Mitchell Tenpenny was listening to Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” on his way to a writing session when he was inspired to write his latest single, “Bigger Mistakes.”

The empowering song describes how a breakup didn’t consume his life like his ex assumed it would, but that he had made much bigger mistakes in life that he’d regretted besides the end of this relationship.

“Bigger Mistakes” Was Inspired By Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain”

Hearing Simon’s classic hit brought back memories of listening to it with his mom when he was growing up.

“She just loved that song. Maybe she had a story with it back in the day, who knows? But she would always sing that song, so that would always be stuck in my head,” Tenpenny told Music Mayhem. “I haven’t heard a song like that in a while. So when I was on the way to that writing [session] and I heard it, it just kind of popped in my head that, hey, what if we wrote a song talking about when you break up with somebody that says, ‘Oh, well, you’ll never forget me. You’re going to be thinking about me all the time.’ And you’re like, nah, that’s not the case, I’m going to move on.” Tenpenny hopes the song helps people get over relationships quicker, knowing someone else has been through it.  “And if you can admit to yourself that you’ve got other things in your life that are more important to worry about than one that didn’t work out.”

Written by Tenpenny along with Chris DeStefano, Josh Kear, and Michael Witworth, the first verse of the ultimately optimistic breakup song is a true-to-life look back at some of Tenpenny’s own mistakes and regrets. “I sold my first guitar ’cause / I needed some gas money / I wrecked that truck on 65 / My friend Joe Diffie gave me / A bottle of whiskey, wish we / Drank it together before he died,” Tenpenny sings.

Tenpenny tweaked the first line from his autobiographical experience, where he had to sell his drum kit instead of a guitar. “I was a drum kid, but guitar just felt better to sing,” he shared.

Mitchell Tenpenny; Photo Courtesy of Matthew Berinato
Mitchell Tenpenny; Photo Courtesy of Matthew Berinato

Missed Moment With Joe Diffie

And the story about Joe Diffie was a page straight from Tenpenny’s life.

“When we were just kind of starting out, we had a show in Alabama with him where I kind of got to know him. It was my first real experience getting to know him and talk to him. The sound that night, the speakers, everything in the place, everything went wrong. And he felt so bad. And after the show, he came up to me and he gave me this bottle of whiskey, and we talked and we just kept up ever since then. But I never got to drink it with him,” Tenpenny mournfully recalls.

He continues, “He was so nice and so kind, just going out of his way to make us, we were absolutely nothing, no reason to even care, just make us feel special. And I’ll never forget that.” When Tenpenny was thinking of his own bigger mistakes in life, that memory came to mind. “We’ve lost him and what a great artist he was. I just started thinking about those little things, those things in life that I wish I would’ve done or been able to do.”

Mitchell Tenpenny; Photo Courtesy of Getty Images for ACM
Mitchell Tenpenny; Photo Courtesy of Getty Images for ACM

The Song Includes Several Of Tenpenny’s Regrets And Mistakes

While writing the song, Tenpenny had compiled a list of other regrets and mistakes to possibly include, but he wanted the song to be as uplifting as possible.

“I can go back in my phone right now and look at all the ones we didn’t put in it, but there’s a lot of stuff here. I’ve lost my uncle, I’ve lost my dad. There’s a lot of people in life that have moved on to whatever’s next. And I wish I would’ve had more time with them, spoken more,” says Tenpenny.

Tenpenny adds, “I think I didn’t want to get too serious with the song and start talking about stuff like that. I wanted to be kind of uplifting and kind of easy feeling. There are definitely a lot of things in life when friends pass or family pass, you wish you could’ve said that you didn’t. And I don’t know necessarily if that’s a mistake, but when you think about it in the grand scheme of everything, it’s stuff that means a little bit more than a breakup that didn’t mean anything to you.”

Mitchell Tenpenny "Bigger Mistakes" Single Art
Mitchell Tenpenny “Bigger Mistakes” Single Art

“Bigger Mistakes” Music Video Scenes Reminiscent Of The Hangover Film

The “Drunk Me” singer took that laid-back feeling to the video for “Bigger Mistakes” as well, filming scenes in Las Vegas that are reminiscent of The Hangover.

“It was a lot of fun. I brought my guitar player and we just had fun. We act like kids and shot a lot of stuff,” said Tenpenny, teasing that more content is on the way.

He admits that Vegas can bring regrets when it comes to gambling. “Oh, man. Betting, gambling. Jeez, I’m terrible. I never win there. I never win there, ever. I’ve been able to win at other casinos across the country. I cannot win in Vegas. Luckily, I don’t have a gambling problem, so I’ve never bet anything too crazy, but I just never win!”

Wore Outfit Similar To Ken’s From Barbie Movie

If Tenpenny’s Western fringe ensemble looks familiar, fans who have seen the Barbie movie may recognize it from Ken’s wardrobe.

“I did not know that the fringe thing I was wearing was the Barbie one. I had no clue when our stylist picked it out, I was just like, that’s cool. It’s Western. And then they started making a bunch of edits and stuff. Then I saw, oh, it’s the exact one that Ken wore in the movie,” he laughed. “Me and my wife and my wife are planning to see it the second we get a chance to do it together.”

The Song Will Be Part Of A Bigger Project

“Bigger Mistakes” is part of a new collection of songs that Tenpenny is recording for an upcoming project, which he says span a wide variety of themes.

“We’ve already done nine songs and I feel like they’re just all so different. I think a lot about breakups. I know I do, but that’s what works for us and that’s what people keep wanting from us and asking. So we have those. But I think I have one love song on this record,” he shares. Tenpenny’s life experiences have led to more diverse topics in his music.

“I think I’ve just lived a lot more life, and I’ve been married almost a year now, coming up on that. And it’s just what I think about more now. I think about future [and] I think about life [and] I think about what you love, but I’m always going to give pieces of what I love to do too. Sometimes I like to reminisce [and] I like to be nostalgic and I like to talk about stuff makes people feel, which a lot of breakups do. But I think this record, as far as I can tell and what I’m seeing already, I’m just going back to really catchy grooves and vibes and lyrics that just tell a story about life more than just talking about the breaking up with somebody and the pain that comes with that.”

Follows Latest Album, This Is The Heavy

His upcoming album comes after the launch of his most recent project, titled This Is The Heavy, which gave rise to the platinum-certified hit “Truth About You.”

Notably, this track achieved a significant feat in chart history by reaching No. 1 in a mere three weeks, marking the shortest span between consecutive chart-toppers since 1982. This achievement followed his previous chart-topping success, “At The End Of A Bar,” a collaboration with Chris Young.

On The Highway Desperado Tour With Jason Aldean

This summer, Tenpenny is serving as support on a major tour for the first time ever, opening for Jason Aldean on the Highway Desperado Tour. The 41-city trek will make stops across the U.S. in Atlanta, Charlotte, Phoenix and more before wrapping up in Tampa at MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre on October 28.

“Jason’s been nothing but amazing to us and very catering. Great advice, and just taking care of our team, and that’s all you can ask for on this stuff. So we’re just trying to make one fan at a time, go out there and play our music and just appreciate the opportunity to do it at that level,” Tenpenny shared.

Tenpenny is soaking up the experience and learning from the veteran entertainer.

“It’s the same thing I kind of took from Luke Bryan last year and their camp, just how have you been doing this for 20 plus years and seeing the crew he builds and the people that go with him. That’s what I want. I love that. And I think that’s amazing. You have people that want to go with you that long [and] that means you take care of ’em. You take care of your people, your crew.”

“It’s Hard To Be On The Road”

Mitchell Tenpenny recognizes the sacrifices that everyone on the road makes in order to support an artist’s career.

“It’s hard to be on the road. Everyone’s got to miss bachelor parties and bachelorette parties and birthdays and stuff to be out there to support your dreams as an artist. So it’s very hard to keep people on the same page to do that. And so I’m trying to learn that. And he is just like him and they’ve done it for so long and they treat everyone great. They treat everyone right the way you’re supposed to, and they know everyone. They take time out of their day to make sure everyone feels important, and they are. I think that’s a massive lesson, and it’s really cool to see how a finely tuned engine runs, especially something that big. Setting up a brand-new stage every night and tearing it down. It’s pretty fascinating.”

Additionally, the multi-faceted entertainer will also perform at several upcoming festivals, including Tidalwave Music Festival 2023, Lake County Fair & Roundup, and more.

For a full list of Mitchell Tenpenny’s upcoming tour dates, visit his official website HERE.

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Nicole Palsa is a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Since 2012, she has written about the newcomers, superstars, and legends of country music for publications including Music Mayhem, Country Now, and Country Music Tattle Tale. Nicole has served as a volunteer guide with Musicians On Call since 2016 and is a Troubadour member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications and her Bachelor of Arts degree in French. In addition to being a devoted country music fan, Nicole is a family historian and genealogist who can often be found in stacks of research. She is also an avid traveler with a passion for wildlife and nature photography.

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