How Charley Pride Took a 15-Year-Old Brad Paisley Under His Wing
Add Brad Paisley to the considerable list of country stars who have the late, great Charley Pride to thank for their careers.
Shortly after news broke of Pride's passing due to complications from Covid-19, Paisley took to social media to share the story of how the pioneering crooner took him under his wing when he was just a teenager.
"The most generous, kind, trailblazing man has left us," Paisley wrote alongside a photo himself and Pride performing together at the CMA Awards in 2016. "I met Charley Pride when I was 15. He gave his home phone number to my dad and said, 'I'd love to help your son.' And help he did. I am so blessed to have had so many memories with him."
Since the release of his first album in 1999, Paisley has sold over 11 million albums and taken home three Grammy Awards, 14 Academy of Country Music Awards, 14 Country Music Association Awards, and two American Music Awards.
Pride, who was born to sharecroppers in Sledge, Mississippi, in 1934, was the first Black artist to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and only the second Black artist to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. He received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. He died on December 12 and the age of 86.
"I'm devastated," Paisley's Instagram post concludes. "You changed country music for the better, Charley. And you changed this kid's life. We love you."