Laine Hardy's music career is in full swing, but if he wasn't a musician, his alternate career choice would be very, very different.

The former ToC Riser has new music on the rise. His 11-song debut album, Here’s to Anyone, is set for release on Friday (Sept. 17).

The singer has been nothing but full throttle in recent months. In addition to his performance on national television for The Bachelorette, Hardy also experienced his first-ever opportunity to sing on the coveted Grand Ole Opry stage in August. So yeah, he’s knocking some heavy hitters off his list!

While you may have learned a lot about the singer since his stint on American Idol, Hardy recently took over Taste of Country’s Instagram stories for a Q&A with fans, and shared a lot of fun details about himself and his career that might surprise you.

Let’s recap:

Opry Debut Was a Dream Come True

“It was a dream of mine and it was unreal. It was an experience in and of itself — it was really fun,” the singer shares.

The debut came at an emotional time for the singer. Hurricane Ida was quickly approaching his home state of Louisiana, so many emotions pulsed through him. He posted on Instagram afterward, sharing his feelings about the occasion:

"Still not over this night, y'all... Thank you, Opry!"

His Family Survived Hurricane Ida

In similar posts of gratitude from his Opry debut, Hardy shared that his family had been kept safe during the storms that ravaged Louisiana and hit hard in other parts of the South in August.

“Making my @opry debut as Hurricane Ida was headed for my home state this past Saturday sure was a bittersweet moment," he writes.

“I am so grateful my family and our property were spared, and also so grateful for the incredible honor to stand inside that Circle. A huge thank you to everyone who helped make this happen,' he shares during the Instagram takeover.

“Not too much damage, but people farther south and some houses around where we live did have a little more damage than us."

He’s Into Home Renovation

Yep — Hardy is a junior Chip and Joanna Gaines. Fans posed the question of what he would be doing for a living if he wasn’t pursuing music. Come to find out, the singer has a knack for renovating homes!

“I would be a contractor or a remodeler,” Hardy states.

Touring With Toby Keith Is No Joke

The Idol Season 17 winner has spent the summer touring with Keith on his Country Comes to Town tour, notching performances at venues including the Hard Rock in Atlantic City and Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. It’s been a demanding schedule, but Hardy’s enjoyed it.

“I loved touring with Toby Keith. Great guy,” he expresses. “The shows are amazing and the crowds were awesome.”

His Dog, Jet, Might Not Be Ready For Tour Life Yet

Fans were eager to know if the singer’s dog might join him on the road. The singer didn’t outright say no, but there was major hesitancy about whether his pup was ready for that.

“He’s probably better off being at home ‘cause we are always on the go. It’s going to be hard to watch him,” he says.

Jet isn’t your normal man's best friend — nope! Hardy has created an entire Instagram profile solely dedicated to his furry family member. There you’ll find the daily pup selfies and memorable moments when the singer comes home from tour.

He Loves His Family

Hardy has a strong connection to his family. When asked what his favorite thing about home was, his answer was simple.

“Family, friends, the river...just being there is my favorite thing.”

There’s One Song He’s Really Excited for Fans to Hear on the Album

“California Won’t” is the track you’ll want to listen to first when his album drops.

You can listen to Hardy’s new album, Here’s to Anyone, wherever you stream music on Sept. 17.

Best Country Albums of 2021 - Critic's Pick

There have been many creative country albums in 2021, but not all have hit the mark. Artists are more than ever toying with distribution methods and packaging as much as they are new sounds, so you get double and triple albums, Part 1 and Part 2, and digital EPs in lieu of a traditional 10 or 11-song release.

The bar for an EP on this list of the best country albums of 2021 is higher than an LP, but one project did crack the Top 10. Too much music proved to dampen other artist's efforts, although Alan Jackson's first album in years was filled with country music we couldn't turn away from. Where Have You Gone has 21 songs, but somehow no filler.

More than ever, this relied on staff opinion and artistic merit to allow for some parity among major label artists and independents. The 10 albums listed below are not ranked, although the year-end list published in the fall will crown a true best album of 2021.

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