Eric Church might have shocked more than a few fans by debuting his rocking new single, 'The Outsiders,' during the CMA Awards earlier this week, which is perfectly fine by him.

“It’s a bit of a statement," he explains to Buffalo, N.Y. radio station WYRK. "I wanted to send a message with this album that it’s gonna be different, it’s gonna be another level."

The song is the title track of his upcoming album, which he says intentionally holds plenty of surprises. “I love that moment of people who are turnin’ it up, turnin’ it up, and then you just knock them out and it takes about the end of the song to recover,” he explains. “[The album's] a cross between Waylon [Jennings] and Metallica. It’s very creative and it’s very free-flowing with its creativity.”

The North Carolina native, who was nominated for both Male Vocalist of the Year and Musical Event of the Year (the latter for Jason Aldean's song, 'The Only Way I Know') walked away empty-handed after the ceremony, but he says any awards he gets really aren't for him, anyway.

“They mean a lot more for the people that have believed in me,” he explains. “I don’t get caught up in winning or losing awards. But I want them for the people who believed. I want them for the fans, I want them for those people in radio, for those people in the industry who have always believed in us. That’s what I want to win an award for, so they can stand up and say, ‘I was right.’”

'The Outsiders' will be released on Feb. 11, 2014. The album is available for pre-order here.

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