Brandon Stansell isn't judging in his new song, just worrying about a loved one's happiness. "Did You Settle Down Too Soon?" is premiering exclusively on The Boot; press play below to listen.

"One of the greatest freedoms I found after coming out was that there were no expectations for me — I shattered those when I decided to be honest about who I was," Stansell, who is gay, tells The Boot. "When nothing is expected of you, the world seems to open up a bit, and all the really matters is not what others want for you, but what you want for yourself."

Stansell's own journey isn't what he focuses on in his new song, though — at least, not directly. Rather, "Did You Settle Down Too Soon?" looks at his choices in comparison to his brother's: The singer left his hometown and is pursuing his dreams, while his brother — the high school football team's starting quarterback who, Stansell says, had "so many things he said he wanted to do and be growing up" and, he sings, "must think that I'm so lost" — "met a girl from out west / And then one kiss turned into three kids."

"Now you're working for the family company and / Going golfing with your buddies on the weekend," Stansell sings in the song's second verse. Each chorus, he wonders: "Did you settle down too soon? / Gave up on the stars and stayed on the moon? ... No judgement here, I promise / But have you done everything you wanted?"

"I bet you can guess which one of us is pitied and which one celebrated ...," Stansell says. "The thing is, I’m happy. And even though the feeling is not mutual, I really do hope he’s happy."

"Did You Settle Down Too Soon?" comes from a forthcoming new EP from Stansell, This Must Be the Place. The six-song project mixes pop-country with '80s vibes and is due out on Sept. 3.

Stansell released his debut EP in 2015. In 2020, he received the first-ever Rising Star Award at fellow country artist Ty Herndon's annual Concert for Love and Acceptance. He also hosts the I Love This Country podcast on Spotify.

Keep up with Stansell at

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