Jerrod Niemann is gearing up to release a new studio album later this year. His first project for Curb Records, Niemann tells Sounds Like Nashville he’s in a good place with the team he’s working with and admits that he’s been channeling the person he was when he first moved to Nashville. In an interview at his publicity firm, Sweet Talk, the “God Made A Woman” singer opens up about the sound he’s embracing and previews some of the songs on the project.
While his new album doesn’t have a release date yet, Niemann has already shared the lead single, “God Made A Woman,” with country fans. Written by Michael Ray, Joel Shewmake and Jeff Hyde, Niemann recalls first hearing the soaring ballad in a conference room and being stopped in his tracks. Several people were there from various publishing companies sharing music with him and the moment he heard “God Made A Woman” he immediately knew he wanted to record it.
“When I listen to music I like to be alone to give the song a respectful listen and I usually listen to songs several times,” Niemann explains. “This one, the first listen blew my mind and I was lucky enough to nab it and hold onto it. I played it for my wife and it meant just as much to her as it did to me. It has been a natural progression from hearing it, to recording it, to releasing it, to shooting the video. All of it involved both of us together so we made it our song.”
Niemann married his wife, Morgan, in 2014 and says that he related to every lyric within the song, especially the first verse which details a man who frequently spends his nights closing down the bar. “That 2 a.m. last call, man I’d answer,” he sings.
“I used to close down every bar and the last call I’d answer, rocking it out to the end of the night,” he recalls with a smile. “A lot of people take pride in that foolishly. I feel like every word was written the way it needed to be written.”
The video for “God Made A Woman” stars Niemann’s wife, who was also on hand in April when he surprised six couples at their weddings in Las Vegas to sing the song. Inspired by the day’s events, Niemann and Morgan also renewed their vows and were married by an Elvis Presley impersonator.
“He said, ‘Will you promise to always be hunka hunka burning in love and never treat him like a hound dog?’ It was very awesome,” he admits. “Hopefully that song will continue to find its way into weddings and stuff like that. We’ve been brainstorming to see if we can surprise some more couples throughout our country.”
Niemann is working with Jimmie Lee Sloas to co-produce his forthcoming album and says that each time he returns to the studio he’s constantly thinking of how he can make himself a better artist overall. Additionally, he always tries to do something different musically instead of following the trends at radio. He hopes this release will bring back an organic feel to the country genre, admitting that it’s one of the things he misses most when turning on today’s country radio.
“I can turn on an indie rock station and it sounds way more country because there’s mandolins, acoustics, they’re using lo-fi techniques to record and it has a vintage sound,” he explains.
This inspired Niemann to add more organic sounds to his own music and to use less instrumentation. He adds that there is a wide variety of sounds on the project and that the old cliché “silence speaks louder than words” is a good indication as to where the album is headed musically. This is evidenced on a song called “But I Do” where instead of using an electric guitar as the main instrument, he swapped the electric for an acoustic. By allowing the acoustic guitar to take the lead and the electric guitar to take a backseat, the organic sound draws the listener in.
“If you want something to really stand out you can put more organic things around it and some silence and let the song breathe,” he notes. “We dug deep on the production. You’d never really know unless you were listening on studio speakers or headphones. I would like it to be coined as a good headphones record.”
Niemann has enlisted many of his friends for the project, including country legends Diamond Rio for a traditional-leaning track he co-wrote called “I’m Here ‘Cause I Ain’t All There.”
“There are so many great songwriters here in Nashville that I haven’t been writing as much as normal [being] on the road. So [I] really lean on all the other people in town who create which is awesome because there are so many songs that you wish you had written and that’s when you know that you’ve nabbed something cool,” he shares.
One of those songwriters, Luke Dick (Eric Church’s “Kill A Word,” Miranda Lambert’s “Pink Sunglasses”), has three credits on the album including a song called “I Got This” which Niemann describes as a “rockin’, good summer song.” Niemann adds that this album has his favorite batch of songs and says the project is the first time he’s gotten to be himself in a long time.
“When someone first moves to town is probably when their best creativity happens [but] there’s this box you have to fit in commercially. You can’t write a 10-minute song and expect anybody to play it on the radio,” he explains. “That being said, I feel like for me, it’s changing now because I’m becoming more of the person I was when I moved to town and [am] not letting some of the influences get stuck in my head so I can make those albums that hopefully will make someone else want to move to town one day and pursue music. That’s all you can hope, is to leave something bigger than you for whenever you’re gone.”
Jerrod Niemann’s “God Made A Woman” is out now.