When Luke Bryan was 19 years old, he was preparing to move to Nashville to pursue his dreams of being a country singer. Before he could make his big move, his family suffered a tragedy when his older brother, Chris, was unexpectedly killed in a car accident.
Instead of heading to Music City, Bryan stayed close to home in Georgia to support his mom and work for the family business.
“We knew Luke at some point would come to Nashville,” his mother told ABC. “But … you can’t leave your family, and … I couldn’t bear the thought of him being away.”
He attended Georgia Southern University and was basically forced to move to Nashville in 2001. Bryan was working for his dad, who fired him and urged him to pursue his dreams.
He started out as a songwriter and one of his first cuts was the title track of Travis Tritt’s album My Honky Tonk History.
In a new interview on Sunday Today with Willie Geist, Bryan opened up about the impact his brother’s death had on him.
“It just totally rocked our family’s world, rocked my world,” Bryan said. “It makes you appreciate chasing dreams, you know. You’re like, ‘Hey, you get one go-round at this thing called life and it’s very fragile, so you better go after your dreams.’”
His interview with Geist will air on Sunday (April 2), the same day he is co-hosting the 52nd Annual ACM Awards with Dierks Bentley.
Bryan is living proof that there is life after tragedy. Following his Opry debut in 2007, his sister passed away of unknown causes, and many years later her husband died in 2014, leaving Bryan and his wife, Caroline Boyer, to care for their teenage son.
Watch him sing about loss in his hit song “Drink A Beer” below.
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