity.”

The next leg will take him north. “I’ve got some guys in Boston I’ve played with, and I’m going to be in the Boston and New Hampshire areas pretty much all of September. And I’m going to do a parking lot party with Darius Rucker and then play Toby Keith’s, and a couple of Hard Rock (Cafes) and some house concerts.

“It’s going to be fun,” he said, in what appeared to be somewhat of an understatement.

Lance arranges his tour to include venues where all his fans can see him. “There are certain people who will come out to bars and listen to you play, and then some others they want to see you in church,” he laughed, “So I try to play shows everywhere I can so I can reach as many people with my music as I can.”

Although he is enjoying life on the road, Lance considers himself a songwriter first. “When I first came to town, I was afraid to put 50 percent into trying to be a songwriter and 50 percent into trying to be an artist,” he said. “And I had the fear I would fail at both of them, so I just kind of focused on songwriting and craft, and got to where I could write a decent song. Then I was blessed to get a publishing deal signed to Bigger Picture Music Group in 2012 just shortly after putting the album out.

“I got a couple of cuts on Dylan Scott over at Sidewalk Records pretty quick,” he said. “And about a year into that is when I thought all right let’s put some songs together and do an album. And I never dreamed that I would get a band together, and we would go and be playing shows with Toby Keith, Luke Bryan and some of those guys.”

Currently, Lance is a staff writer for Parallel Entertainment. “That’s my job,” he said. “And on the artist side, that’s all on my own, independently. And we do that for fun and we have a good time out there with the band and the fans playing our music.”

Lance said he is satisfied with being an independent musician for the moment. “I would rather be in a crowd of 20,000 people and hear an artist sing a song I wrote back to me than be on stage and sing to 20,000 people,” he said.

But, not so fast.

He added, “My friend, Casssandra Tormes — we had breakfast not too long ago — she used to work for Cotton Valley Records. She’s one of my champions in town that loves my music and kind of got some things going for me. And she said, ‘Well what about I throw a third little wrinkle into that?’ She goes, ‘What if you’re on stage and 20,000 people are singing your song back to you?’ And that kind of got the chills on the arms and I thought, you know, that’d be pretty nice.”

He added, “Right now my goal isn’t necessarily to get a record deal. There’s a lot of people who come to town to write songs — you know Eric Paslay, Thomas Rhett, the list goes on and on — who come to town and have success and become artists in their own right. I’m not going to say I don’t see that in the future, you know that could definitely be a possibility.”

Visit Lance’s Web site
Follow him on twitter | Lance’s Facebook page

Lance’s latest accomplishment is “Love Me Like You Mean It,” a song he wrote which was recorded by Kelsea Ballerini. The tune is already on Sirius XM the Highway. “She’s on radio tour right now, and in September “Love Me Like You Mean It” goes for adds for regular radio, so that is something I’m really excited about right now.” He added, “She’s a phenomenal artist, and hopefully we’ll have a long career in this business.”

Though he’s serious about his music, Lance doesn’t take himself too seriously all the time. “I’m country as a horse turd,” he blurted out during our talk. “And I’m a pretty good ol’ boy. I am what I am and you get what you see.”

Then he said, “The more successful I am, the more significant I can be in the lives of other people. Right now I just want to write great songs and go out there and have some fun, and what the Lord has planned for me I’m willing to accept.”

And whatever the future holds for Lance Carpenter, his fans will certainly be thankful for him.

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