Eric Church does things his own way. Whether it's a surprise album release with Mr. Misunderstood or his recently announced tour with no openers, the "Record Year" singer isn't known as being predictable. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, he admits that long ago he tried to conform to the music business, but has since given up doing things for radio or the industry and instead, follows his gut and focuses on his fans.

"We tried the Nashville game," he tells EW. "And the two songs in my career that I’d like to have back are 'Love Your Love the Most' and 'Hell on the Heart.' Those were both Top 10 radio songs — they were what the label said we needed — and they did nothing for my career. It was 'Smoke a Little Smoke,' which was my call, when things started changing. So I’ve just learned to trust my gut and trust that it’s going to be okay."

He stresses that it is important that the music industry serves the fans first, and not radio or critics. This is why on the morning that Mr. Misunderstood dropped, his album was already in fans' mailboxes and nowhere else to be found.

"If you want to know where the music industry is broken it’s this: When we’re going to put out an album, the people we’re trying to get it in the hands of are the fans, but the fans are also the last people [who] have a chance at it," he notes. "It goes to a label, then the press, then radio and critics — all these people weigh in and get a copy and then it's the fans. I think that’s so ass backwards. So we went to the fans first."

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