The music industry is ever changing, and the willingness of an artist to keep their finger of the pulse of the industry and its changes is essential to their success.
2021 was admittedly a year of indecisiveness for Hunter Thomas Mounce, as he pondered the best way to go about releasing the full album’s worth of songs he had in his back pocket. His decision came in early 2022: releasing a single per month for the rest of the year and keeping his fans engaged for the duration of the year. With that strategy, he’s found a newfound excitement of having new music to offer and promote each month, starting with a full-band recording of his last single, “Mossy Oak Break-Up.”
We caught up with Mounce to talk all about his new single, his release strategy, what listeners can expect from his upcoming releases and more!
Pro Country: The last time we talked, you mentioned that 2021 was a pivotal year for you, and one where you chose to face your fears and take 100% responsibility for your music. Can you expand on that a bit and why it was so important for you heading into a new year with new music?
Hunter Thomas Mounce: 2021 was supposed to be a year of commitment, but it ended up being a year of indecisiveness on my end. Part of taking 100% responsibility for my music is admitting that. I went back and forth on whether or not I wanted to release an entire album, or release each song as a single to give each song a chance to shine. Unfortunately, that decision didn’t come to me until about March of this year. A plan was drawn up, a team was built, and we are on our way to fulfilling the promise of a full year of music!
PC: You mentioned on social media that you have your entire second album recorded and that you’ll be releasing one single per month from it for the rest of the year. Can you talk about that release strategy and why you felt it was best for you?
HTM: I was in Chicago in March playing a show with some friends. I had a conversation with my friend, Matt Jordan, who is also a country artist. I was kind of venting to him about how torn I was on my release strategy for music. “Matt, should I release a full album or singles?” When I asked his advice, he said “Hunter, I’m the same as you. I want to release albums because that’s what I’ve seen all the greats do. That’s what I love. But I also realize that I don’t have the kind of fan base that those kinds of artists do, so I am choosing to put my pride aside in effort to have the best chance to succeed. The single releases have been going great for me!” When he said that, it really made me aware that I too had been putting my pride first. I thought to myself, “Worst case scenario, you try something a little different this time, and it doesn’t work the way you think it will.” Well, that has been the music industry in a nut-shell, so I figured I’d give the new strategy a try! To my surprise, I’ve been really enjoying the whole process. It makes you get creative when you realize you are going to have to promote yourself year-round!
PC: The last time we talked, you also mentioned you learned what not to do when releasing an album from your debut album, Folks Like Me and You. What were you able to take away from that and use as a learning experience this time around?
HTM: Releasing my debut album was a huge learning experience. Biggest lesson? Plan! You absolutely have to plan things out in advance. I had that huge adrenaline rush for about a week once I released my album, but then I was left asking myself ‘Now What?’ That’s a pretty helpless feeling when you consider all the time and money that goes into a full-length project. Somewhere in the ballpark of $30K and two years of commitment. I wanted to make sure I didn’t feel that way again, so releasing singles has been surprisingly refreshing. I feel like I’m not only keeping my fans more engaged, but myself included! I’ve never had more fun making music than I am right now.
PC: Why did you feel that a full-band recording of “Mossy Oak Break-Up” was the right song to lead off the releases from the album?
HTM: I chose to release “Reloaded” first because when I decided to release singles, I didn’t have my plan completely drawn out yet. I knew that folks loved the acoustic version, and I almost felt selfish that I had been sitting on the full-band version for so long. I thought to myself “Here’s something new and fresh, but also familiar.” I wanted to release music, while still figuring out the special things I can do for the songs that no one even knows I have.
PC: How much fun was it taking the acoustic version of “Mossy Oak Break-Up” and injecting new life into it with a full band?
HTM: It was super fun! Kenny Royster (Direct Image Studios) never ceases to amaze me. I love how we kept true to the acoustic version by keeping the signature acoustic guitar lick. But we also added some new flavors that likely came as a surprise! In short, you just never realize how great a song can potentially be until you take it to a true professional. Kenny and I are getting so locked in on the production side of things, I feel. I am 100% comfortable conveying my vision for a song, and he gets it. Every time.
PC: We’ve talked about the full slate of releases you have for the rest of the year. What information can you give about your new music? What can listeners expect to hear?
HTM: Variety and Originality. These songs don’t sound like anything else out there that you’ll hear. I will admit, they may not be the most commercial songs to ever hit the radio waves, but man, did we have fun writing these songs and recording them! I hope that they’ll keep you guessing.
PC: Along with your string of releases throughout the year, what are your plans for the rest of 2022?
HTM: It sounds funny, but I am really hoping to increase my online presence a bit more in 2022. I’ve never been like that in the past. Back to the pride thing: I’ve always let the internet really wear on me. I wasn’t using the internet, it was using me. I would spend hours watching other people’s content, but when it came to making my own, I would always second guess everything which led to zero productivity. I feel as though I’m getting past that mental block, and I’m having more fun creating “content” now than ever before.
PC: Is there anything you’d like to add?
HTM: I just want to thank Pro Country for continuing to inspire me. In 2022, I started a new Podcast called “Folks Like Us.” It was because of sites like Pro Country that I saw the value of talking to other musicians. Everyone has a unique story, and I’m thankful you’ve let me share mine here over the years. But hearing others talk about their struggles, their victories and everything in between is one of the many things that keeps me going! Thank you Justin. I look forward to the continued prosperity for the both of us!
*”Mossy Oak Break-Up (Reloaded)” is featured on The Best of Pro Country playlist!*