Darius Rucker never questioned the fact that country music is where he belonged. Even when he was serving as frontman for GRAMMY-winning rock group Hootie & the Blowfish in the 1990s, he admits he was pulled to the music and lyrics of Nashville. But it wasn’t until 2008, when he released his debut country solo album Learn to Live (which went straight to No. 1), that he realized this dream was finally within reach.
Still, even Rucker couldn’t have imagined how well the journey would go. His following two albums, Charleston, S.C. 1966 and this year’s True Believers, both soared to the top of the charts. Together they’ve so far spawned six No. 1 singles and sold more than two million copies. And perhaps most importantly, in 2012 Rucker was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry, permanently affixing his place in country music history.
Rucker talked with Radio.com while on the red carpet at the recent ACM Honors about his success, his family and the one accolade that surprised even him.
Radio.com: From your very first country single, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” you have been well received. Why do you think that is?
Darius Rucker: The music. I think I made records, since early on, that people wanted to listen to. And I think when I took my single to radio, they couldn’t say it wasn’t country. That was something that was really important to us. And I think that helped, and I think I’m kind of a nice guy. Being a nice guy, trying to prove that nice guys don’t always finish last.
You write almost every song on your albums. Why is that important to you?
Because I’m a songwriter. Don’t get me wrong, if I had gotten 13 great songs that I didn’t write, I would have recorded them. But I wanted to write songs. I like writing about my life and what’s going on with me, so it was important for me to write that stuff.