Welcome to Radio Feedback, Radio.com’s weekly feature where we ask artists to wax nostalgic on the first time they heard themselves on the radio. In honor of September being country music month at Radio.com HQ, country artists will weigh in each week.
Luke Bryan admits country radio has changed a lot since his debut on the airwaves.
It was 2007, Bryan had just released first single “All My Friends Say,” and he was driving back to Nashville from his hometown of Montgomery, Alabama. Bryan was probably halfway home when he heard the song come on the radio.
“It was a big moment,” Bryan told Radio.com of the song, which would become his first chart entry, reaching No. 5 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. “And it’s still that way. Every time I’m talking on the phone and I see my name going across the [radio’s] digital screen, it’s like, ‘Oh yeah!'”
Even now, after releasing his fourth album Crash My Party last month, he says that excitement hasn’t gone away. Country radio has always been to him what defines the real stars of the genre.
“It’s the most important resource in building artists,” Bryan said. “It’s really a special thing to see yourself and hear yourself on the radio.”
Bryan says the current shift in country radio, which has broadened to include more pop-leaning artists like Taylor Swift and Florida Georgia Line, who teamed up with rapper Nelly on their song “Cruise,” is an example of the new country fan who no longer just listens to country music.
Bryan includes himself in that category of country fans who listens to pop, rock and hip-hop. It seems that line from Bryan’s song “That’s My Kind Of Night,” which talks about his country hip-hop mixtape featuring “a little Conway and a little T-Pain,” isn’t all that far-fetched.
“I grew up in the country-iest part of Georgia, and we were riding our bicycles listening to Beastie Boys and Run DMC and our parents didn’t know what we were doing,” he said. “This day and age it’s all socially accepted. I think everybody understands that all forms of music are available at your fingertips and so I just think it’s a natural happening that makes things fun and fresh.”