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My dream was to go to Nashville. I had my sights set on my dream. I used to have an '89 Toyota Ford truck. On the front of the truck, I had this license plate with cowboy boots and a guitar that I had airbrushed at Wal-Mart. It said 'Chasin' A Dream.' That was kind of my motto.
Nashville is wicked. It's like a proper music community, but it's also quintessentially American. You bump into people there with cowboy hats that spit in jars and call you 'boy.' I just love that.
I can only say the first thing that pops into my mind is I remember, years ago, seeing kind of a has-been country singer working - when I first moved to Nashville - in a bar in a Holiday Inn.
I have no regrets. I feel very grateful for the life that I had - you know, family I live with; and I've been doing work that I love, ever since I came to Nashville.
Nashville is my home, and the reason why I get to do what I love.
The thing I like about 'Nashville,' it just happens to be about musicians, and all the music is practical, meaning it's performed at a concert or during a rehearsal.
There's nothing like Nashville for making records.
I knew what I wanted to be, but I didn't know exactly how to get there. I thought you move to Nashville, you sing downtown, and someone discovers you, and you become a country music star. I had no idea.
I think I first realized I wanted to be in country music and be an artist when I was 10. And I started dragging my parents to festivals, and fairs, and karaoke contests, and I did that for about a year before I came to Nashville for the first time. I was 11 and I had this demo CD of me singing Dixie Chicks and Leanne Rimes songs.
I went to my dad when I was 17 and said, 'I want to be a country music star.' Which every dad loves to hear. And he said, 'I want you to go to college.' So we had a discussion. And I'm pretty stubborn. I'm a lot like him. And he said, 'If you go to college and graduate, I'll pay your first six months of rent in Nashville.' So he bribed me.
My first place in Nashville was like 'Animal House.' The whole band lived under one roof, and most nights the jam sessions ended close to sunrise.
My biggest extravagances are also investments. I have several houses in California, a house in Nashville, an office complex, and I bought the old home place in Tennessee. They are different places for me to write, but I can turn right around and sell them.
I come from this really small town near Nashville, Tennessee, where everything was la-di-da and normal.
If you had told me when I was starting out that I would be coming down to Nashville, kind of weaving in and out of the country scene, I never would've thought that in a million years.
When I first came to Nashville, people hardly gave country music any respect. We lived in old cars and dirty hotels, and we ate when we could.
One of my pet peeves about Nashville is that it tends to be copycatted. I don't want to do that. I've got to be different.
All I knew when I moved to Nashville was that I wanted to make music in whatever shape and form I could.
I moved to Nashville at 17 to make music, and since then I've put everything I have into doing it right.
Nashville was totally different than I ever dreamed. I had only seen the music business on television and been to a couple of concerts. I had no clue.
You know Nashville, there's people that are ten times more talented than me, ten times better singer than me, song writer than me, but for some reason you get the ball and now - and now you run with it. And you do the best you can.
I think the defining moment in my career is the day that I moved to Nashville - September 1, 2001. That's the biggest step to getting here is making that move. Anything that happens, the wonderful opportunities that happen to you, can't happen until you make that move.
I will always really work hard to write as much as I can, but I also love sitting back and waiting on those big Nashville songwriters to send me some great songs, too.
Every July, I look forward to taping a Christmas show - in July in Nashville. In 98-degree weather. I love it.
Larry the Cable Guy
Country artists, I met a lot of them when I was five, six years old. I had an uncle who was a country and western singer and I met Lefty Frizzell when I was five or six years old in those shows that would come through Toronto from Nashville.
I don't know if Nashville will ever be ousted as the Music City. But I also think that here, over the last few years, Georgia has definitely kind of risen to the top as far as the crop of young artists coming out of this area that are kind of making waves, you know?
John F. Kennedy
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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