"Do the Lee thing!": How Carly Pearce, Luke Combs, and Lee Brice created a hit duet

John ShearerAfter Luke Combs co-wrote "I Hope You're Happy Now" with Carly Pearce, it only made sense that he sing the male part on the demo. But when it came time to release it as a single, Carly needed to find another male singer to lay down the vocal. 

Enter Lee Brice, who loved the song and quickly recorded it, even though he was on the road at the time.

"I was like, 'I hope it turns out good enough,'" Lee recalls. "And so I sent her one version of it and she basically was like, 'I love how it sounds. I think it's gonna be great. But I just miss a little bit of YOU in it.'"

"And I was hearing Luke and Luke killed it," Lee explains, "but I was kind of channeling what he was doing, because I didn't know exactly what they wanted. So I just did it."

"And then when she said that," he adds, "I was like, 'Well, okay, I'll just go back and sing the parts the way they are, except just be me and not try to channel Luke as much.' And that's all it really took, I guess."

Carly was looking for more of the signature stylings that have brought Lee hits like "I Drive Your Truck" and "I Don't Dance."

"I said, Do the Lee thing!'" Carly remembers, as Lee laughs. "We all know what the Lee thing is, and it was perfect."

"But yeah," she adds. "Think about that. He recorded his parts on his tour bus. Hello!"

Carly considers Lee's vocal so perfect, in fact, she says we likely won't ever hear the original version with Luke. Right now, "I Hope You're Happy Now" is on track to top the charts, just a few weeks after Luke's "Does to Me."

By Stephen Hubbard
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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