"The Difference" hitmaker Tyler Rich is gaining momentum for his country music, but let's admit it — he's not hard on the eyes. He swears it hasn't always been this way.

"I went through an awkward stage," Rich admits during an interview with Taste of Country, laughing as he says it. "I was super chunky when I was a little kid. I blame it on my wisdom teeth being taken out when I was 9 years old, because all you can eat is yogurt and ice cream and I already had a sweet tooth and I realized that was all I was able to live on for awhile."

There was also that growth spurt.

"In sixth grade I started getting tall and got myself a girlfriend in high school, but then I got chunky again, and then I got taller again," Rich recalls. "It was an awkward time, that’s for sure."

Come November 16, Rich will head out on the road with Brett Young on the CMT on Tour: Here Tonight tour, and the newcomer explains that it can be awfully tough to keep a regular workout schedule while out on the road.

"I’m constantly out there trying to find a gym on the road and knock it out for 45 minutes," Rich says. “When I think about the gym, it's always the last thing I want to do, but the second I get there and starts the weights, it's like the adrenaline kicks in — along with the mental clarity. I recently read that seven minutes is all you need for the mental health benefits of a workout."

He's found he has learned to love exercising. He has also come to love getting a tattoo every once in awhile. The California native got his first tattoo back when he was in high school.

“I got my first tattoo two days after I turned 18,” he recalls. “All of my friends had been turning 18 before me, so I was one of the last ones to get one and I was jealous that everyone else was showing up to class senior year with tattoos."

Rich reveals his first tattoo featured some of his favorite lyrics from one of his favorite songs back in the day. "The tattoo read ‘these knuckles break before they bleed’ and then I got this guitar coming out of this rose,” he shares. “It was kinda like I was saying, ‘I’m going to do something bigger than this small town' and, ‘I’m going to die before I give up.”

Another tattoo has an even more special meaning to Rich, even to this day.

"My mom is a flight attendant,” he says. “She has been a flight attendant my whole life, so even though she was gone three or four days every week for the most part when I was younger, she’s my best friend."

So Rich ended up getting a tattoo as a tribute to her. “Even though she was gone a lot of weekends and couldn’t see a lot of my shows, she went to the ones she could,” he says. “It made her cry the most, but it also pissed her off the most, too, because I had said that I wouldn’t get any more tattoos.”

Less than a week ago, Rich got another tattoo:

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