Since arriving on the scene in 2014, Sam Hunt has catapulted straight to the top of the Music City A-list: His debut LP, Montevallo, notched four No. 1 country singles, and “Body Like A Back Road,” the first cut off his anticipated second record, has both scaled the country charts and cracked the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Now, after a few years opening for the likes of Kenny Chesney and Lady Antebellum, the 32-year-old launches his first summer headlining tour this month. The 15 in a 30 Tour kicks off Thursday, June 15 in Toronto, Canada and stretches until the end of September.
“I’m really excited,” he tells EW on a phone call before heading into rehearsals. “I’ve recently gotten married so I’ve been on a honeymoon the past couple weeks, but we know what songs we’re going to play, we have those down pat. We’re working on video content and some other elements.”
Below, the burgeoning superstar talks about what’s in store for his summer trek and how that second album is coming along.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: “Body Like A Back Road” is your first new song since Montevallo. How excited are you to play it live?
SAM HUNT: Really excited. It’s one of those songs that have all of the ingredients that make for a good live experience. We have a few, but we don’t have many of those songs, so it will be nice to add another one to the mix. Anytime you have a song that inspires the kind of feeling that that song inspires, it feels good to play live. I’m really looking forward to that one.
You’ve opened for Kenny Chesney and Lady Antebellum, but this is your first summer headlining. How are you approaching that shift?
Fortunately, working with those other artists, they’ve been great because they’ve given me creative freedom in [my] time slot, which has been awesome. But being the headliner, we have even more creative freedom — and we also understand the value of giving that creative freedom to the people out with us. So that’s what I’ll be doing with the opening acts; I think it will create some diversity within the show itself from top to bottom.
Your openers this summer are Maren Morris and Chris Janson. Those are two artists who can sell quite a few tickets all on their own.
They could be doing their own thing but they’ve chosen to go out with us. I’m appreciative of that. In country, we like to do things as a family. There’s not near the sense of competition that I’ve sensed between artists in other genres of music. That’s one of the values in country music that keeps me so rooted in it. It’s more fun to go out with your peers and play for fans that are fans of the genre first. That helps create that family atmosphere for the fans as much as it does for the artists.
You’re working on your second album. Are you planning on playing more new music along this run?
Well, the tour itself is going to coincide with the process of writing those songs. So if a song comes out, [or] if I write a song or songs these next few months that I feel like I need to play or would like to try out live, then we’ll work those up. At the beginning of the tour, with the set list that we’re working on right now, there aren’t any specific songs on the set list that I plan on putting on a future record, but that could change as the summer goes along.
The 15 In A 30 Tour dates are available on Hunt’s website. Hunt will also play CMA Music Fest this weekend in Nashville as well as New York’s Taste of Country Music Festival. For more details on this summer’s hottest tours, head here.