Kip Moore has been up all night, he’s been a wild one, but in 2017, he’s a slowheart. The titles of his albums have always been at least somewhat indicative of where he’s at in his life, and his third LP, Slowheart (due Sept. 8), shines a light on his more sensitive side — something that has become easier for him to access as of late.
“The term Slowheart has always been dear to me, but then it finally made sense with this record of coming to grips with my own vulnerabilities, my own hopes, my own stubbornness — the long journey that it took to get to where I’m at, and the clarity I’m at now,” Moore tells Billboard while stopping by our video series On the Record. “I think for sure this is the most vulnerable I’ve been on a record… the first one is still stuck in that same stubborn place of dealing with the same issues that I’ve faced before, still staying stuck in that spot and not doing anything about it, still feeling that sorrow. Whereas the second half is more hopeful in terms of who I hope to be the next time I’m faced with certain things.”
Part of the reason he’s feeling more open is because of the four month break he took from music — traveling around the world, going surfing, camping and simply giving himself some breathing room from the music industry. “I just knew I needed to get away. My soul was fried, my body was fried, I was mentally fried. I was just toast,” he says. “I knew if I was going to be worth a dang this year playing music, I needed to get away and have that time for myself. I’ve learned in this business, if you don’t hold up your hand and say ‘I need a time out,’ it’ll keep riding. I needed to step away, and I’m so glad that I did.”
Another thing that’s given him the confidence to be more vulnerable in his songwriting is the fans that have showed up since he released Wild Ones in 2015. Despite the fact that the album didn’t spawn any radio smashes on the level of Up All Night‘s “Somethin’ ’bout a Truck,” Moore said his fan base quadrupled in size, and were singing every word to every song, which has practically given him more pride than a radio hit anyway. And anyway, the fan growth has already been apparent in the success of the first single from Slowheart, “More Girls Like You,” which currently sits at No. 11 on the Country Airplay chart (dated Sept. 9).
Regardless of how Slowheart holds up against his fellow country stars Thomas Rhett and Dustin Lynch — who also happen to be releasing albums on Sept. 8 (“I’d smack both of y’all right now if I saw y’all,” Moore laughs) — he knows he’s put his best foot forward, thanks to the fans and the journey that’s gotten him to where he is today.
“More than anything, for me, it’s about the continuous slow growth of everything happening. If I don’t reach number one, I’ll still lay my head on my pillow and I’ll sleep okay,” he says. “There’s something real and authentic happening.”
Check out our full interview with Moore above.