New Artist Spotlight: Luke Bryan
By Kristen Scherer

© 2007 CMA Close Up News Service / Country Music Association, Inc.

Luke Bryan comes by his Country-as-cornbread credentials honestly.

Growing up in rural Leesburg, Ga., the young singer/songwriter spent a good deal of his time farming peanuts, corn and cotton on surrounding farms and helping his dad in the fertilizer business. Country Music was everywhere, and Bryan grew up on a steady diet of Alan Jackson, George Strait, Conway Twitty and Hank Williams Jr. His dad bought him an Alvarez guitar and was soon taking him to Skinner's, a local watering hole, to let the youngster display his already-impressive vocal and guitar chops with local bands.

After high school, Bryan seemed destined for a Country Music career when tragedy struck the family. Just as the singer was preparing to leave for Nashville, the news came that his older brother Chris had been killed in an auto accident. Devastated, Bryan resolved to put aside his plans, enrolled in Georgia Southern University and after graduation, took a "real job" in the area at his father's agriculture business, to stay close to his family.

Finally, with his family's encouragement, Bryan moved to Music City in September 2001, secured a publishing deal with hit songwriter Roger Murrah's company and began writing the songs that would lead to a contract with Capitol Records Nashville.

Bryan co-wrote all 11 tracks on his self-titled debut released on Aug. 14, which was produced by Jeff Stevens, and includes debut single, "All My Friends Say," written with Stevens and Lonnie Wilson.

"I'm glad I waited before moving to Nashville," Bryan said. "Not only am I a better writer and singer with more performing experience, but I've also lived a lot more. I'm ready."

Who is your musical hero?
"Randy Owen."

Which song would you secretly like to cover?
"'Single Thing in Mind' by Conway Twitty."

What song do you wish you had written?
"Earl Thomas Conley's 'Might Be What I'd Say.'"

What word or phrase do you find yourself saying over and over again?
"We'll get it handled."

Who is your dream duet partner?
"Dolly Parton."

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August 21, 2007
© Juan Pont Lezica