Just as country music is singing its high notes, reaching
more people than ever before, another budding star has entered the arena,
ready to fuel the fire.
That star? Luke Bryan.
The Georgia native – fresh off hit singles, “All My Friends
Say” and “We Rode in Trucks” – is poised to be the bolt that shoots country
music to the next atmosphere.
“I’m just ready to ride the wave,” says Bryan. “Country
music is as strong, I think, as it’s ever been.”
It is on that strength that Bryan has built his career,
citing Conway Twitty, Ronnie Milsap and country stalwarts Alabama and
George Strait his musical luminaries. Although a great songwriter – having
written songs for fellow country crooners, Billy Currington and Travis Tritt
– Bryan wants to be known first as a singer.
“In the end, to be at the highest level of music, I feel you
have to be a great singer,” confesses Bryan. “I may turn out to be a better
songwriter than singer, though”
Music, sort of, fell into the lap of Luke Bryan in the form
of a guitar. After getting the instrument as a present, Bryan gave it a
trial run at some local bars and clubs around Leesburg, Georgia.
“Having fun at those shows, watching people connect did it
for me,” says Bryan. “At that moment, I hoped I could do this as a career.”
That ambition took a detour but never went too far of
course, as Bryan attended college at Georgia Southern University. It was at
college that Bryan began writing more songs and recorded his first album,
which he sold at local college bars.
helped with every aspect,” says Bryan of college. “The growing up
aspect, the business aspect, all took shape in college.”
Graduating with a degree in business, Bryan set his eyes on
Nashville, where he signed a songwriting contract. While honing his
penmanship, Bryan continued to play shows, performing his own material.
The hard work and consistency paid off when a music industry
executive heard Bryan performing at one of his
out-of-the-way shows. He soon signed a
full-fledged recording contract with recording industry giant, Capitol
Records, and its country music division Capitol Nashville.
After paying the prerequisite dues, Bryan can now boast his
own creation, in the form of his debut album, I’ll Stay Me.
The unapologetic title is Bryan’s way of saying, “what you see is what you
“A lot of people in entertainment change who they are,”
explains Bryan. “My thing is I make it [music] a part of who I am, and I
think that is a good philosophy.”
A good philosophy or not, Bryan is able to connect with his
new legion of friends with his down-home, college boy good looks and catchy
songs. His first single, “All My Friends Say,” is undoubtedly a song that
rose from his days in school. Its infectious swagger, along with bluesy
piano and sing along chorus, conjures up images of a wild college night.
“We Rode in Trucks,” the second single, is bouncy ode to summer nights in
Georgia. The sentimental, guitar-driven love song, “First Love
Song,” will become a crowd favorite, with its dedicated lyrics to his “one
and from now on.”
His delivery may remind you of Alan Jackson or George
Strait, to whom he is often compared. “Stereotypes and comparisons come to
every artist,” says Bryan. “But with ever passing moment, as people get to
know me more, the stereotypes go away.”
Although he already has an impressive resume, Bryan feels
like he is just getting started.
“I do music for the love of it, and I hope to keep enjoying
it,” says Bryan.
He has his eyes set on working with another country music
luminary. “Dolly Parton is on top of my list,” says Bryan. “I’d also be
flattered to work with George Strait and Alan Jackson.”
He hopes one day to be considered one of those shining stars
of country music.
“I hope to move up the ladder and do it the natural way,”
The natural way, for Bryan, is continuing to embrace his
fans at the smaller venues, building his base.
“The beauty of country music is that once you lay the ground
work, you can have a long career,” says Bryan “Each time I get on stage, I
enjoy it more and more.”