Long before Luke Combs seriously considered a career in country music, he was pursuing an entirely different job instead. The North Carolina native attended school for five years, before deciding shortly before graduation that music was the thing he was most passionate about.
"I was a pretty bad student," Combs admitted on Jimmy Kimmel Live. "I had been in school for five years at that point and I had been singing my whole life, and I didn't understand that you could do something you like and people will pay you for it. I didn't comprehend that."
Now that Combs has been embraced by country music, he has no regrets about giving up his former dream, which he admits probably wasn't well suited for him anyway.
"My major was Criminal Justice," said the Grand Ole Opry member. "I wanted to be a homicide detective, which is actually what I wanted to do. People are pretty surprised by a lot of times. But if you've noticed, I don't actually have the physical build of a police officer necessarily."
Still, he has found some commonality between his first career choice and his current job.
"I think it was solving the puzzle was the intriguing part for me, which is what I love so much about writing songs, because it's a puzzle that has no pieces," Combs said. "So you make the pieces, then you have to put them together. That's the thing I like so much about writing music."
Combs didn't immediately drop out of school and become an overnight sensation. He had a couple lean years, with multiple jobs, including one where he learned an important life skill that he still uses to this day.
"I was a bouncer at a bar, where I actually lived above the bar upstairs, and then I folded shirts at an IZOD store, if you can imagine that," Combs recalled. "My fiancée makes fun of me all the time, but I still fold my shirts the same way I did in that store, to this day."
Combs' sophomore What You See Is What You Get album will be released on Friday, Nov. 8. The record includes "Beer Never Broke My Heart" and his current single, "Even Though I'm Leaving." Pre-order the record by visiting his website.
Combs is nominated for three CMA Awards. The singer is nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year (for "Beautiful Crazy"), and Musical Event of the Year, for his Brooks & Dunn collaboration on "Brand New Man."
The 2019 CMA Awards will air live from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Photo Credit: Getty / Jason Kempin