Laine Hardy, the raspy-voiced country singer who won “American Idol” in 2019, is back in the saddle again. The 22-year-old’s diehard fans are over the moon that he’s subtly shared he’s recording new music with amazing collaborators after a year full of ups and downs. Here’s the latest on the Louisiana native.
Hardy’s Slowly Stepping Back Into the Spotlight After Wild Year
It’s been a little over a year since Hardy released his debut album, “Here’s To Anyone,” with Buena Vista Records, co-writing two of the 11 tracks. His record label kept him busy leading up to the album release, including achieving the dream of appearing at The Grand Old Opry in August 2021, and lots of TV appearances. He even performed his single “Memorize You” on “The Bachelorette” and during the 2022 Rose Bowl Parade.
Eager to keep building momentum for the album, he partnered with his friend and fellow season 17 alum Laci Kaye Booth to record a performance in April 2022 for the 20th anniversary “American Idol” reunion show. But by the time the special aired in early May, the media buzz about Hardy was for very a different reason.
On April 29, Hardy was arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after “a woman and her roommate found a recording device inside their dorm room” at Louisiana State University, according to USA Today. The outlet reported he was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison for “interception and disclosure of wire, electronic or oral communication” and released without bail.
News of Hardy’s arrest spread like wildfire and the singer pulled back from appearances, including canceling his concert at Mississippi’s Mudbug Fest, and stayed off social media for three months. Other than issuing a statement at the time of his arrest, he has not commented on the situation since.
Over the summer, he played some small festivals and clubs, like a free concert in Park City, Utah, and then reappeared on social media in late July, surprising many fans with a new look: longer hair and a scruffy beard replacing his usually clean-shaven face and slicked-back hair, which often prompted comparisons to Elvis during his journey on “Idol.”
He has occasionally posted new videos of himself singing acoustic versions of his tunes or covers. His latest video, posted on October 5, is a throwback to one of his “American Idol” performances, when he covered Joe Cocker’s “I Don’t Need No Doctor.” It remains a favorite tune of Hardy’s, as he’s been filmed performing it at multiple gigs since.
But what fans really want is to hear new music and to see Hardy hit the road on a concert tour. It’s beginning to look like he’s inching closer to making that a reality again.
Fans Thrilled to See Hardy Recording New Music With Star Songwriters
Many fans have been concerned that Hardy lost his recording deal with Disney-owned Hollywood Records; he is no longer listed as an artist on their site, his last appearance on their Facebook page was two weeks before his arrest, and the label has been notorious for dropping “Idol” artists after a couple of years.
The fate of his record deal has not been confirmed, but it appears he is still represented by Fusion Music and Red Light Management, which manages the careers of major country artists like Martina McBride and Riley Green, whom he opened for at a concert in August.
There have also been signs he’s working on new music in Nashville. On August 18, award-winning songwriter Peter Daniel Newman posted a photo of himself with Hardy in a recording studio and wrote, “Killer tune with @thelainehardy!”
Then on September 30, Hardy shared a photo on his Instagram Stories that showed him in a sound booth with headphones on, singing into a microphone. The photo was originally taken by powerhouse songwriter Kylie Sackley, whose songs have been recorded by major country artists including Keith Urban, Alan Jackson, Faith Hill, and Walker Hayes. Hardy also tagged successful country songwriter/producer Grant Vogel, who could be seen with headphones on in this photo.
Fans have been flooding Hardy’s periodic posts to let him know how much they’ve missed him and want to hear new music.
On Instagram, one person wrote that the thousands of likes on his throwback song indicated “that we are starving for more from you! Love it when you grace us with these gifts of your voice and guitar picking talent!”
On the same video on TikTok, someone wrote, “I feel your energy Laine you know how to bring it and we need you.”
Many fans also commented on Newman’s post. Someone wrote, “Laine is best new artist in years.. hope the song is as good as he is!! Time for this bayou boy to shine!!”
Another woman commented, “Laine Hardy Is Definitely a Rising Star; and We Are Very Glad To See Him Working With Such a Talented Songwriter As You Mr. Newman! ~~ Laine Just Has It All….That Fantastic Voice, Awesome Guitar Skills, Amazing SongWriter, and Great Stage Presence! ~~ The Fans Can’t Wait To Hear What You Two Have Written Together!”