When Breland and Keith Urban met for the first time at Urban's Nashville-area home -- bright and early one Friday morning, as Urban recalls -- the country superstar asked the rising star to share what had been inspiring him lately, and what he'd been working on.

The demo of a chorus that Breland played for Urban -- an early version of what listeners hear in the pair's new collaboration, "Throw It Back," released on Friday (June 4) -- was just something Breland wanted Urban to hear for inspiration. He didn't expect Urban to offer to turn it into a song with him.

"I was literally just playing him a bunch of songs that I was messing with," Breland recalls in a recent video interview. "And he was like, 'Oh, this one ... I want to be on this.'"

The "Cross Country" singer was ... well, a bit taken aback.

"I'm like, 'You know, this song is kind of ... it's a little suggestive ... It's a little sensual, at least ... There's some allusions to twerking in this song,'" Breland shares with a chuckle. Indeed, a slinky pre-chorus plays on the title phrase -- "If she get a shot of whiskey / She know how to throw it back ... Shorty got me catchin' feelings / I just hope she throw it back" -- and moves into a club-ready chorus with a beat that basically dares you not to shake what your mama gave ya.

Urban, Breland recounts, took in the explanation, and was ready to get to work.

"He's one of the only artists I've ever met that, he does not care at all what something sounds like or what box it fits ...," Breland says of Urban. "If he likes it, if it catches his ear, he wants to be a part of it in some way."

Breland first teased "Throw It Back," describing it as a "country twerk" song, nearly a year ago. It's from the same session in which he and Urban co-wrote their collaboration "Out the Cage," from Urban's The Speed of Now, Part 1 album, as well as that record's "Soul Food," though Breland says the pair have written together "a bunch" since that first meeting.

When he and Urban write together, Breland says, they're always coming up with "something that I've never heard before." He clarifies, "I don't have that type of experience with everyone that I collaborate with."

To The Boot, Urban has described Breland as a "kindred spirit." Says Breland, "That's big bro right there, for sure," detailing some parallels in their career paths: "He's been an outsider in Nashville, as someone who was literally from another country and kind of had his own sound at a time when that wasn't really all that popular, [and] he stuck it out ... So he knows what that feels like."

"I love that he has always been kind of on the progressive and cutting edge of country music ... You can just kind of tell he's not really subscribing to any ideas outside of just what inspires him creatively," Breland continues. "And I think that's the biggest thing for me, is just being able to see how freely he creates and how willing he is to push the conversation and the boundaries of what people would normally do. That's gonna stick with me for the rest of my career."

The year 2021 is shaping up to be a major one for Breland, who first found the spotlight in early 2020 with his song "My Truck" and currently hosts an Apple Music Country radio show, Land of the Bre. This fall, he'll embark on his first headlining tour, the Cross Country Tour, named for his recent solo single, also released as a collaboration with Mickey Guyton. Before that, on Wednesday (June 9), Breland and Guyton will perform "Cross Country" during the 2021 CMT Music Awards.

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