By Lorie Hollabaugh
© 2014 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.
Brett Eldredge opened the biggest year of his career in 2013, with a chart-topping smash, “Don’t Ya” (written by Eldredge, Chris DeStefano and Ashley Gorley). He also toured with Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift, and has made numerous media appearances, including atop a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
But success wasn’t quick in coming to the hard-working artist. His first single, “Raymond” (Eldredge and Truman Bradley Crisler), a heartfelt song about an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s, was released to critical acclaim but mediocre chart achievement. When a second single failed to reach the Top 40, he decided to pause, regroup and ultimately work even harder to make his mark.
“I went back into the studio, writing sometimes two times a day,” he recalled. “I thought, ‘I’m gonna get this record right. I’m gonna get my first album out. I want to do this for the rest of my life. I don’t want it to stop now. I don’t want this little miss to be the end of my career. I’m gonna start here!’ That fired me up.”
That also gave him the idea of titling his first album Bring You Back. “That song (the title cut, by Ross Copperman and Heather Morgan) signified what was going on in my career. I had to remind myself what it was like when I first got to Nashville. I didn’t care who told me no and what it took to get to the top and get a publishing deal. I learned to write songs and I started knocking on doors. And when you start going out to radio, there’ll be times that not everybody totally believes in you right away, because it’s new to them. You have to take some of that rejection, turn yourself into an animal and say, ‘OK, I gotta make them believe in this.’ So I brought myself back to that fire I had when I first started.”
“Opportunities for Brett have come about because of his undeniable talent, work ethic and infectious personality,” said Brad Bissell, Eldredge’s agent at CAA. “He’s fortunate to have relationships with artists who are willing to give him a hand. Trace Adkins and Miranda Lambert were the first to offer him opening slots. Keith (Urban) has been a longtime supporter. When ‘Raymond’ came out, Keith mentioned in an interview how the song affected him. And when ‘Don’t Ya’ went to the top of the charts, the timing was finally right for Keith to offer Brett a place on his tour. Brett has always been grateful for Keith’s early support. And now Brett is very happy to be working with Keith this summer.”
Eldredge continues to push his career to new heights — which may prove to be hazardous, given that his label and management bet him he had to skydive if “Don’t Ya” hit No. 1. “I remember ‘Don’t Ya’ got to 25 and then 15, and then all of a sudden it was like, ‘Maybe we need to start researching skydiving places! Maybe this could happen,’” he recalled. “Flash forward and I’m looking out the window at 14,000 feet up. That song took about a year to get to the top, and I’m looking out the window and this is about to happen! And I’m freaked out about heights. I never, ever would have done that if I didn’t test myself with a goal — and it made me live a lot more. I just want to make sure I enjoy it along the way.”
On the Web: www.BrettEldredge.com
On Twitter: @BrettEldredge
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