Celebrating the kind of little Southern towns he calls home, Hardy is rooted in down-and-dirty country and arena rock. On his pair of debut EPs for Big Loud -- 2018's This Ole Boy, which was followed quickly by Where to Find Me in early 2019 -- and his 2020 full-length debut, A Rock, he mines this macho blend without succumbing to the amiable swagger of bro-country or the stylish country-R&B fashions of the late 2010s. Separate from his recording career, Hardy worked as a songwriter, scoring a hit with "Up Down," a single from Morgan Wallen featuring Florida Georgia Line, which led that superstar duo to collaborate with him on their 2018 hit "Simple."
Hailing from Philadelphia, Mississippi, Hardy was born Michael Hardy. He headed to Nashville in the early 2010s with the intention of breaking into the country music industry. First, he attended Middle Tennessee State University as a student in their Recording Industry Management program; he wound up graduating with a degree in songwriting from the college. While he was studying, he self-released an EP called Redneck Recipe in 2013; he also posted his songs to the Internet. These songs caught the attention of Dennis Matkosky -- the writer of Michael Sembello's Flashdance hit "Maniac," as well as LeAnn Rimes' "I Need You" (she also happened to be a cousin to Hardy's grandfather, who signed the fledgling singer/songwriter to his publishing company Watsky Music).
Hardy landed his first charting hit with "Up Down," a song he co-wrote with Brad Clawson and CJ Solar. Morgan Wallen recorded it with the support of Florida Georgia Line, taking it to number one on the Billboard Country Airplay chart after its November 2017 release. Things began to happen swiftly for Hardy after that. FGL recorded "Simple" -- a tune Hardy wrote with the duo, along with Mark Holman -- and took it to number one while making an appearance on Seth Ennis' single "Call Your Mama." By the point of the Ennis single, Michael Hardy signed to Big Loud and adopted the stage name Hardy.
This Ole Boy, Hardy's debut EP, was produced by Joey Moi -- the producer behind FGL's hits -- and was issued in October 2018. Where to Find Me arrived on its heels in January 2019. September brought the release of Hixtape, Vol. 1, a country variation on a hip-hop mixtape featuring cameos by Cole Swindell, Morgan Wallen, and Thomas Rhett. The single "Boots" appeared the following year.
"Boots" was the first single from Hardy's full-length debut, A Rock, which arrived in September 2020. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine