Red Light Management

Mitchell Tenpenny

Artist Bio

“I wanted to tell a bunch of different stories on this album, but they all had to be authentic and believable to me,” says Mitchell Tenpenny. “What I was feeling at the time, where I was in my head, what’s going on in the world, it all contributed to the end product. The songs that made it were the ones I was sure that I was passionate about getting on there—what I was proud of, what I really wanted to say.”

On the heels of his RIAA-certified Gold single, “Drunk Me,” comes Tenpenny’s major label debut album, Telling All My Secrets. Revealing a wide range of influences and a level of assurance and confidence that comes from already having years of songwriting and touring behind him, the record marks the arrival of an artist recently singled out by Billboard as a pick to “break out” by the end of 2018, and as one of Pandora’s Artists to Watch in 2019.

Of course, these predictions aren’t all that bold, since Tenpenny’s first single and No. 1 hit “Drunk Me” has earned more than 120 million on-demand streams and surpassed 500,000 certifiable units in the U.S. The New York Times named it one of the best songs of 2018, and the singer claims that he knew the song was special as soon as he recorded it.

“Everything about it—the production, the hook, the performance—it felt like how I wanted to present myself,” he says. “We dug into that song and made it real cinematic and unusual. On the first playback, it felt like something Whitney Houston might do, and I thought, ‘This is what we need to be doing, this feels right,’ and it became the foundation of the record.”

Not that you can ever anticipate the kind of explosive success that “Drunk Me” has had. “You never know what’s going to happen,” says Tenpenny, “but I was confident enough to be okay with it if it failed. I knew I gave it my best, gave it my all. That’s something I learned playing football—my coach used to say that you can’t be afraid to lose. So with this song, I could go in fearless.”

That sense of clarity is largely a result of the relationship that the Nashville native had with his grandmother, industry veteran and the first female CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Donna Hilley. “I was very lucky,” says Tenpenny. “I got to grow up in this business, see it—I saw how my grandmother treated writers, and how important it was to the town. It’s a small circle of friends in this industry, and she always treated people right.” (This attitude also presumably helped Tenpenny in the album’s collaborations with such stellar songwriters as Hillary Lindsey, Devin Dawson and Josh Hoge.)

Tenpenny first picked up a guitar at the age of 13, and after graduating with a music business degree from Middle Tennessee State University, he began his professional career. The 2015 Black Crow album featured cameos from the SteelDrivers, Ace Frehley and Brian “Head” Welch from Korn. In 2017, his Linden Ave. EP made it to No. 6 on the Billboard “Heatseekers” chart.

Concurrently, he was seeing success as a songwriter, most notably co-writing Granger Smith’s Top 10 hit “If the Boot Fits.” Along the way, he has toured with the likes of Maren Morris, Jake Owen, Brett Young, Cole Swindell, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Dustin Lynch.

Though most of the album was written since the completion of the Mitchell Tenpenny EP, a few of the songs go further back. “I wrote ‘Goner’ a long time ago,” he says. “That’s one of my favorites ever. I gave it my best John Mayer/Michael Jackson impression—not that I ever thought, ‘I want to sound like that,’ but I can hear my own experiences in there with a combination of the music I’ve grown up with.”

Tenpenny embraces the idea that he’s part of a new generation of country artists who grew up listening to a diverse range of styles. “I never gave much thought about which genre I am,” he says. “You can hear rock, pop, gospel, but the lyrics always stay true to what I am, to Nashville. It would be inauthentic for me to try to be Hank or Waylon or Willie—I want to transform and keep creating, I want to hear new, exciting things. We have to be able to change sounds or we’re going nowhere.”

The album’s final song, “Walk Like Him,” is the most personal track for Tenpenny. “It’s the first song I wrote about my dad after his passing, and it took a few years,” he says. “My family all say that I really do walk like him. I remember I was driving back from a show in the van, the band was all asleep in the back, and it just hit me and I broke down—I wrote that hook that night. I’ve been wanting to get it off my chest for years, and I wanted the album to end on that emotion. I think anyone who has lost someone can understand the feeling.”

The coming months will remain busy for Tenpenny. He just released “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” for the holidays, will headline his 12-date Telling All My Secrets Album Release Tour from December through February, and has already been tapped as the opener for Old Dominion’s Make It Sweet Tour in 2019.

The official line has been that Mitchell Tenpenny wrote 56 songs for the album that became Telling All My Secrets, his Riser House/Columbia Nashville debut, but he admits that it was really several hundred, and that he can feel the growth in his work as he gains more experience. “My writing is getting more mature, more honest,” he says. “When you’re younger, you’re afraid to sing a lot of things, but as you get older, that wall starts to fall down. I’m talking about things that people my age are dealing with on a daily basis, and the best thing is to have that vulnerability.

“I’ve seen more, traveled more, and you see the world and learn what people want. As you get older, you get a little wiser—I’m not saying that I’m wise, but I’m learning every day, and that comes out in the songs.”


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Tour Dates

Dec 15 2019
Anything She Says Tour
New York, NY
Jan 10 2020
Grand Ole Opry
Nashville, TN
Jan 17 2020
Anything She Says Tour
Saint Louis, MO
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Jan 24 2020
Anything She Says Tour
Fort Worth, TX
Jan 25 2020
Anything She Says Tour
Tuscaloosa, AL
Jan 30 2020
Anything She Says Tour
Springfield, IL
Jan 31 2020
Anything She Says Tour
Grand Rapids, MI
Feb 01 2020
Anything She Says Tour
Bloomington, IN
Feb 06 2020
Toyota Center
Kennewick, WA
Feb 07 2020
We Are Old Dominion Tour
Abbotsford, Canada
Feb 08 2020
We Are Old Dominion Tour
Penticton, Canada
Feb 10 2020
We Are Old Dominion Tour
Prince George, Canada
Feb 11 2020
We Are Old Dominion Tour
Dawson Creek, Canada
Feb 13 2020
We Are Old Dominion Tour
Saskatoon, Canada
Feb 14 2020
We Are Old Dominion Tour
Calgary, Canada
Feb 15 2020
We Are Old Dominion Tour
Regina, Canada
Feb 20 2020
We Are Old Dominion Tour
Kingston, Canada
Feb 21 2020
We Are Old Dominion Tour
Toronto, Canada
Feb 22 2020
We Are Old Dominion Tour
Sudbury, Canada
Feb 24 2020
We Are Old Dominion Tour
Kitchener, Canada
Feb 25 2020
We Are Old Dominion Tour
Peterborough, Canada
Feb 28 2020
Anything She Says Tour
Oxford, MS
Feb 29 2020
Anything She Says Tour
Starkville, MS
Mar 05 2020
Anything She Says Tour
Columbus, OH
Mar 07 2020
Anything She Says Tour
Rootstown, OH
Mar 13 2020
Indigo At The O2
London, United Kingdom
Mar 20 2020
CMC Rocks
East Ipswich, Australia
Mar 21 2020
CMC Rocks
East Ipswich, Australia
Mar 22 2020
CMC Rocks
East Ipswich, Australia
Mar 23 2020
The Old Museum
Bowen Hills, Australia
Mar 24 2020
The Thornbury Theatre
Melbourne, Australia
Mar 25 2020
Factory Theatre
Sydney, Australia
Mar 28 2020
The Tuning Fork
Auckland, New Zealand
Apr 24 2020
Empire Polo Club
Indio, CA
Jun 04 2020
Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach, SC
Jun 05 2020
Carolina Country Music Fest
Myrtle Beach, SC
Jun 12 2020
Country Thunder Iowa
Forest City, IA
Jun 18 2020
Jam Ranch
Mack, CO
Jun 21 2020
Country Jam Grand Junction
Mack, CO
Jun 25 2020
Country Fest
Cadott, WI
Jun 26 2020
Heartland Stampede
Topeka, KS