One of Nashville’s brightest stars, Brad Paisley is a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter who has ascended with lightening speed to the top of the country music. With immense musical talent, boy-next-door good looks, an easygoing personality and a wonderful sense of self-deprecating humor that shines through in his songs and videos, Paisley has quickly become the quintessential A-list country star. Adored by women, admired by the guys, and highly respected by his own peers, Brad Paisley is on the fast track to what should be his ultimate destination, the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Origins and Early Musical Successes
Born on October 28, 1972 in the northern West Virginia town of Glen Dale, Brad Douglas Paisley’s musical journey began when his maternal grandfather, Warren Jarvis, gave him his first guitar and taught him to play. Two short years later, Paisley made his first public appearance, performing at a local church. By 12, he was writing songs and fronting his first band, called the C-Notes. One of the band’s members was his guitar teacher, a 50-something man named Clarence “Hank” Goddard.>
After a successful show at the local Rotary Club, Paisley was invited to perform on the famous Jamboree USA radio program in Wheeling. He was then invited to join the program full-time, and over the next six years he opened for stars like Roy Clark, The Judds and Little Jimmy Dickens, who he would eventually feature in many of his own music videos.
Moves to Nashville
After graduating from John Marshall High School in Glen Dale, Paisley spent two years at West Liberty State College (WV) before transferring to Nashville’s Belmont University on a full-paid scholarship from ASCAP. It was here he began making the initial contacts that would help open doors for him in Music City, including Frank Rogers, who became his producer, and Kelley Lovelace, his primary songwriting partner.
Shortly after graduating from Belmont, Paisley landed a songwriting deal with EMI Music Publishing. His earliest songwriting credits include David Kersh’s top-5 hit “Another You,” and David Ball’s 1999 single “Watching My Baby Not Come Back,” which he co-wrote with Ball. During this time, Paisley also appeared on numerous demos that circulated around Nashville.
Signs His First Major Recording Contract
Paisley signed his first major recording contract with Arista in 1998. A year later he released his debut solo album, Who Needs Pictures, which spawned two chart-topping singles, “He Didn’t Have to Be” and “We Danced.” During that time he also collaborated with Chely Wright on “Hard to Be a Husband, Hard to Be a Wife,” which appeared on the Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry compilation.
He made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry stage in May of 1999. Opry legend Jim Ed Brown introduced Paisley to the crowd. In 2000, he gained even more exposure when he was featured on The Learning Channel’s Route 66: Main Street America, along with Grammy-winning blues legend Buddy Guy.
The Awards Begin Flying In
In 1999, Paisley took home the first of what would become an avalanche of major awards through the next decade. He won the Academy of Country Music’s Best New Male Vocalist trophy, followed in 2000 by winning the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award (now called the Best New Artist award). He also received his first Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. Paisley was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on February 17, 2001.
Brad Marries a Movie Star
In 1991 Paisley took his girlfriend at the time to see the Steve Martin movie Father of the Bride. They eventually broke up. Four years later when the sequel came out, he went to the theater in the hopes that his former girlfriend might actually show up. She didn’t. While watching the movie, Paisley stared at the film’s young star, Kimberly Williams, daydreaming that someday he’d like to marry a girl like her.
Five years later in 2000, Paisley and Kimberly Williams started dating. In 2002 she appeared in the video for his song, “I’m Gonna Miss Her (the Fishing Song).” Paisley and Kimberly Williams married on March 15, 2003 on the campus of Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. Today they split their time between the Nashville suburb of Franklin and Malibu.
Most Popular Brad Paisley Songs
- “He Didn’t Have to Be”
- “I’m Gonna Miss Her (the Fishing Song)”
- “Whiskey Lullaby” (with Alison Krauss)
- “Mud on the Tires”
- “Start a Band” (with Keith Urban)
Brad Paisley Discography