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Why Ryan Hurd Says His Debut Album Wouldn't Exist Without Maren Morris

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In the world of country music, some collaborations shine a little brighter than the rest.

Ever since Ryan Hurd and wife Maren Morris came together for the song "Chasing After You," fans haven't been able to stop listening to the powerful track, which explores love, heartbreak and the ultimate beauty of relationships.

More than eight months after the duet was released, the couple continues to celebrate its success with multiple 2021 CMA Award nominations including Musical Event of the Year and Music Video of the Year.

And if fans like "Chasing After You," wait until they hear the rest of Ryan's debut album, Pelago, officially out today.

"It was so fun to make. I feel these are exactly the songs I needed to put out. It's such a broad representation of me as a writer and artist and a person," Ryan exclusively shared with E! News. "It's such a mountain crest, to get to the point where you have a big enough single to put out a full album in Nashville. It's a big deal and not something I take for granted. I'm thankful for my team for sticking with me this long and for Maren."

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He continued, "The album wouldn't be existing without her doing this song with me and also just supporting me the last two or three years. I think it's my best writing and I'm really excited about it. I just love it."

Maren Morris, Ryan Hurd, 2021 ACM Awards, 2021 Academy of Country Music Awards, show
Jason Kempin/Getty Images for ACM

Inspired by his childhood and life growing up on a lake in Michigan, Ryan's body of work features summer jams that are "really fun and exciting." The other half is more of a relationship arc.

"I think if you listen from front to back on Pelago, you'll see this relationship starting and crescendoing and falling apart," the country singer teased. "Pelago means open sea or an overwhelming passion and I think I cover both of those bases on this album."

Some of that passion can be seen and felt in the music video for "Chasing After You." With more than 9 million views on YouTube alone, Ryan is quick to give credit to Maren for making the finished product a work of art.

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"She did hone in on the concept. I was originally the one who was skeptical of the artiness of it," he confessed. "In my mind, it was going to be a little more story-based and I'm glad I listened to Maren because it was such a fun video to make. From concept to the final edit, it was incredibly special."

Ryan Hurd
Nicki Fletcher

And as concerts and live events slowly get back on the calendar, Ryan is hoping to perform the song with his wife in the future.

"We love singing together. That's how we met, writing songs," he explained. "I've been doing some shows and it's kind of odd to do the song by yourself but the song stands up still. The only way I found to make it special is to ask the crowd to sing that part. All those girls in the crowd, that's what they are connecting with: her lyrics, her vocals. It's fun to hear it. I never really expected it to be as big as its gotten but it's been incredibly cool to have that little piece of country music history to share together."

While Ryan teased that he has "some big announcements" coming soon about performing, for now the 34-year-old artist is grateful to have reached a new milestone in his career. As for how the dad to 19-month-old Hayes plans to celebrate release day, that's to be determined.

"I'm sure there will be a lot of champagne," Ryan joked. "But at the same time, I'm going to take some time to soak it in and enjoy this moment because you only get one first album."

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