March 19, 2007 Luke Bryan may be a newcomer among the ranks of country recording artists, but he's no stranger to the country charts. Prior to signing with Capitol Nashville, he penned cuts for others including Billy Currington's "Good Directions" and Travis Tritt's "Honky Tonk History."
"I knew that becoming a songwriter was important in the process of becoming an artist," Bryan explains. "I believe it is really how you get grounded in the music business. But most of all, I think it's just about the coolest job in the world sit around all day and come up with songs."
Bryan chats about his cool job and his new album on GAC Nights 8 pm ET, Wednesday, March 28.
The country lifestyle is pretty much all the Georgia-born artist has ever known. Growing up in the tiny town of Leesburg, he grew up helping his father farm peanuts, corn and cotton. "Spreading fertilizer and hauling peanut wagons; that's work!" Bryan says. "Doing interviews and playing for fun crowds ... I'll never consider that a job."
He's been drawn to music for as long as he can remember and was playing in local bars by age 15. His plan was to move to Nashville and pursue a career in music as soon as he graduated from high school.
Those plans changed instantly when his older brother, Chris, was killed in a car accident on the very day he was to move to Tennessee. Bryan changed course and, wanting to remain near his family, enrolled in nearby Georgia Southern University.
After graduation, he went to work for his father's businesses, work that left him anything but fulfilled. Knowing of his son's musical ambitions, his father presented him with an ultimatum, "You either quit and move to Nashville, or I'm going to fire you."
By September 2001, Bryan had moved to Nashville and landed a publishing deal with a top music publisher. A deal with Capitol Records Nashville followed, and soon the young artist was in the studio working alongside his songwriter buddy, Jeff Stevens, who this time was serving as co-producer. The two also penned the album's title track, "I'll Stay Me."
Remaining true to himself shouldn't be much of a problem for the man who has no interest in getting above his Georgia raising. "All the people and the culture of the South is what I hope I am. It's everything about me."
(Ronna Rubin, a 21-year veteran of the music industry, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)