Sunday, April 08, 2007


My (first) senior year of college, I was in a journalism class. One of our assignments was to interview someone whose job we'd like to have. After unsuccessfully trying to interview a Rockette, a friend gave me the name and number of singer/songwriter in Nashville. "He's really good," she promised. "He doesn't have a deal yet, but he will one day."

Three years went by before I heard the name Luke Bryan again. Last weekend, I was flipping the channels and saw the lead-in for his video, "All My Friends Say." I about fell off the couch. Luke finally made it. Here is the story I wrote about him in 2004 (try to excuse the poor writing, as I wrote this at 1 a.m. the night before it was due, and focus on the subject of the story):
Call it ironic. An upcoming musician, on the brink of signing a record deal, and all Luke Bryan wants tonight is one working flip-flop. According to him, his shoe "blew out." But this late at night, Nashville says no. Finding his luck has run out and he is nowhere near another pair of flip flops, a roll of Duct Tape, or even a stapler, Bryan seizes the opportunity that lies within a bottle of super glue, and hastily applies it to his shoe.

Bryan, 28, laughs heartily as he holds the flip-flop out of the window of his car, trying to let the glue air dry before he arrives at his destination. Now that his problem is solved, he is able to focus on our conversation, but not without a gentleman’s apology for the delay.

His accent is so thick, one would think Bryan had lived in the County Music Capital of the World his entire life. Bryan moved to Nashville in 1996, only 20 years old, after dropping out of a junior college in south Georgia. However, his brother’s death in a car wreck brought Bryan back home for six years. In that time, Bryan attended Georgia Southern University, where he claims he got his four-year degree in “business management and drinking beer.” On Sept. 1, 2001, Bryan moved to Nashville again, this time to stay.

One of his first friends in Nashville was another emerging artist named Rachel Proctor. She introduced him to Roger Murrah, president of Murrah Music Corporation and one of the most respected men in the industry, who hired Bryan as a staff songwriter for his company.

While working for Murrah, Bryan found success with his first publishing deal. His songs have been recorded by famous artists, from the band Ricochet (“Feel Like Fallin’”) and Travis Tritt (“My Honky-tonk History”). Bryan knows he’s fortunate though, since in this competitive industry, it takes most people years to get published or discovered. “Make it your passion,” Bryan says. “You gotta work hard and not give up. It’s tough to tell people how to write a song, but if you work, you get better.”

Midway through our conversation, Bryan lets out a yelp—the lady in the vehicle beside him has taken off her shoe and is dangling it out the window, imitating Bryan. “She probably thinks I have some kind of a shoe fetish,” Bryan groans. Clearly, his success hasn’t gone to his head.

Work for Bryan consists of going in around 10 a.m., and writing music until 4 p.m. when he heads home to his apartment in Franklin. “Sometimes, some guys will come over and we’ll write at night. I get my ideas through out the week, and I just go in and write. Some people have these weird things they do to get inspired,” says Bryan with a laugh, “but I just get an idea and write it.” Depending on the idea, the process can take anywhere from 100 hours to 20 minutes.

Bryan’s favorite thing to write about is his small-town upbringing. From Leesburg, Ga., his favorite song that he’s written to date is called “We Rode in Trucks” and is about his childhood. “We all just played together and rode in trucks,” Bryan chuckles. “It’s important to write about what’s going on in your life, and not be fake, so I tend to write about what I’m experiencing or have gone through.” Bryan claims his childhood is also where he received his musical experience. The youngest of three, Bryan says he’s had no professional experience, but played the piano and guitar in church and in local bands.

While Bryan enjoys his job, his true ambition is to be a recording artist, something he sees as “on the horizon.” He hopes to play on the Grand Ol’ Opry, win a Country Music Award or two, and have George Strait cut one of his songs, but for now, says Bryan, “I could leave tomorrow and all my expectations would’ve been met.” Coming from a guy with one shoe, that sounds like true success.
Nice guy! Hope he got some new shoes along with that record deal.


  1. Got his single on your iTunes? Can I listen or do I need to buy myself?

  2. oh Trish ... where would we be without her class??


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