When Ashley McBryde was growing up in Arkansas, she dreamed of being a singer and a songwriter. Unfortunately, McBryde's dreams were discouraged, with a teacher telling her that her career aspirations were "stupid."
McBryde could have listened to her teacher and given up on her dreams. Instead, those disparaging words became the fuel McBryde used to catapult her to hit singles and Grammy nominations, making McBryde grateful for the teacher, and others, who didn't believe.
"You really owe people like that a thank you," McBryde recently shared with PopCulture.com and other media. "But at the time you are like, 'Wow, what a piece of work you are!' Especially to someone as young as I was.
"When I was in high school, that teacher told me I was stupid – granted it was a math class," she added with a laugh. "But that it wasn't gonna happen for me, no matter what I did. I was from Arkansas and it wasn't going to happen, and that can be really damaging to a kid. And for some reason I was like, 'Okay, well let's make sure that you're wrong.' And people like that, you really owe them a debt of gratitude."
Because McBryde had already become accustomed to people not believing in her potential, her move to Music City was much less intimidating than it might have been if she hadn't already experienced so much disappointment.
"Those are also your first experiences with no," said McBryde. "When you move to Nashville you are gonna get a bazillion of those. So it's good to get your first one, then your skin gets a litter thicker and a little thicker. Sure it wasn't wonderful and I was in the tenth grade but is still, but its still really hard to do. You should thank people like that."
McBryde's teacher isn't the only one who tried to squelch McBryde's dreams. Her own father, who suffers from a degenerative disease, has yet to see her music as anything but a passing hobby.
"Just a few years ago, right when he was first getting sick, we took a trip together," the reigning ACM New Female Vocalist of the Year told CBS News. "And he said, 'Well, just tell me something. Promise me that when you've made your money and had your fill of all this music stuff, you'll go to medical school.'"
"You can say anything you want, you know, about me and about us and the music we make, but my daddy doesn't approve of it," she continued. "So how bad is it gonna hurt me if you say that?"
Photo Credit: Getty / Jason Davis