updated 07/29/2014 AT 4:00 PM ET
•originally published 07/29/2014 AT 2:00 PM ET
After spending nearly 10 years alongside Jennifer Nettles as one half of the duo Sugarland, guitarist Kristian Bush is now stepping out of the shadows and into a spotlight of his own.
With a brand new single, “Trailer Hitch,” the singer-songwriter, who penned the bulk of Sugarland’s music, says he’s enjoying life as a solo artist for the first time – “You should get to know me now, I’m better than I ever was,” he says.
PEOPLE Country asked him to share his top five reasons why being a solo artist is awesome:
1. Fans are like, ‘Oh my gosh, I didn’t know you could sing,’ ” he says. “And I’m like, ‘Yeah, yeah, thank you!’ Then a few minutes later they’re like, ‘Wait, why haven’t you sang the whole time?’ I’m like, ‘Look, if you’re in a band with Eddie Van Halen, you let him play guitar!’ But it’s fun to watch people discover something that’s been standing next to them the whole time.”
2. “I don’t have to fight anybody else for the carrots on the vegetable plate.”
3. “I don’t have to wait on line for the shower after a show – you always let the lady go first.”
4. “All the backstage laminates have my name on it now, I don’t have to worry about which one is mine.”
5. “People might actually stop spelling my name with a C, because now they’ll actually see it up in lights and see it’s with a K.”