With his bold vocals and rugged allure, there's certain chemistry when a great vocalist collides with southern country songs. The impact is undeniable. Travis Rice's confident baritone voice and winning stage presence have earned the adoration of country music fans for several years and he is now ready to show the industry what he's made of.
The best country music is collected by real-life experience even from a very young age. Growing up in a tiny community of Westel, Tennessee (right outside of Crossville, TN), young Rice was always intrigued by music. "I would write lyrics and poems and listen to music long before I learned to play an instrument," says Rice. "When I got to high school, I would sing constantly, and the fact that I had a 30-minute drive to and from school every day, I got in an hour of practice." With influences ranging from his father's rock love of Bruce Springsteen, Bad Company and AC/DC to his mother's pop collection of Michael Bolton, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion as well as her country classics, he connected with country music on a deeper level. "I was truly inspired by Randy Travis, Travis Tritt and Garth Brooks."
As the youngest of the family, Rice grew up with 2 brothers and one sister (Julie being the oldest, followed by Josh and Jonathan). "We grew up in an amazing home and we really learned the meaningof love andsupportingone another. My familymembersaretrulymy closest friends."
Rice's talents began to soar as high school approached. The pages of his yearbook are peppered with photos of his love for athletics and music. Despite these early yearnings, he was not always set on a music career. Rice was an avid basketball player practicing free throws and nailing his jump shot every day after school. That is, until hissenior year when he had the realization that the sport wasn't exactly calling his name. When he was fifteen, he considered learning drums or guitar because, "those were the two the girls liked," grins Rice. "Considering I built a homemade drum kit in our basement with 5 gallon buckets, paint cans and hub caps, mom quickly tried to persuade me towards the guitar. Luckily, she succeeded."
His surreal feeling as a performer came when he was a sophomore at Roane State Community College, performingat a benefit concert at his college theater. A friend of his, Jamie, puttogethera benefittoraisemoneyfortheir buddy Cody, who was diagnosedwith brain cancer at just 19 years old. "At that time, Jamie and I had been playing and writing together for a few months when he asked if I would sing. Nervous as I was, I said yes and when the time came to step out on stage and perform my acoustic set, I remember thinking this is the scariest most exhilarating feeling I've ever felt. Once I stepped out and strummed my first chord, the nerves went away and I experienced a feeling of joy and an all around 'badassness' that I had never felt."
After graduating from Roane State and moving on to Middle Tennessee State University for his bachelor's in business, music had taken its hold on him. He balanced school work with playing shows, writing and networking. "Music fit well into my college years, from bonfires in a small town to spring breaks in Panama City Beach with thousands of people, having a guitar in hand always made me feel at home."
When Rice isn't attached to his six string or on the road performing, this country hunk is truly a thrill seeker and a risk taker. "Spare time that's not spent at the lake usually consists of riding in the mountains with my brothers. You give us a boat or a jeep and some great tunes and we can entertain ourselves for days!"
With a brand new album set to be released summer 2016, this Tennessee native has come a long way from the small town bars to the bright lights of Music City. Rice is earning his stripes sharing the stage with the likes of Colt Ford, Craig Morgan, Rhett Atkins, Little Texas, Con Hunley, and others. He thrives for the moments when he connects with his fans. "The second a stranger in the crowd is completely lost in the moment with me onstage, I know the real power that musichas.
Music has always been my journal. If you want to know who I am, just listen to my music. It's a snapshot of what was happening in my life during that time." With real emotion behind his songs, Rice is destined to remind fans and performers why we all love and connect with country music. When all is said and done, he lives by his motto: "It's better to regret the things you did than the things you never had the nerve to try."
- Country Singer Songerwriter