Josh Turner has spent plenty of time with his friend Randy Travis over the years, but before they met for the first time, Travis was simply Turner's biggest hero. Speaking to Chrissy Metz on Apple Music Country, Turner recalled the night he first met the country music icon, sharing an important lesson he learned from the singer before they even spoke.
Turner shared that the first time he met Travis was at the ACM Awards in Las Vegas. "I was sitting a few rows back from him and I was like, I can't even tell you how excited and scared I was," he recalled. "Because I'm thinking, 'Here's the guy that inspired me to move to Nashville, to chase this record deal.' I got the record deal, here I am, sitting at the ACM Awards and he's right up there. I'm freaking out."
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The singer explained that he had heard "so many stories of people meeting their hero and it's just in passing, and you don't get to tell them what you want to tell them. Or they're a jerk or whatever. So I was scared to death."
Before he actually met his idol, Turner recalled that Travis was brought backstage during a commercial break. "He goes up, they had these stairs beside the stage. So he goes up these stairs, and he stops, and he starts talking to this little old lady who was working as an usher that night. I know for a fact, he didn't know this woman at all," he said. "This is the first time he had met her. He just stood there, and he talked to her and he talked to her and he talked to her. All his handlers, they're trying to pull him away. He stood there and he talked to this little old lady like she was the queen of England. It was crazy."
"So from that moment on, it made me realize that I had chosen a good hero to look up to," Turner continued. "Because he treated that woman like he wanted to be treated. That really meant a lot to me, and that spoke volumes to me. Because I always felt like I was that way growing up in South Carolina. But seeing somebody of that stature carry himself in that manner, it made me realize how important and how big of an influence you can have on somebody, too."
This year, Travis joined Turner on Turner's new album, Country State of Mind, recording a new version of Travis' hit "Forever and Ever, Amen." Travis sang the last word of the song, and the recording session was the first time he had been in the studio since his 2013 stroke.
"It was historical, it was emotional, it was bittersweet," Turner told Metz. "I think his fans are going to love this. Because you know, they say a picture is worth a thousand words. This one word that he sang on this song I think is also worth a thousand words."