“Some people don’t know when to quit and that’s why they quit / Some need to hit the bottom to see they got a problem, they can’t handle it / But that ain’t why I started cleaning up my life / Wish it was but, ooh, that would be a lie,” Tennpenny sings during the the first verse of “Drunk Me,” his debut single. It was his idea to write this song, as he’d recently experienced something similar. His co-writers (Jordan Schmidt and Justin Wilson) were stumped for a hook that tied the lyrics together before Schmidt stood up to take a break.
“He went to the restroom, came back and he goes, ‘I got it. Drunk me,’” Tenpenny recalls, laughing. “And there was just something about that title that made sense for the whole thing.”
“I’ve been sober ‘cause there ain’t no hangover like you girl, no, no, no / Baby can you come over, I always find those words at the bottom of a hundred proof, yeah / Girl, every time you do / I just end up head all messed up like the sheets where we made love / I’ve been sober since you broke my heart in two / ‘Cause drunk me can’t get over you.”
“Drunk Me” came within two hours, and the group cut the demo that day. Wilson sang on it and Tenpenny admits he wasn’t sure he could top his friend’s performance. The seasoned newcomer appreciates the song’s structure and that it has what he calls “replay value,” meaning a moment you’re waiting for every time it starts to play on the radio. He also appreciates that fans are applying the song to their own personal stories. The Tennessee native has received many messages on social media from individuals his “Drunk Me” lyrics have touched.
“We had one and it scared me,” he says. “(A guy) was thinking about committing suicide and I didn’t know what to do with that.” There was a happy ending, however — Tenpenny kept in touch with the guy until he knew his well-being was assured.
“That’s everything,” he admits. “That’s exactly why we do this. It made me cry.”