The last couple of years have been a series of highs and lows professionally for Tim McGraw. A legal battle with his former label home, Curb Records, is still playing out in court while Tim has moved forward, signing with Big Machine Records and preparing to release a new album, Two Lanes of Freedom, on February 5. In his final years with Curb, he tells Billboard he watched largely from the sidelines while young male artists found success built on a foundation he helped pioneer.
“They hurt my career,” Tim said of Curb in the magazine’s cover story. “I felt like I was at the top of my game, and to not be able to get to the places I wanted to be … it was really hard to sit back, with me being competitive. Nothing against any other artists-I love success for anybody. I always say, ‘I want everybody to do great. I just want to do better.’ Just watching all the things that are going on and to have to sit on the sidelines, it’s been tough.”
While Tim could get caught up in courtroom drama and hard feelings, he’s opted to take an optimistic approach to the future. His new label represents is a new chapter in his storied career and a chance to make his best music yet.
“It’s like I put it in a different gear now,” he said. “I really feel like I’m only about 35% into my career. There’s so much more ahead of me, musically and everything else. It feels like the clouds have parted and now I can find my lane and press the gas.”
When Tim went in search of a new label home, his manager Coran Capshaw told Billboard there were plenty of opportunities. Tim was in search of a label that would be a true partner while allowing creative freedom. He found that in Scott Borchetta, Big Machine’s President and CEO.
“I wanted to go someplace where there’s a freshness and energy, and Scott’s got that energy,” Tim said. “Anything’s possible, there’s no rules, and I feel like I made my career that way. Had I known the rules, I wouldn’t make records the way I make records. I’ve got all the freedom I want. It’s a partnership.”
Two Lanes of Freedom hits stores February 5. Watch Tim’s latest video for “One of Those Nights” HERE.