Before They Were Famous

Before They Were Famous: Big Kenny Alphin
Big Kenny Alphin of Big and Rich might have the country record for most careers held before achieving success on Nashville's biggest stages. According to a 2005 article at Co-Opliving.com, the blond half of the duo held several jobs and ran several businesses before finishing high school. There…
Before They Were Famous: Kix Brooks
Kix Brooks enjoyed a colorful childhood that eventually included four years at military school before heading to Louisiana Tech University as a theater arts major. He was closer to 30 years old before he arrived in Nashville and scored a songwriting gig for Tree Publishing.
Before They Were Famous: Jason Aldean
Jason Aldean's country music dreams rode on the back of a Pepsi truck for years before he officially moved to Nashville. The singer began working at a Georgia Pepsi plant at age 17, and soon drove the delivery truck. "I was the guy that rode around in a truck and delivered drinks to all the con…
Before They Were Famous: Zac Brown
Before singing 'Chicken Fried,' Zac Brown was making fried chicken. The Zac Brown Band singer owned his own restaurant (Zac's Place) near Lake Oconee in Georgia and did much of the cooking. He had experience on the stove from serving up catfish at a place called Wagon Wheel and Big Macs at McDonald'…
Before They Were Famous: Gretchen Wilson
Before taking her talents to Nashville, Gretchen Wilson paid her dues in bars and clubs around rural Illinois. Mostly it was just one bar, a dive called Big O's. By age 15 she had dropped out of school to tend bar and cook for the rowdy customers. She worked her way up to manager pretty quickly…
Before They Were Famous: Toby Keith
Toby Keith began focusing on country music in the mid-80s, when he formed the Easy Money Band and toured Oklahoma and Texas relentlessly. Prior to that, he worked in the oil fields, even getting a job as an operation manager. A dip in the industry left him unemployed, so he played football with a se…
Before They Were Famous: James Otto
Before chasing his country music dreams, James Otto served two years in the U.S. Navy. In 1998, he decided he could get a dirty job in his home state of Washington or one in Nashville, where he could begin a career as a musician. With encouragement from his father, he moved and took any jo…
Before They Were Famous: Lee Brice
Before, and perhaps during, college at Clemson University, Lee Brice helped out at his father's commercial electric business in his hometown of Sumter, S.C. It's likely he didn't spend too much time 100 feet in the air in a tiny bucket during his tenure with dad, however. "I …
Before They Were Famous: Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood was 21 years old when she auditioned for 'American Idol,' and she was no slacker prior to doing so. She took jobs as early as her freshman year of high school, which is when she worked as an attendant at a Checotah, Okla...
Before They Were Famous: Willie Nelson
Prior to moving to Nashville, Willie Nelson served in the Air Force and took odd jobs while sharpening his songwriting pen. One of those gigs was at KVAN, a radio station in Vancouver, Washington.

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