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Joe Nichols Takes ‘Sunny and 75′ to No. 1

"The music itself brings out emotions, not just the lyrics or how you deliver them."
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Joe Nichols

Joe Nichols (Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Country Thunder)

This week, country artist Joe Nichols is back on the top, thanks to his single “Sunny and 75,” which reached No. 1 on both the Mediabase and Billboard country singles charts for radio airplay.

Written by Michael Dulaney, Jason Sellers and Paul Jenkins, “Sunny” is the lead single from Nichols’ brand-new album Crickets. The song represents a new direction for Nichols, who in the past has leaned reliably in the direction of traditional country, thanks to songs like “I’ll Wait for You,” “She Only Smokes When She Drinks” and “Brokenheartsville.” With “Sunny,” though — and with Crickets as a whole — Nichols deliberately chose to take a fresh approach to his sound and his songs, one that fit where he is both personally and professionally these days.

“All these things are happening in my life that are going really great,’” Nichols told Radio.com. “So we wanted songs that reflected that.”

Related: Joe Nichols Aimed for a Positive, Upbeat Attitude on Crickets

“The energy is the first thing that struck me about ‘Sunny and 75,’” Nichols told Radio.com. “The song slowly builds into this screaming, almost like a Journey ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ kind of tempo. So that to me is important, because the music itself brings out emotions, not just the lyrics or how you deliver them. The music builds, and it takes you on a journey. You feel like you’re slowly and steadily moving out to the beach, and all the sudden you’re sprinting.”

“Sunny” is “a couple steps away from from anything I’ve done,” in terms of production and vocals, said Nichols. “I’ve always been more of a traditional guy, but with this album we wanted to go different, we wanted to go bigger. We wanted to keep that traditional integrity, but bring it into 2013, make it a brand new sound” — to take what he calls his “traditional core” and then “expand it.” And that, he says, is exactly what “Sunny and 75″ accomplishes.

The song is a “new direction” for him, which in itself is an accomplishment, but as Nichols explained to Radio.com during a second interview this fall, “to have everybody be supportive of that” is “another big deal. A lot of people could have said, ‘This is nothing like your old stuff so I’m not going to play it.’ But it’s been the exact opposite. People have said, ‘I love this new direction, it’s so fresh.’”

And on top of that, he said, the success of “Sunny” is “a good setup for what we’ve got coming up. We’ve got a song called ‘Yeah’ that will be our next single. I think it’s going to be a special song for us.”

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