Mitchell Tenpenny Draws Inspiration From Iconic Carly Simon Hit For His New Smash, ‘Bigger Mistakes’
Tenpenny sat down with Country Now to chat about the just-released song, new music, married life, and more.
Mitchell Tenpenny; Photo by Zach Pigg
Mitchell Tenpenny has added to his catalog of breakup anthems with his brand-new release, “Bigger Mistakes.”
Available July 28, the upbeat tune drives with a compelling post-breakup mentality as the country singer/songwriter makes it clear that he won’t be sitting around sulking over the thoughts of his ex. When it comes down to it, he realizes he’s made “Bigger Mistakes” in life that hold greater value than this failed relationship, such as selling his first guitar to make some fast gas money and missing the opportunity to share a bottle of whiskey with the late country singer, Joe Diffie.
The hitmaker’s confidence explodes throughout the country-pop track that’s infused with his vibrant vocals and magnetic, boot-stomping beats.
“Crazy how you always think the whole world spins around you / That I can’t live without you / That every song’s about you,” he sings before further stressing his point in the heart-pounding chorus. “I’ve had so much more to lose / Hate to say it, baby, but you’re old news / I don’t even think about you when I’ve had a few / So get over yourself / I’ve made bigger mistakes than you.”
Tenpenny penned “Bigger Mistakes” with Chris DeStefano, Josh Kear, and Michael Whitworth and drew inspiration from the message Carly Simon portrays in her popular tune, “You’re So Vain.”
“I always love that song that,” he shared with Country Now. “My mom used to always, in the car, when that song would come on the radio, she would always sing that louder. Maybe she has a story that she’d never told us growing up, but she always would sing that song loud. I just thought that was a great concept of after a breakup, people thinking that you’re gonna think about ’em all the time and it’s like, you don’t get that part of me.”
He continued, “I always love that concept and going into the room that day, I kinda used that as inspiration for writing a song about, you know, you’ve done other things in life that…have a bigger impact on your life than this person was and not giving them the satisfaction of them thinking that you’re thinking about ’em all the time.”
Happily In Love
Mitchell Tenpenny may be known for writing breakup songs that continuously prove to be an earworm for fans, however, despite the aching storylines, the country star is happily in love with his wife, Meghan Patrick. Even though he might not be relating to every lyric, writing these songs still evokes a strong passion for him as an artist.
“I just love things that evoke an emotion, something that’s real and it’s something that people, you can see it when they’re singing it, that they’ve been there before, something that they’ve lived through. I love writing songs that people can relate to and a lot of times, it’s breakups. Everyone can relate to breakups. The breakups seem to be the thing that brings people back to a specific moment pretty quickly.”
Tenpenny and Patrick are approaching their one-year wedding anniversary as they tied the knot on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022. Since they are both heavily involved in the music industry with their solo careers, Tenpenny admits finding the time to spend together is one of the most important efforts that keep their relationship strong.
“We’re gone all the time and when we get the time together, the biggest lesson is finding good quality ways to spend it with the little time we get,” he said honestly. “And it’s been amazing. She’s incredible. I’m so lucky, and I don’t say this cliche-wise, I have a wife that understands what it takes in this industry to be going all the time ‘cause she is too.”
“We both fell in love with music first. We both love each other more, no doubt, but that was our first love and we both wanna see each other succeed in that,” Tenpenny continued. “So neither one makes the other feel guilty when we’re gone. We’ve just learned to take full advantage of the time we get, and that’s been the biggest lesson we’ve definitely learned this first year.”
This is the Heavy
Another important anniversary that’s approaching for Tenpenny is the one-year mark for his latest album, This is the Heavy. Among 20 tracks, this project spawned the platinum-selling No. 1 hit “Truth About You,” a song that made chart history with the shortest span between No. 1 songs since 1982 with just three weeks since his previous chart-topper, “At The End Of A Bar” with Chris Young.
Tenpenny got the unique opportunity to record the album without his label getting to hear the songs he chose for the track list. This proved a whole new level of trust between the country star and his team members.
“Yeah, that one was definitely my favorite. It was just really cool and I’m just so grateful to my labels for letting me do that project. They literally didn’t hear the songs or anything until it was done. Having that faith and that trust, I do not take that for granted,” Tenpenny explained. “I’m just so glad I got the opportunity to do that once in my career. Just make something where no one heard it It’s such a unique thing. It was so much fun.”
Personal and Professional Goals
In terms of new music, the “Drunk Me” singer teased that there are some things in the works, however, he’s unsure of when the next set of tunes will be unveiled.
“We’ve already cut eight or nine songs and I’m going in today to do a few more. I mean, we’re just cutting songs, we’re cutting lots of them. We’re gonna continue to release music. I’m not sure exactly if it’s gonna be an album form next or just what it’s gonna look like, but we’re gonna have music ready to go and in the chamber for sure.”
He went on to share that his next record will likely include more breakup tracks, but fans can also expect tunes that go beyond just the bounds of exes and past relationships and touch on the different layers of heartache that so many people experience throughout life.
“I’m trying to give everybody something to lean on,” the singer/songwriter explained.
In terms of personal goals, Tenpenny opened up about wanting to start a family with his wife in the near future.
“We’d love to love to start seeing some kids in the future. That’d be amazing, Lord willing. That’d be something that would be absolutely mind-blowing for us, it’s something that we’ve talked and want. So a family for sure, personally.”
Highway Desperado Tour
“Bigger Mistakes” landed just in time for the summer touring season. Mitchell Tenpenny is currently traveling on the road and playing in support of Jason Aldean’s Highway Desperado Tour. Since the trek kicked off July 14, just before Tenpenny’s latest release, he revealed that the song has already been added into his setlist.
“We play it second, try to get some energy going pretty early in the set. The crazy thing is seeing a few people singing it already. It’s not out, just from like the clips we posted on TikTok and Instagram and stuff, which is nuts to me, but that’s the greatest feeling in the world. It’s pretty cool. And yeah, it’s a fun one to play. It’s up-tempo and I love the guitar parts on it, so I look forward to playing it each night.”
The 39-city headlining tour continues with stops in across the U.S. in Atlanta, Charlotte, Phoenix and more. The upcoming trek will come to a close in Tampa at MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre on October 28.
Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.