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Seth Ennis had everything going for him. The talented singer/songwriter was out on tour with acts such as Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line and had songs on the radio such as "Woke Up in Nashville" and "Call Your Mama." And by all accounts, Ennis seemed to have all he needed to become one of country music's most endearing new stars.
"Everything was just skyrocketing in the right direction," Ennis admits in a new interview with PEOPLE. "And then, all of a sudden, it felt like the rug was pulled out from under me."
In 2018, the Georgia native was dropped by his label and songs such as "Look at You" fell off the charts. And at the moment he began to pick up the pieces of a career that seemed to be caving in on him, COVID-19 showed up on our collective doorsteps. And the singer/songwriter with all the talent in the world found himself wondering if he should give up his dreams of being a solo artist once and for all.
"It got a little dark for me for a little bit mentally," Ennis, now 28, explains. "In the music industry, there's so much that we can't control and there's so much that happens that doesn't go our way a lot of times. But for me, being out on the road and seeing the fans react to my music is what kept me going. And when that was taken away, it kind of got dark for me."
Ford Fairchild Seth Ennis
So dark, in fact, that Ennis says he found himself consulting with his manager about pulling the plug on his solo career entirely.
"I just had to look myself in the mirror and figure out what my expectations were and why I even had them for myself in the first place," he remembers. "I'm a competitive person and I do have big expectations for myself. It was never where I was getting super depressed or anything. It was just that I was really, really bummed."
Ford Fairchild Seth Ennis
And while the songwriting side of his career continued to flourish with cuts for artists such as Tyler Farr, Lauren Alaina and Chase Rice, Ennis found himself eerily close to closing the chapter on his solo career. But then, Ennis was shown something by his manager that made him rethink everything.
"He showed me some numbers from a streaming service, and even though I hadn't released music in a long time, there were still fans that were listening to the music," Ennis says of the realization that occurred earlier this year. "It really reinvigorated me as far as putting music out."
This past April, Ennis went on to share a heartfelt post on his socials, explaining to his fans the real reasons behind his extended absence, along with his renewed drive to create his own music once again.
"They deserved to know where I had been and what was in my head," remembers Ennis, who also released a single "I Still Do" that same week, which snagged over 100,000 streams. "I had this statement thing all typed out and I was kind of nervous about it. I felt like people had forgotten about me. And then to see the outpouring of love and support from not only the fans, but people in Nashville too, it was really special and fired me up. Sometimes you just need to be reminded - especially in this business - that you have people that love you."
Ennis' irresistible new single "U-Turn," premiering exclusively on PEOPLE, essentially serves as a brand-new chapter in the solo career of Ennis, despite it being a song he has held in his back pocket for quite a while.
"It's a song that I have always felt really, really strong about," he says of the relatable song written by Alysa Vanderheym and Brett Tyler. "I had played it out on the road when I was on tour with Dylan Scott a few years back and honestly, it was pretty much one of my best songs in terms of audience reaction. I recorded it and turned it into my label at the time."
But from there, it went nowhere.
"I felt like the energy was lacking a little bit," Ennis remembers. "When we parted ways, the label was super dope and gave me a couple of my masters back and 'U-Turn' was one of them."
And now, the song he could never get out of his head is back, delivered by a reenergized artist who seems poised to take on country music head-on once again, but this time with a whole new sense of who he is and why he wants to be here.
"A lot of times, we listen to a lot of people in the industry and at the end of the day, the only people that matter is the people making the music and the people listening to the music," Ennis declares. "For the last two years, I've gotten messages from people wanting me to put 'U-Turn' out, and now I am listening to them…and I am."
And as Ennis' professional life seems to be turning one of its sweetest corners, so does his personal life - Ennis and his wife of just over a year, Janna, are expecting their first child on Sept. 21. The couple plan to name the baby - a girl! - Georgia.
"I love all the chaos of my life at the moment," he says with a laugh. "Getting ready for a baby and hopefully trying to lock down some tour dates and having more music come out… I just love it all right now."