Tucker Beathard’s life has changed dramatically since November of 2018, when he put out Nobody’s Everything, the first half of his debut double album.
Since then, he’s gone from being an independent artist to signing to a major label, Warner Music Nashville. He lost his younger brother, Clayton, to a tragic stabbing incident outside a bar in downtown Nashville. He revealed that he’s a father to a now-2-year-old daughter named Sage. Oh yeah — and a global pandemic broke out.
But with the release of King, the promised second chapter of his story, Beathard proves that things haven’t changed all that much when it comes to his artistic identity.
The bulk of the songs on the new album were actually recorded around the same time he was making Nobody’s Everything, in the same space and with the same core group of teammates.
“Just me and two other guys that put our hearts and souls into this project,” Beathard explains to Country Now. “You’re never gonna miss out on the authenticity and rawness of anything I do, especially when it comes to this project.”
That goes for signing his label deal, too: “Before I signed another deal, I told them that I wasn’t gonna just sign a deal to sign,” he continues. “I wanted to make sure that they knew what they were gonna get with me and that I could have the kind of freedom to create the project I wanted.”
Some of King’s tracks are older, like “Faithful,” which Beathard had already shared ahead of album release day. Fans had been clamoring for a studio version of that song ever since he first started sharing stripped-down, live performances of it in 2015. The fans had been waiting for years to hear that song on an album, and so had Beathard.
But he made four new additions to King after compiling the material he’d recorded back when he was making Nobody’s Everything. Two of those songs, “One Upper” and “You Would Think,” entered the track list in 2019. The other two — “Can’t Stay Here” and “I Ain’t Without You” — came in just under the wire: He wrote them early in 2020.
“‘Can’t Stay Here’ was one that, right after I wrote it, I was like, ‘Man, this is something I don’t have on this album,’” Beathard recalls. “And ‘I Ain’t Without You’ was super necessary because of the role it plays in telling such a significant chapter of my life. With my little brother passing away.”
Clayton is everywhere in this album, even amid the songs that were written and recorded long before he died. The project’s title, King, was borrowed from his middle name. And “I Ain’t Without You” is an essential piece of Beathard’s story. It shares his grief, and how he leaned on his faith to keep going without his younger brother.
“That song specifically is just a product of what I learned during that time. I didn’t really have to try that hard to write it because I was just translating what I was learning,” he muses. “In that moment, the whole idea was, ‘Man, there’s no way I’m strong enough to get through something like this.’
“And it’s true,” he continues. “At the end of the day, by myself, I am not strong enough to get through that. But I learned, to my surprise, that I just gave [in] and said, ‘Jesus, you’re gonna have to take control of the situation because I cannot do this by myself.’ And I mean it when I say that that’s exactly what happened. That’s where the whole thing came from: I’m strong enough to get through this, but I’m not without you.”
He wrote the song with his dad, acclaimed songwriter Casey Beathard. That’s the only person he could have written it with, Beathard insists.
“Because we were in the same boat. The same level of heartbreak. The same level of grief. Going through that situation together, and learning and realizing that truth,” he adds. “We poured it all out in that song.”
Songwriting is Beathard’s outlet for processing big events in his life, and he typically prefers to channel his emotions into songs rather than speak about them directly on social media. But earlier this year, he decided to share a big part of his life that he’d been keeping private: The fact that he has a two-year-old daughter.
“I just felt like sharing that piece of my story with people,” he shrugs, adding that parenthood has changed every aspect of his life — including who he is as a songwriter.
“It’s definitely changed who I am as a person, so I think that trickles into songwriting as well. It’s all connected,” he adds. “You know, the growth and maturity I’ve gained from it translates to songwriting, to a certain extent. There’s more to write about. And different things to write.”
With all the personal evolution that Beathard has undergone over the last couple of years, King was never going to be an exact Part 2 of Nobody’s Everything. But the singer’s core artistic identity remains the same.
“It was gonna be like a Part 2 thing, but then I added new songs, wrote new songs, and really had time to re-look at this project,” he adds. “And then it felt like a whole other book, you know? But sonically and production-wise, it’s definitely cohesive in that sense. I’ve just had a good amount of time to hone in on what I want this project to say.”