Listening to Sunny Sweeney and Will Hoge's new single, "My Bed," one has to admit the two artists' musical marriage was a natural fit. However, Sweeney told Billboard that bringing Hoge to the table wasn't as organic as it may seem. The pairing came as a suggestion from someone on her team, she says -- though she's not complaining.
"I was going to record it by myself, and my manager said, 'What would you think about doing that song as a duet?" she said. "I asked who he was thinking, and he said 'Will Hoge would be really cool,' and I just stopped him in his tracks and said, 'If you can make that happen, I'm in.' I think he is so amazing. I love his singing and I love his writing. I ran to the studio a couple of days later and listened to him sing on it and it completed the song for me. Since day one, I have been in love with that track. It's one of my favorites on the record."
She's not alone, as Sweeney says several of her fans have echoed those sentiments. "People have come up to me after shows and said, 'I've been there.' I said, 'Me too, honey.' I think everybody has, not necessarily a marriage, but a bad breakup where you're at that point. To me, it's one of those stories to where if I heard it as a fan, I would relate to it. I've been through that before and I wish I had that to listen to. Music helps me cope, it has my whole life. I'm excited that everybody is digging it."
When asked what it was about her duet partner that makes her a fan, she didn't hesitate. "As a human being, he is wonderful," Sweeney said. "He loves his wife and he loves his children, first and foremost. And to me, that says everything about a person. I toured with him and watching him with his band is amazing, because they are begging for music like that -- about real stuff. You put his voice on top of all that and it's so gravelly, cool and sexy. It makes you want to listen to what he's saying. He's just an amazing artist and his new record is sick. I love it."
The artists have just released a video for the track and recently performed the song on the Grand Ole Opry's historic stage, marking the first time the pair have performed the song live. "We were going to do the video on Saturday and I was playing the Opry. We decided to take a shot and see if he was going to be in town on Friday night and maybe he'd do it. As it turned out, he was. I was amazed that he would want to take time away on his day off and do that. He gets there and we realize that we've never sang the song live together. We recorded it, but had never done it live. So we rehearsed it in one of the dressing rooms. It felt really cool to sing it together and then when we did it, all of the people that we looked up to -- like Bill Anderson and Vince Gill complimented me on it. It was very fulfilling, an amazing feeling. It was one of my favorite nights ever," she said with a smile.
The track is from her critically acclaimed album Provoked, which has made a mark with fans due to emotionally charged material like "My Bed" and "Used Cars," as well as more humorous offerings such as "Everybody Can Kiss My Ass" and "Backhanded Compliment." She says she just likes a good song -- regardless of tone. "I like songs as a fan that are real. My fans are extremely important to me, and I feel like what they want is important. I try to think about what I would want to hear. I've been through a really bad divorce and breakup, so I would want to hear a song like that. I've also used music to raise hell, and that's what is so beautiful about music -- the more real it is, the more people can connect to it. I just do it the way I want to hear it as a fan."
On the road, the singer has just wrapped up a brief leg opening for Miranda Lambert, which she says was an unforgettable experience. "Her band and crew are great and she is just hilarious," says Sweeney. "She is one of my favorite people on the planet. She had me in stitches one night when she was talking about all of her animals. And Miranda Lambert's catering is so amazing -- that makes a difference. It's healthy. It was a blast. I hope we can do it again sometime."