Lee Brice was already making his mark as a hit songwriter before he got his own record deal. The South Carolina native penned songs for several other artists, including Tim McGraw and Garth Brooks, who took Luke's tune, "More Than a Memory" to the top of the charts in 2007. While Lee has had his own No. 1 hits since then, he admits nothing will compare to knowing he is a part of Garth's legacy.

"I am honored to know that I'm a part of him at all," Lee told The Boot and other reporters at a recent media event. "Big-time honored, because I talk a lot about Garth. He was a big, big influence on my music in the beginning and still is."

Lee also rose to the top of the charts last year with "Crazy Girl," recorded by the Eli Young Band, although it was a song he had wanted to release himself. "I wasn't able to do that, so the next best thing is, Eli Young Band makes it a big old smash and changes my life. So, I'm appreciative of that, and now I still get to sing it. That's a big part of our show, actually. It gets a big reaction every night. I think people really connected with that song."

Lee hopes his influence on other artists, especially those just starting out, extends beyond his writing skills. "I like to hang out with those guys, not because I think I can teach them anything, I just think they're so talented," he explains. "I've been there, and I know that I'm getting older and getting to a point as a writer and as an artist to where they're the cool guys, and I want to hang out with the cool guys. If there's something I see [them] doing, I can say, 'Listen, son, don't go down that road. I've been there.'"

Lee has a handful of remaining tour stops in 2012 and heads out next year for a tour that remains top-secret. Follow his schedule here.

Watch Lee Brice's "Hard to Love" Video