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Luke Combs Reflects on Latest No. 1 Song and How it Almost Didn't Make the Album

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Luke Combs' third consecutive No. 1 single "One Number Away" was almost one number too many for his debut album This One's For You. The newcomer on a winning streak revealed he had to fight for the song in the first place.

"My producer Scott Moffatt, who produced the whole album, didn't want to do the song," Combs says during a press roundtable before his No. 1 party for the single. "Scott was not going to do it, so we had [co-writer] Sammy Mitchell do it."

It's a bit of a full circle moment for Combs and Mitchell, as well as co-writers Rob Williford and Steven Battey. Combs actually started out singing demos at Mitchell's home studio. Now the foursome get to celebrate career milestones together.

For Williford and Mitchell, "One Number Away" serves as their first No. 1 single. For Battey, who came from a successful pop and R&B songwriting career with his brother Carlos Battey, the song serves as his first country music No. 1.

And wouldn't you know it, the whole thing started thanks to a high school teacher.

Go to Class

Williford actually first connected with Luke Combs thanks to an old high school teacher. After moving to Nashville to pursue songwriting, Williford got a call from an old high school classmate whose mom taught math. It turns out that classmate's roommate -- Luke -- was coming to Nashville to try his hand at recording some songs.

Williford agreed to meet up with Combs and was, by his own accounts, less than impressed with his songwriting. "I was like, 'Yeah you're a great singer but you ain't got no songs,'" Williford says.

"He did call me a glorified karaoke singer when we first met, so that's great," laughs Combs, sitting next to him.

"He thought I was an asshole, and one of us was right, and now he we are five years later at a No. 1 party," Williford says. Though there's a bit more to it than that.

First, Combs had to get connected with Mitchell and Battey. As Williford continued to write with Combs, he looped him into conversations with the other two.

"I called Rob and I was like, 'I got this concept for a song called 'One Number Away,'" Battey says. He sent it to him in a voicemail and Williford responded with "Don't write that with anybody else!" He knew immediately they needed to write it with Combs.

The song became an immediate fan favorite, and Combs eventually filmed an emotional new music video for the song. In it, a broken-up couple relives memories of each other.

It seems like a familiar movie of a happy relationship at first, but it's really a different story. Tragedy strikes when the woman gets into a car accident on the way to see her ex.

Go With Your Gut

At the time they wrote the song, Combs didn't have a publishing deal or record deal in place. He had a sizable social media following thanks to his days on Vine and posting clips of him singing songs ("glorified karaoke singer," remember?). But when he went in to make his first record with Moffatt at $800 a song, all he had were a great voice, years of hard work, and a batch of songs to show for it.

Combs released single "Hurricane" in order to make a little money to finish the project. The song sold thousands and thousands of copies and picked up in the streaming world, and the rest is history. The song eventually went No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, followed by his second single "When It Rains It Pours."

Read More: Watch Luke Combs' Reminiscent New Video for 'She Got the Best of Me'

Though he describes the past two years as a bit of a "blur," Combs says he's looking forward to spending some time back in Carolina. And that when he goes home, not much changes. He's still just "one of the cousins" and still has to pick what to eat for dinner.

In the middle of touring with Jason Aldean, Combs also says a new album is definitely in the works. "I recorded 20 songs back in January and will hopefully record 20 more next January, all songs I co-wrote," he says. "My advice is to just write songs you'd want to listen to. That's how I got to this juncture."

Luke Combs 'One Number Away' Lyrics:

Are you sitting at home all alone trying to fall asleep?
Are you staring a hole through your phone praying that it rings?
Are you watching a movie that you've seen a thousand times?
Maybe playing some Mayer getting lost in your favorite lines?

Well, if you're anything like me
You just might be doing whatever it takes to drown out the noise
But I just wanna hear your voice

And I'm one number away from calling to you
I said I was through, but I'm dying inside
Got my head in a mess, girl, I confess
I lied when I said, "I'm leaving and not coming back"
Might be the whiskey or the midnight rain
But everywhere I go, I see your face
In my brain, dial it up, everything I want to say
But I'm still one number away

Are you stuck at a red light with a Marlboro Light on your lips?
Does the smoke in your mirror get clearer without my kiss?
Are you changing the station replacing our favorite song?
Maybe it's a mistake, hit the brakes, I'm moving on

Well, if you're anything like me
You just might be doing whatever it takes to outrun the storm
But I'm almost out that door

And I'm one number away from calling to you
I said I was through, but I'm dying inside
Got my head in a mess, girl, I confess
I lied when I said, "I'm leaving and not coming back"
Might be the whiskey or the midnight rain
But everywhere I go, I see your face
In my brain, dial it up, everything I want to say
But I'm still one number away

Will you pick up when I call?
Or just forget we loved at all?
We don't have to talk, I just wanna hear your voice

And I'm one number away from calling to you
I said I was through, but I'm dying inside
Got my head in a mess, girl, I confess
I lied when I said, "I'm leaving and not coming back"
Might be the whiskey or the midnight rain
But everywhere I go, I see your face
In my brain, dial it up, everything I want to say
But I'm still one number away
Away, away
Yes, you're one number away

Now Watch: Songs from the 2000s That Will Become Country Classics

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Luke Combs Reflects on Latest No. 1 Song and How it Almost Didn't Make the Album