Mitchell Tenpenny had big, big plans for 2020. The rising star released his debut album, Telling All My Secrets, at the end of 2018, which included his hit single, “Drunk Me.” With his career at a steady incline, Tenpenny was eager to spend more time with his fans on the road, unaware that life was about to come to a screeching halt.
“When you are touring so many days out of the year and playing so many shows, it does become normal, but I never realized how much I would miss it,” Tenpenny told People. “When people reached out for your hand on stage, you took it for granted. I never thought in a million years that there would be a time where that can’t happen. When we get the chance to go back, I’m going to soak in those kinds of moments.”
The time at home did bring new music from the Nashville native, with “Bucket List,” his just-released latest single. The song is an homage to his father, who passed away from cancer in 2014, relaying the message of seizing every moment, regardless of the circumstances.
“That’s what my dad always taught me and my brother growing up, that life is short … so you just always have to go for it,” Tenpenny shared. “I have noticed that when someone gives you that courage to go for it, that’s when you have the best chance of success.”
2020 also brought personal heartache for Tenpenny, with the loss of his uncle — and second father — to COVID-19.
“I don’t know if it’s even hit our family yet,” Tenpenny said. “It’s crazy how things happen out of nowhere. After my dad passed away (in 2014), I really leaned on my uncle. And now, he’s gone.”
Through the professional and personal heartbreak of the previous year, the 31-year-old has relied on his faith more than ever, which is what he is convinced has sustained him through even the darkest days.
“I am a Christian and I believe in God, and I truly have had to lean on that foundation,” Mitchell noted. “It’s how I get through these things, like losing family members and basically losing my job and not being able to pay my crew. I just pray through the clouds … and hope someone is listening.”
Tenpenny’s faith grew even deeper during a recent trip out west, to film the video for “Bucket List,” which included stops in the Grand Canyon and Sedona, Arizona.
“I’ve toured the country so many times and driven by so many of those places, but I never took the time to stop,” Tenpenny said. “Standing in those canyons at sunrise was amazing. It made me feel small. It put a lot of things in perspective. It was like I was seeing God.”