Sarah Darling

Country singer talks new music, her tour with Scotty McCreery and working outside the label system

Sarah Darling had just parted ways with her label, Black River. Most artists might take a while to figure out what they want to do next, but for the songstress, the music literally made the next step an easy one. Darling has just released the energetic summer anthem "Little Umbrellas," which is causing a lot of excitement with her fans. "To have a song out that allowed radio and fans to hear a different side of me has been so amazing," she tells Billboard.

Darling says there is no major statement to make with the song, other than to just have fun. "I describe it as a 'three minute Jimmy Buffett song,' because it's honestly just three minutes of fun. You listen to it, and you almost feel like you're at the beach. Its about grabbing your girlfriends, if you get in a fight with your guy, who cares? Go grab some umbrella drinks and kick back and relax."

Ironically, she said that working outside the parameters of a label allowed her to record and release the song in quicker succession had she still been on a label. "We were able to move so quickly. I decided it was a perfect song for summer, and went in and recorded it. Within a week, we had it recorded and mastered. I played it for a few supporters of mine, and they said 'You've got to release that.' It was amazing to do it on your own -- even down to the production. I had such an idea of what I wanted it to sound like."

A video for the song was released on Wednesday (July 3 -- watch it, above) and Darling said it was sun-soaked blast.

"We shot it in Nashville. I was thinking 'I've got to go to the beach to shoot the video, but it ended up that we knew somebody who had this amazing pool. This guy's backyard, you would have thought that you were in the Dominican Republic the way he had it set up. There were waterfalls, water slides, almost like a tropical heaven, so we shot it in Tennessee on a hot day. Everyone had so much fun."

Though the song was written from a female perspective, she says that the other gender seems to like it, as well. "Guys love it too. With a song like 'Umbrellas,' they relate to it in a way because it is a light-hearted song. They want to do the same thing – they want to get with their buddies, and kick back and relax. I love that it's guys can relate. I think Kenny Chesney does that kind of song rather well. This is my version of that, which a lot of female artists don't release. I think guys love that, as well."

Darling will be performing the track on the road this summer. She will be working some dates on her own, and also opening up for Alan Jackson. Coming off of a tour with Scotty McCreery was a watershed moment for the singer. "Touring with Scotty has been incredible. His fans are fanatics, and that was kind of a new thing for me – the screaming girls, all young – playing that fan base was a great new experience for me. I'm such a fan of Alan Jackson. He wrote one of my favorite songs in 'Remember When.' To be on tour with him, and to do these arena shows allows me to continue to grow, and becoming more comfortable on different stages."

What's next for Darling from a label point of view? She says that she is confident she's on the right track. "I was with Black River for several years, and they were wonderful. Everything serves a purpose at the right time. My manager and I have a vision of moving to the next level, and I think we'll find some amazing partners to work with. My goal is to continue to make great music, and give it to radio and fans. I know when one door closes, another opens, and that's the exciting part."

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