odds of anyone actually making it in Nashville are not good. After a
series of singles from his self-titled album failed to break through at
country radio, the odds looked even worse for Tim McGraw. "I was
told by one producer to pack up and go home. I would never make it,"
McGraw says, laughing.
Following a huge hit is always tough for an artist,
but "All I
Want" sold more than three million copies and spawned the
five week Number One anthem "I Like It, I Love It." "I love that album,"
says McGraw. "It has some of my favorite songs I have ever recorded like
'Can't Be Really Gone.'" And of course, the fans loved it. "That's one
of my guiding thoughts. I am a fan myself. I go to shows, I listen to
the radio, and I watch other acts. I like to think about what the fans
By 1996, Tim McGraw became one of the hand-full
of top touring acts in country music. His choice of
Faith Hill as the
opening act for his "Spontaneous Combustion Tour" led not only to the
most successful country tour that year, but also to their marriage in
"My family keeps me focused. They are the most
important thing to me," adds McGraw. "Before them, it was just about
making music. Then I saw the responsibility that comes with being a
husband and a father. It required me to make some major adjustments."
With his personal life in order, Tim went into the
studio with co-producers Byron Gallimore and James Stroud. The result
could be heard everywhere. Even the industry experts were singing his
praises. Tim McGraw began to win awards. CMA Vocal Event of The
Year. Four ACM Awards. CMA Album of The Year. "Everywhere" became the
first Album of the Year two years running in Radio and Records Magazine.
The lead off single, "It's Your Love" became the first single in modern
history to spend six weeks at Number One in Billboard, and was declared
Single of The Year in 1997. "Just To See You Smile" accomplished the
same feat – six weeks at Number One in Billboard and another Single of
The Year in 1998.
And the roll continued: A major tour sponsorship from
Bud Light and success as a co-producer of
Dee Messina. "I'm really happy for Jo Dee," says McGraw. "She went
through her own tough times. She almost lost it all. We knew the only
answer was to make a great record." And they did. Her second album was
nominated for Album of The Year from the ACM. "I love producing," says
McGraw. "I try to bring an artist and fan perspective to the studio. But
I really rely on Byron Gallimore. He and James Stroud have been my
teachers in the studio. Any success I have had as a producer, I owe to
Shortly after Tim McGraw finished recording
he began work on his next album, "A
Place In The Sun." More than four
million copies have been sold. The project garnered the coveted Album of
The Year trophy at the 1999 CMA Awards.
"I have learned over the making of the first four
albums how important it is to give yourself the time to make a record.
With all the commitments an artist has, you just can't wait until the
last minute. We started looking for songs right away," says McGraw. He
has earned a reputation in Nashville as an artist with a great song
sense and is actively involved in the song search. The team around
McGraw aids in the search. Producer Byron Gallimore and his wife Missi
are the clearinghouse for most songs. "I have a team that works. We know
each other so well, personally and professionally. They work really hard
with all the publishers and writers to find what's right for me," states
Five singles were released, several multiple week
Number Ones. He acquired a second straight ACM win as Male Vocalist and
was named "Father of The Year" by the National Fatherhood Initiative, a
national non-profit organization.
Tim McGraw's box office draw continued its
upward climb as he launched "A Place In The Sun Tour," which featured
the Dixie Chicks, and added more fuel to the hot
tour for the third year. In addition, McGraw played a series of local
club shows, his way of getting back to his touring roots, dubbed "Bread
& Water," (based upon the pay!). McGraw would make a surprise
announcement the day of the show as to the location. Proceeds benefited
local children's charities.
On July 12, McGraw kicked-off the Soul 2 Soul -
2000 with Hill, which played to sell out crowds in 64 cities through
December 12, 2000, including a sold out show at Madison Square Garden in
New York City. "I took a picture of the marquee the day we arrived. I
waited a lifetime to sell out this venue!" explained McGraw. The Soul 2
Soul - 2000 wrapped as the top grossing country tour of the year, the
top five tour in all genres of music – grossing more than 50 million
Hits" package was launched to record
buyers just before Christmas of 2000, selling two million copies in two
months. It debuted at Number One on the country charts, selling 306,416
units, the highest sales debut of McGraw's career to date. The project
contained 15 previously released singles, which spent eight consecutive
weeks at Number One. The celebration of the tremendous sales launch was
sweet but McGraw kept his focus on the album he had anticipated. The
2001 Billboard Awards named the project "Album of the Year."
As the release date of the much anticipated studio
This Circus Down" moved closer, Tim McGraw relished
in the glory of his recent – and first – Grammy win (Vocal
Collaboration with Hill for "Let's Make Love"). The first glimpse of the
album came with the performance of "Things Change" during the 2000 CMA
Awards show. The standing ovation performance was taped by various radio
programmers, circulated through Napster, and ultimately charted.
The debut single, "Grown Men Don't Cry" became the
fastest rising single of McGraw's career and was followed by the #1
single "Angry All The Time."
The CMA named him "Entertainer of the Year" in