Laine Hardy just gave fans a taste of the new music he’s been working on in Nashville, unveiling a new song with deeply personal lyrics about working on becoming a “better man.” The song — titled “That Man” — delivers a poignant message as the “American Idol” winner slowly works his way back into the spotlight following his arrest nearly six months ago.
Laine Hardy Releases Meaningful New Music
On October 15, Hardy uploaded a nearly 90-second audio clip of his new song to Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. In the caption of the post, the 22-year-old country singer wrote, “i’ve been writing songs lately. here’s one i wrote with @kyliesackley & @grantvogel ‘That Man’. hope y’all like it! miss and love y’all, stay tuned.”
The song is the result of a Nashville songwriting session he hinted at in his Instagram Stories on September 30, when Hardy shared a photo of him in a sound booth with his headphones on, singing into a microphone. The photo was originally taken by songwriter Kylie Sackley, who has written songs for 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 the photo.
After Hardy shared the new song on Instagram, Sackley wrote in the comments, “We did good” with a smiley face and a raised-hands emoji.
Hardy replied to her, “I believe we did!”
In the song, Hardy sings of his desire to become a better man, with lyrics including:
I wanna say what I mean when I say it / I wanna shut up and listen /
I wanna wake up and be proud every day / of the way I’ve been living /
If I can, I wanna be that man.
The chorus then kicks in, with Hardy singing:
I ain’t there yet / I ain’t perfect / but I’m working on it/
I’m more wrong than right / most of the time / but hell, I’m just getting started /
Learnin’ on the fly / How to be a better guy / I’ll die tryin’ to wear those boots /
I wanna be that man, wanna be that man / For you
On YouTube, Hardy revealed he does plan to eventually release the song as a single when it’s fully ready. A fan channel that’s devoted to Hardy posted a video featuring the excerpt he shared, spliced together to make it sound like a full-length song.
Hardy commented on the post on October 16, writing, “cool how you stitched it together! once i release this y’all will have the second verse and the rest of the song!”
Laine Hardy’s Return to the Spotlight Includes Visit to ‘Idol’ Set
After releasing his debut album, “Here’s To Anyone,” with Buena Vista Records in 2021, Hardy’s career seemed to be taking off quickly, from performing on TV shows to appearing at The Grand Old Opry in August 2021. He also partnered with his friend and fellow season 17 alum Laci Kaye Booth to perform a duet in April 2022 for the 20th anniversary “American Idol” reunion show.
However, the performance was overshadowed by news that Hardy had been arrested on April 29 by Louisiana State University Police. The arrest occurred after two female students — one of which was widely reported to be Hardy’s ex-girlfriend — found an audio recording device inside their dorm room, 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. In a statement, he said he was fully cooperating with police on their investigation.
As news of Hardy’s arrest spread, the singer pulled back from most appearances and didn’t post on social media for three months. He has not publicly commented on the situation since.
It’s not known where the case stands six months later, but Hardy has slowly begun to post more videos of acoustic songs he’s been working on, play at small festivals and clubs, and attend songwriting sessions in Nashville, hoping to reignite the momentum that he’d been building around his career.
On October 10, the Louisiana native even reunited with members of his “Idol” family who were in New Orleans as the judges filmed auditions for season 21 of the show. Hardy shared a photo originally posted by “American Idol” producer Anhie Nguyen in his Instagram Stories, which showed him, his mom Cindy Hardy, and Nguyen with the “Idol” logo lit up behind them. One of his fan groups, reposted it, too.
On Nguyen’s photo, she wrote, “two celebrities came to visit us today!” and on Hardy’s Story, he wrote, “Thank y’all for having me” with two smiling emojis.
On October 18, Hardy uploaded the chorus of another new song to his Instagram Stories, along with a photo of a baby — presumably him — in diapers. The words of the song are:
I’m just out here singing all these songs about you
Your memory is a melody I hold onto
Don’t give up yet
I’ll make it worth it
But for now it’s just these six strings telling truths,
Singing songs about you
As the song played, Hardy wrote a message to fans over the photo that read, “can’t wait to release some of these for y’all one day…thank you for being patient…going to post something in a few days!”