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Grand Ole Opry Member since 1976
Too restless and innovative to rest on his laurels as one of the great country music entertainers of all time, Ronnie Milsap continues to evolve.
One of the most versatile and talented performers in country music, Milsap's trademark country-soul voice has earned him 40 #1 hits, six Grammy Awards and the industry's highest recognition the coveted CMA Entertainer of the Year. He is a classically trained pianist who has mastered such instruments as guitar, violin, clarinet and cello. He has been one of the few country performers to venture beyond the parameters of country music and find mass success in the pop arena.
His smooth voice has been a mainstay on both pop and country radio for three decades with such hits as "Day Dreams About Night Things," (There's) No Gettin' Over Me," "I Wouldn't Have Missed It For The World," "Smoky Mountain Rain" and "Any Day Now." His live shows, known for their spontaneity and diversity, are among the most popular in country today.
"I'm looking for the music that would say what I'm trying to do right now," says Milsap. "I've got to be honest, I'm not exactly sure what that is."
"I hope basically to rediscover my own identity," he says. "There's a blessing and a curse of being able to do everything. I grew up in the Smoky Mountains and have a background in country, bluegrass and gospel, and then I went to school and studied classical music for 10 years. I played jazz and R&B gigs and was an R&B singer early on. All of that makes it hard to figure out and redefine what your identity is."
Born with congenital cataracts that left him blind, Milsap was raised by his paternal grandparents in Robbinsville, NC. His first musical exposure was to the gospel music played at revival tent meetings and the bluegrass sounds coming from local musicians.
He began his professional career in 1965 with Scepter Records, an R&B label, and hit the Top 5 with "Never Had It So Good." He then moved to Memphis and played in numerous sessions and concerts, backing such acts as JJ Cale, Petula Clark and Dionne Warwick. A highlight of this era was Milsap's unforgettable keyboard work on Elvis Presley's "Kentucky Rain."
He moved to Nashville in 1972 and his career skyrocketed six months later when he signed with RCA Records. He celebrated his first No. 1, "Pure Love" one year later. That was followed by 39 other chart-toppers celebrated from the seventies until the nineties, including "Daydreams About Night Things," the million-selling "It Was Almost Like A Song" and "What A Difference You've Made In My Life."
Milsap is a three-time CMA Male Vocalist of the Year winner, and a four-time CMA Album of the Year recipient. The Academy of Country Music named him Best Male Vocalist in 1983 and he won Song of the Year in 1986 for "Lost In The Fifties Tonight." He is the recipient of the only gold Braille album ever awarded.
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