Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
For many rising Country music artists, the ultimate goal is to relocate to Nashville, the heart of Music City, in pursuit of launching their careers. However, Toby Keith never budged in his decision to not make the move— despite the potential setbacks it may have caused him in his career.
In a February interview with News 9, the late Toby Keith discussed his decision not to relocate to Nashville, even though, at times, it would have helped his career.
Raised in the small town of Moore, Oklahoma, Toby Keith had a strong connection to his hometown, so much so, that the ranch he would live on as an adult was situated on the land where he had fished as a little kid.
“I grew up fishing in the river that goes along my ranch here. This is where I was raised. This is where I come home to.” Keith says.
Despite the opportunities for fame and success in Music City, Toby stood firm in his decision to stick with Oklahoma.
“I never felt right about moving to another city,” he explained.
“I can go to the house in Colorado, I can go to Cabo, in the winter I go to my lake house in Grand Lake..I can go anywhere in the world I wanna go but after six or seven days, I’m like ‘I gotta get back to my ranch. I need to get back to my home.'”
For Toby, the sense of belonging and familiarity in his hometown outweighed any potential career advancements elsewhere.
Yet, Toby’s loyalty to his roots came at a price. In an industry where connections often pave the way to success, he found himself on the outskirts of Nashville’s tight-knit music community. The lack of ties to people in the industry meant missed opportunities and overlooked achievements. Despite chart-topping hits and weeks of being No.1, Toby’s absence from the Nashville inner circle jeopardized his chances at awards.
“There’s only a certain amount of signed-up voters in Nashville that vote on these awards,” Toby explained. “Me not living there… I don’t have the network that everybody else has.”
At the end of the day though, Toby remained certain in his decision, prioritizing his personal life over awards and recognition.
“I didn’t care,” he stated. “I’ll sacrifice that to get to live here.”
In Toby Keith’s world, the value of home outweighed the benefits fame could ever bring, proving that his humble priorities shaped him into the down-to-earth performer the world recognized him to be.