It's good to be Hardy in 2019. The songwriter-turned-country-singer has a pair of No. 1 hits in his pocket, another on the horizon and 12 months of sold-out tour stops in front of him.

If worrying about getting complacent is your biggest fear, you've made some solid career choices.

Hardy (full name: Michael Hardy) recognizes that a little money can make a man lazy, "but I think a lot of artists such as myself just have this perpetual drive or chip on their shoulder to just impress somebody that they found out never exists," he says.

"Up Down" by tourmate and 2018 ToC RISERS star Morgan Wallen, "Simple" and "Talk You Out of It" by spring and summer tourmates Florida Georgia Line and a handful of strong album cuts elsewhere (plus the under-appreciated "Call Your Mama" by Seth Ennis) are all part of his songwriting catalog. As an artist Hardy has already released two dynamic EPs. Most of these get sprinkled into his live set. It's a savvy move by an artist who's had good teachers.

The fun party is watching fans learn he's capable of writing and performing his single "Rednecker" ("You might think that you're a redneck, but I'm rednecker than you") and the emotional "Signed, Sober You." Those are the bookends of his personality — that he can pull off both effectively is what makes Hardy an exciting artist to watch in 2019.

The Philadelphia, Miss., native spent most of five focused years as a songwriter before someone suggested he should take the stage himself. This part of a career is most surprising to him, but he's had good mentors in Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line.

"Those guys could do anything they want with their free time and they choose to write songs, and I think that's a really cool thing," he tells Taste of Country, wearing the same floral shirt and blue jeans he'd later perform in.

Hardy and Wallen have been writing regularly while on tour — something that figures to continue when both join FGL for the Can't Say I Ain't Country Tour in June. Fans might start to notice the similarities between the two relative newcomers, from their music and charm to their hairstyles. Yes, like Wallen, Hardy rocks a mullet, though his is a little different.

"That’s the thing about mullets," he says. "Mullets are like snowflakes, they’re all just a little different from each other."

Watch Morgan Wallen Perform His Single "Whiskey Glasses"

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