Before Laine Hardy made a splash on Season 17 of American Idol – he was a small-town boy from Livingston, Louisiana, with big dreams of becoming a country music sensation. After scoring the champion title on the fan-favorite singing competition show, that fantasy quickly turned into a reality.
Ever since the life-changing moment, the budding artist showcased his romantic ballad “Memorize You” on ABC’s The Bachelorette, took on the legendary Grand Ole Opry stage, kicked off his first nationwide tour, and rubbed elbows with leading names in Nashville to carefully craft his debut record, Here’s To Anyone.
While the 21-year-old singer enjoys his rapid rise to fame, he remains true to himself and his craft. Fans recently got the taste of his authenticity in the 11-track collection that hit streaming platforms on September 17.
“I’m very excited to finally be able to release something like this album,” says Hardy in an exclusive Music Mayhem interview ahead of the release. “It’s just a goal I’ve always had, and I’m not going to stop at one album. I am going to keep on going as long as I can because this is what I love to do,” he adds about buckling down in the studio and following his passion.
The breakthrough star continued to reveal that the record produced by Michael Knox features a diverse array of relatable tracks that pairs well with any type of emotion. “These songs are all different in their own cool way,” shares the country newcomer. “I’m just very happy I got to work with Mr. Michael Knox with these songs, because I don’t know what I would have done without him.”
After building a reliable relationship with the state-of-the-art producer, who has worked closely with Jason Aldean for years – Hardy received an opportunity of a lifetime to have the award-winning ensemble backing his vocals. “A lot of the songs on the album are members of his band. It’s pretty cool meeting all of them and talking to them about all their equipment and instruments.”
When it came to putting pen to paper to generate the toe-tapping tunes that makeup, Here’s To Anyone – the young musician had the courage to call in Nashville’s elite to join him in the studio to co-write album cuts “One of Those” and “Other LA.” He also jumped on the chance to include “California Won’t,” which was penned by the late Mike Busbee, Andrew Dorff, and John Nite.
Hardy told Music Mayhem reporter Andrew Wendowski that he was unfamiliar with the world-renowned songwriters, when his favorite track “California Won’t” was brought to his attention back in 2019. “If you want me to be honest with you, I did not know who they were. Then, when they told me…they really filled me in because I was curious,” he shared about the unexpected track falling into his lap. “I did all my research, and I listened to a lot of their work. I was like, ‘this is crazy!’ I felt like I didn’t deserve that kind of opportunity to cut that song.”
After facing imposter syndrome, he recognized that “California Won’t” will go down in history. “I guess you could say it would be a timeless song because they are not here with us anymore. Jon Nite is, but that song is just really sentimental to a lot of people, and the lyrics are just genius,” he concluded.
When Hardy fans pop in their headphones and listen to his full-length record for the very first time, they might hear music elements outside the country space. While gathering the tracks to include on his debut LP, he pulled from genres that would complement his wide vocal range. “Growing up, I was influenced by classic rock and traditional country,” shares the star. “Nowadays, I listen to hip-hop, I listen to pop, I listen to rock, blues, everything! A lot of the influences reflect onto the songs that I release and that are on the album now.”
Here’s To Anyone proves that Hardy is a developing genre-transcending artist but also a risk-taker who is not afraid to return back to his roots or play with his sound to deliver an honest and relatable melody. However, it’s the support from his family and friends back in his small town of Louisiana that keeps him striving for greatness.
“I feel like what has got me this far is being who I am and staying true to what got me here in the first place. So, I think home has a big impact on that. Being able to be the ambassador of Louisiana and carrying it wherever I go, wherever I play – it’s just going to keep me even more grounded, including my family supporting me and all my friends too on the side,” says Hardy.
His heartwarming anthems are already inspiring music-goers, impacting the creative country circle, and resonating with other musicians trying to find their way in the competitive industry. In fact, American Idol contestant Caleb Kennedy recently shared that the lyrics from Hardy’s tribute track “Ground I Grew Up On” got him through the challenging journey on the show.
Hardy is currently keeping up the positive momentum and sharing his new music live and in-person on his Monster Energy Outbreak Tour alongside good friends Chris Bandi and Kylie Frey. The party-like concert runs until the end of November, and tickets are still available to purchase.