Lanco are on the rise in 2019. The five-piece country band, consisting of Brandon Lancaster, Chandler Baldwin, Eric Steedly, Tripp Howell and Jared Hampton, won New Group of the Year at April's ACM Awards, collaborated on a song for Brooks & Dunn's Reboot album and recently released a new single, "Rival," to follow their 2018 debut album, Hallelujah Nights. A headlining tour wrapped up earlier this year, as did a run with Luke Combs, as openers for his Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour.

Now on Lanco's collective mind? A new album. Plenty has changed for the band in the past year, and on their fast trajectory to success, they've gained a new world of experience.

"There’s just so many firsts: award nominations and selling out shows," Lancaster shared at a recent press event. "Some of the other firsts that come along with that is realizing that you’re always examining yourself as an artist."

With that examination comes a lot of questions. While Lanco have finally reached a point of reflection in regards to their early career, what's next is unknown. The group now grapples with how to move forward on their sophomore album and navigate the pressures surrounding them.

"There’s now an expectation that’s never been there before," Lancaster reflects. "How do we live up to it? We went in the first time naive, [thinking] this is just fun, and there’s this innocence. Okay, do you capture that? Or do you check yourself and go, 'What can we do better this time? What can we learn from it?'"

With a strong sense of self-awareness and ambition, Lanco continue in their work. Part of the beginning of the process of making a new record is evaluating those life changes and turning them into songs.

"This year, we did over 200 shows. We were going, going, going. We were on planes, trains, boats, whatever we could take to get to places. There were a lot of early mornings and late nights, and I think that finding time to be human and sleep and do things like eat kind of fell to the wayside there for a bit," Howell admits. "I feel like that was a pretty big struggle for us, getting our gear and everything to places on time. We had to be in a lot of places at once."

Time management isn't easy -- or even an option, sometimes -- for any artist. They hang in a balance between personal life and career, but constantly face new opportunities that breed challenges of their own, specifically creative ones.

"Finding time to just be creative, too. Figure that out and then go do it -- get in the studio, write songs. You find out quickly that you don’t have as much time as we had when we were in the warehouse, up and coming, hanging out every night, creating," Steedly says. "Now we’re trying to notch it in the schedule with everything, and it’s like, oh, man, it’s really hard."

However, no matter how rough it gets, Lanco have been through tougher times. While success comes with new territory to explore, they're doing it with grateful hearts, because they worked hard to be where they are.

"There was a time where four out of five of us were all on a lease together in a house that, at any time, eight guys were living in, that was a two-bedroom house. We used to practice in a warehouse and drive around," Lancaster says. "We started out in an Expedition and a van, then an RV, and now, with all the fiscal things, we all have our own places and a tour bus, and all these cool things have happened.

"When you play these shows and you play venues you’ve been to before as an opener and now you’re a headliner, you remember the times that you were playing in a bar to just a couple of people and the bartender, and now you look out and you see this line around the block of people, knowing that you’re providing that and you’re connecting with people all around the country," he continues. "That's been the biggest change."

These changes have yielded positive results. The five musicians are bonded in an unbreakable way, and they've learned to appreciate each milestone even more deeply because of their past together.

"That’s why being in a band is so cool and so fun for me, and I’m sure these guys too, because when we see our career growing and more people showing up to shows, we all remember when we all lived in a house together and had to split a $5 Hot ‘n’ Ready pizza, because $5 was too much," Baldwin says. "It’s really cool to remember those times and celebrate it, because we all went through those older times together too."

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