Fans drawn in by Luke Bryanís boyish, down-home charm soon discover whatís behind it: an intelligent wit, an off-the-wall sense of humor and a unique take on life shaped by experiences both joyful and tragic. They also soon discern that this boy next door is a talented triple threat vocalist, songwriter and musician.
Even before his first Capitol Records Nashville single, "All My Friends Say," had been sent to country radio,
At the same time, Bryanís second major cut as a songwriter - Billy Curringtonís "Good Directions" - was quickly climbing the country airplay charts and eventually hit the top spot on the country singles charts in May 2007 giving the Georgia native his first #1 song as a songwriter.
Countrified is something that comes naturally to
"Itís kind of funny," he recalls. "Wednesday nights Iíd be playing for church groups and then Friday and Saturday Iíd be playing Alan Jackson,
His intention was to move to
After the accident,
Even after college graduation,
"The day I moved to
He quickly landed a publishing contract at top independent publisher Murrah Music. There,
Soon, interest from Capitol Records Nashville turned into a recording contract. "Itís all your dreams and everything you every wanted coming together right there at that moment,"
Capitol has had success in the past pairing new artists with promising but little known producers with whom the artist has a great songwriting rapport. This technique worked most notably for Dierks Bentley and producer Brett Beavers. So the label chose that risky route again when it allowed
The labelís gamble paid off. The Bryan/Stevens pairing has resulted in a fresh and contemporary-sounding album thatís just country enough to represent
After years spent building a following in
"I still get shocked all the time when I meet random people and they say ĎYouíre Luke Bryan.í Thatís still pretty neat," the singer says of his home state fan base. "
He also has the benefit of maturity and experience now. "When I was 19 or 20 if you had told me standing on the Batman building [the BellSouth tower in downtown
(CSC) 1. Whatís the latest with you! How has 2008 been treating you so far?
Oh man itís been good! Iíve just been playing a bunch of shows, meeting a lot of fans, and we just finished up our last ďKennyĒ date. Weíre pretty bummed that that had to come to an end. It was certainly a fun experience being out there and being a part of that! I hope that I get the chance to do something like that again.
(CSC) 2. Letís talk about you and your wife Carolineís baby boy, Thomas Boyer or as you simply call him, ďBo.Ē Being a country music star, how have you adjusted to being a first time father and how do you prioritize the two?
Well obviously itís tough because I have to be away from home so much, but the main thing is I try to make sure that my time at home is well spent. They come out on the road with me probably once every month, or once every two months so that gives me a chance to see emí a little bit, and hang. The bottom line is I have to make sure that I see emí as much as I can when Iím in town, and make the most of our time together!
(CSC) 3. When you have the chance to take a break, what do you enjoy doing in a big city like Chicago? Any favorite places to hang out or visit when youíre here for a show?
I like to get some shopping in. I canít remember the name of the street that itís on, but I certainly know the area. The main thing is just to hang out in the city when youíre there. I always like to swing by Joeís and see all the guys around there. Just being able to be in the city, and walk around and see all the great spots is a lot of fun!
(CSC) 4. Your debut album ďIíll Stay MeĒ has been a huge success among critics alike. When do you have plans to release your sophomore release, and how would it compare to your first record?
We plan on having another record out sometime in 2009. As far as how it would compare to the last album, I hope that there will be some of the same stuff that we had on the first album that people will be looking forward to, but honestly I hope thereís some growth as far as songwriting goes. I always want to better myself with each album, and I think weíve already got a lot of the songs written, and the songs that weíre looking for weíve found around town. Itís looking like itís going to shape up to be a good chance at a great sophomore album!
(CSC) 5. As a songwriter, I understand that you contributed to several songs on your first album?
Yeah, I wrote ten of the eleven songs on the album.
(CSC) 6. Youíve been through some tough hardships in your life. What do you attribute to pulling through those dark times?
Just keeping your chin up, understanding God has a plan for you, and keep plowing on, you know. Thatís the thing about life, it has its ups and downs, and things sometimes catch you off guard more times than not. We have to just keep plugging along, and keep a positive outlook. Itís important to enjoy all the great things about life!
(CSC) 7. Besides being a singer, youíve written hit songs for other artists in Country Music. What do you enjoy about the two, and how does one compare to the other?
Well I love performing, and why I moved to Nashville, and why Iím a singer and a songwriter is to have a chance to get onstage and perform my songs. Songwriting gives me a way to tell stories and tell my life to other people. It gives other people the chance to feel that their stories are heard, and that maybe they grew up like me or have experienced the same things that I have. The main thing is songwriting is just a fun way to express yourself, and have everybody else understand that and jump on the bandwagon with you!
(CSC) 8. If you had the chance to duet with any ďlegendaryĒ female artist in Country Music, who would it be and why?
Iíve always wished I could do something with Dolly Parton sometime. I think she honestly is a hero of mine; and obviously Reba wouldnít be too bad either. There are a lot of duets Iíd love to try to pull off out there. I think it would be a whole lot of fun!
(CSC) 9. Have you had the chance to meet with Dolly and Reba yet?
I havenít gotten to meet Dolly or Reba yet, but Iím certainly looking forward to that opportunity.
(CSC) 10. Youíve gotten a reputation as being very approachable and genuinely down-to-earth and pretty involved with your fans. As your success skyrockets, how do you manage to stay true to yourself and remain unaffected by all the fame?
I donít really try to let it go to my head, it is what it is. Itís about being out there and playing music. I still want to be approachable to my fans, and I enjoy meetiní fans and heariní what they have to say and things like that. Iíve always tried to maintain my enjoyment of music, and my love for music, and my fans are a part of that! I couldnít be here without the fans supporting me. Thatís the main thing for me. People always tell me Iím goiní the extra mile but I donít ever really think of it like that, itís just all a part of the experience. When I moved to Nashville, I hoped I would have a lot of fans someday, and the fact that I wouldnít continue to be nice to them or compassionate with them would be a little weird for me for it to be any other way.
(CSC) 11. Where did you get the name for your fan club? (The Nut House)
Yeah! Thatís because my father is a peanut farmer and I grew up on the peanut farm, so it just seemed fitting to name it that. Obviously my fans are about half crazy too, (Laughs) so it seemed fitting to name emí the nut house.
(CSC) 12. You mentioned just recently ending a tour with Kenny Chesney. What was that like touring with all those different artists on the bill?
It was a blast getting to hang with some of those guys. Just getting to have the chance to watch Keith Urban, Brooks & Dunn, Gary Allan, and those other big name acts perform you learn a lot. I look back on that, and I really did learn a lot. It was a great experience to be out there with everybody. Being able to watch Kenny Chesneyís operation on a day in and day out basis was pretty spectacular!
(CSC) 13. Whatís one valuable lesson that you learned as a new talent when first arriving in Nashville that has stuck with you all these years?
I think just that itís the hardest work you could ever imagine having to do; itís day in and day out, and youíre never really off the clock, and itís the most enjoyable thing. My thing is to make sure you stay healthy, keep your voice good so you can get out there and perform and sing, and perform every show to the best of your ability and have a great time with it!
(CSC) 14. How do you preserve your vocals with the constant touring?
You have to make sure that you try to get enough sleep through the night. I like to go read a book or something, and just try to be quiet for a little while and go take a nap. (Laughs)
For all things LUKE BRYAN, please visit his official website here; http://www.lukebryan.com/