Story Behind the Song: Lanco, ‘Rival’
Lanco released their single "Rival" in March of 2019 -- the first new music fans have heard from the five-piece country band since their debut record, Hallelujah Nights, dropped in early 2018. The summer anthem was one of the first songs written for their upcoming sophomore album, by group members Brandon Lancaster and Tripp Howell, and was produced by Jay Joyce, who's championed the group's career for years.
"Rival" shifts away from the love-centered lyrical content that brought Lanco into the mainstream. Instead, it's a challenging look at using your rivals as prime motivation in life, making it a relatable song for people in every step of life or career.
Read on to hear the story behind "Rival," in the words of Lancaster himself.
Tripp and I actually wrote the song “Rival.” I think a big thing that you kind of discover when you’re an artist, especially going onto a second record, is, your life does change. You spend a lot more time on the road or in a tour bus or backstage, and it’s still finding the things that are going on in your life that also other people can relate to, no matter what anyone’s going through or what they do for work.
We were talking one night, kind of just about things that we were going through, and that kind of turned into a conversation about things we had gone through in our life. Then, [we were] realizing, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you’re doing in life -- everyone has a moment where they feel like their back is against the wall, where maybe people aren’t rooting for them.
[That was] just kind of saying, let’s write this anthem. It’s important to tell people that you matter, you’re important, and be proud of who you are, be proud of where you come from, and go do what you want in life. If there is anyone that wants to stand in your way, that’s all right. That’s just reality, and chalk them up as a rival and use them as motivation.
I think, with any song, you want to think of an idea that a lot of people can relate to that you can also relate to strongly. It kind of met those two qualifications. Yeah, it’s a summer anthem, but it also was just a good introduction to the next chapter of what we wanna do.
"Rival" was definitely a song that Jay, early on, attached to. I sent [him] a voice memo, just playing it on acoustic guitar. It definitely has the "Jay attitude" written all over it. I kind of knew that he’d be all over that song.
Same thing with Jay: With any song, when you get in there, there is an aspect of your first instinct, but it really is this process of, "Okay, what is this song saying, and what’s the attitude we can give it?" Music speaks as much as lyrics speak. What’s the music behind the lyric that will really give it this attitude that it’s trying to convey?
It’s one of those songs that it feels like kind of a no-brainer when you get into the studio, but to actually make that come to life and to bring this big, kind of anthemic thing that people can rally around -- this idea of you rumble, you roar -- there’s a lot of statements, you know? If you don’t like it, you can shut your mouth. There’s all these moments where it’s, "All right, this has to be believable." You really -- you gotta believe it, and the music has to sound believable behind it.
I don’t know, it was a fun song to do with Jay. It was a pretty natural song, honestly. We got it done. It wasn’t one that we had to linger on for too long. We kind of got in there and rocked out.
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