Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
In a rare find captured on video, fans are treated to a nostalgic journey as they witness one of Toby Keith’s earliest televised performances.
The footage unveils a glimpse into Keith’s early years as a rising country star 30 years ago. Singing the News 9 jingle, “The Spirit of Oklahoma,” this moment marks one of the Oklahoma native’s first appearances on television.
In an exclusive interview with News 9, the original broadcaster of the video clip, Keith reminisces about the unexpected opportunity that landed him on TV. Despite the simplicity of the job offer, Keith was thrilled for the exposure.
“Out of the blue, one day, they called me and said, ‘We’re going to want you to sing the jingle,’” Keith said. “As silly as it was, I was just glad to get on TV.”
His determination was fueled by witnessing fellow Oklahoman Reba McEntire perform the same jingle. Inspired to follow in her footsteps, Keith eagerly embraced the chance to showcase his talents on his local news station.
Prior to landing a spot on television though, Keith came close to abandoning his dreams of becoming a country music artist.
In 1993, at the age of 30, Keith was without a record contract and had responsibilities to his family weighing on him, making the likelihood of pursuing his dream seem increasingly doubtful.
“It even got to the point where I was like, if I get to 30 and I haven’t done this, I am going to switch occupations.”
Fortunately, Keith’s luck took a turn for the better when Mercury Music stumbled upon a cassette of his songs. Impressed, they wasted no time in offering him a record deal. “He signed me the next morning,” Keith recounts. “He said, ‘I’m going to sign you to a record deal, and I am going to produce you.'”
Previously rejected by major labels like Capitol Records, Keith’s debut single, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” defied the odds, topping the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and even making waves on the Billboard Hot 100.
Keith quickly transitioned from performing small gigs on news channels to performing to sold-out audiences around the globe, marking the start of his extraordinary career as one of the most iconic artists in Country music.
View this post on Instagram