Josh Turner: Grandmother, Children, Faith Are His Inspirations
It's been almost 15 years since Josh Turner released his debut album, Long Black Train. Since then, Turner has released five more albums and charted 14 singles, including his recent No. 1 hit "Hometown Girl." The music Turner gravitates toward now, and the person he has become, is a far cry from the 25-year-old who was just starting out, unsure of his place in the music business.
"I’ve learned a lot. That first record, for me, was such a learning experience, because I didn’t know how the process was supposed to work," Turner shared with The Boot and other reporters at a recent media event. "And luckily, I didn’t have somebody come in and try to tell me how it worked. For me, I was just following my heart. I’ve had so many knock-down dragouts with label execs and A&R guys and publishers over songs, and which ones to cut, which ones not to, and I just always stood my ground."
Turner is a devout Christian and has refused to sing about certain subject matters, though he has always been open to listening to the advice of others, especially those with whom he works closely. It's his beliefs that Turner credits with helping him continue to find success, especially with "Hometown Girl."
"I’ve always been somebody who’s been very convicted about what’s right for me and what’s not. But, at the same time, I’ve always been wise enough to listen to advice from people who have my best interest at heart," Turner explains. "And so, you take that and you add in 14, 15 years of experience -- I think it’s helped me to not get caught in a rut but, at the same time, maintain my integrity and what my music is all about and what I have to say. So, this has been a cool process for me, because I had no idea where this was going to go."
Turner channeled his years of experience into his latest album, Deep South, released earlier this year.
"This record was a culmination of the old and the new and everything in between," says Turner. ""Hometown Girl" was a huge part of me trying to find a new way to make 'Josh Turner music.' I was very pleased to see how the fans have enjoyed listening to this, and that it wasn’t some experiment gone awry. I have to be content and satisfied with what we do in the studio in order for me to be able to sleep at night, whether it’s personally successful or not."
I’ve always been somebody who’s been very convicted about what’s right for me and what’s not. But, at the same time, I’ve always been wise enough to listen to advice from people who have my best interest at heart.
Turner has a number of strong role models in his life, including his grandmother, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday.
"She’s pretty active. She always has a positive outlook on things, no matter how tragic they may seem to other people," Turner boasts. "Her faith in the Lord has been strong throughout her whole life.
"She just enjoys life, and she doesn’t let anything get her down -- I think that’s been the key," the proud grandson continues. "[My wife], Jennifer, was saying the other day, ‘She’s such a role model for me,' because she just buried her husband, and she just buried her second child, and she’s out-lived everything that’s been dear to her. She’s out-lived her money, she’s out-lived all the stuff, but yet she’s still got a smile on her face when she gets up in the morning, and she loves life, and so it’s such a good example for anybody, really."
Does his grandmother have any secrets to her longevity? The tee-totaling singer says the matriarch has one surprising habit that may or may not have added a few years to her life: "She started drinking margaritas a few years ago."
"I guess better late than never," Turner quips with a laugh.
In addition to his grandmother and wife, Turner's family also includes four sons: Hampton, Colby, Marion and Samuel (known by his middle name, Hawke). The boys, who range in age from two to 10, are far more important to Turner than any career success or accolades.
"I’m pretty proud of them, honestly: They’re very talented and good at whatever they put their mind to. They’re heavily involved in music and sports and church and school and everything. Sometimes they’re about as busy as I am ...," Turner says. "But, they’re all totally different -- different personalities -- but like I said, they’re just very well-mannered and talented and funny and just a joy to be around. Makes me proud to be a father."
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