Adele is officially heading to the country this week with her new “Easy on Me” collaboration, starring Chris Stapleton. The song, a duet version of his current Billboard Hot 100 chart, will land on country radio early Friday. Billboard has learned.
Stapleton rendering is on the deluxe version of Adele’s album 30, also released on Friday.
The song will get a boost via iHeartMedia with an hourly featured broadcast Friday on all iHeart country radio stations, according to Rod Phillips, executive vice president, Programming for iHeartCountry.
“Every time you get two superstars together like that, it’s a moment, a collaboration that we want to build on,” Phillips said. Billboard. “If something this big happens, we’re at the top. We’re excited to give it to listeners across the country. Like all hits, listeners decide. We will monitor all metrics and read them along with the way we research and find out how important they can be. “
As Adele’s music landed on Billboard charts in genres such as pop, alternative, R&B / hip-hop, dance, Latin and smooth jazz, this could mark the first time Adele’s music would appear on Billboardranking of the countries of.
Although Adele is signed with Sony Music’s Columbia imprint and Stapleton with Universal Music Group Nashville’s Mercury label, neither Sony’s country counterpart, Sony Music Nashville, nor UMG Nashville are promoting the track at the country radio. Instead of, Billboard learned that in2une Music will exclusively spearhead the song’s country radio promotion.
Although this would mark Adele’s first foray into Billboardin the country charts of, she is not completely foreign to country music or Stapleton: as a bonus track for her album 21, Adele covered “If It Hadn’t Been for Love,” a track originally co-written and performed by Stapleton when he was lead singer / songwriter for bluegrass band The SteelDrivers. In 2010, Adele also appeared on the CMT show Artists of the year special for the Lady A serenade trio with a performance of their hit “Need You Now” alongside Darius Rucker.
As for Stapleton, he recently became the go-to country artist for cross-genre collaborations. At last week’s CMA Awards, Stapleton teamed up with Jennifer Hudson on a stunning performance of “Night Life” and “You Are My Sunshine”. At the CMT Music Awards, Stapleton teamed up with HER for a bluesy take on “Hold On”. These performances follow on from recorded collaborations with P! Nk (“Love Me Anyway”), Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars (“Blow”), Kelly Clarkson (“Glow”), Justin Timberlake (“Say Something”), Sheryl Crow (“Tell Me When It’s Over”), Santana (“Joy”) and Morgan Wallen (“Only Thing That’s Gone”), as well as a recent release from Taylor Swift’s Red (Taylor version) with “I bet you think of me (Taylor version).”
Adele isn’t the only pop superstar making waves on country radio thanks to a collaboration with Stapleton. “I bet you think of me” jumped on BillboardCountry Airplay’s at # 23 on the chart dated November 20. With the song, country-turned-pop star Swift earned her second best debut of her total of 39 Country Airplay entries, after “We Are Never Ever Get Back Ensemble” debuted at No. 13 on the Country Airplay chart in 2012.
Stapleton, of course, exploded into public consciousness in 2015 thanks to an unforgettable collaboration with Timberlake on Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey” and Timberlake’s “Drink You Away” at that year’s CMA Awards. Stapleton currently has a top 15 songs on the Billboard Country Airplay chart with “You Should Probably Leave”, while “I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version)” sits at # 23. After the release of this collaboration, Stapleton will likely have three tracks on Billboard‘Country Airplay Graphic.
–Additional report by Jim Asker