There are plenty of overnight success stories, but Luke Combs certainly isn't one of them. Instead, the North Carolina native was rejected, time and time again, before finally catching his big break, when he was down to his last $200. Combs could have become bitter or resentful over those who didn't see his potential in the early days of his career, but instead, he is grateful for the success he now has, which he says couldn't have happened any other way.
"I don't think I was surprised by that, because I hadn't been in town very long at that point," Combs told Music Week, referring to those who said he would never make it as an artist. "But, I had some friends who had a couple friends who had publishing deals, and had been over there and met with a few different people and you never really get a call back.
"And then the next time you see that person, it's kind of awkward because you know they didn't call you back, and they know they didn't call you back," he added. "I wasn't like mad or anything. I didn't know what I was doing. I was just writing songs."
Because no one believed Combs would find success in Nashville, he had the freedom to make music the way he wanted to make it, on his terms, creating a career that many of his peers wish they had.
"I definitely know a lot of people that are like, 'Man, the label wanted me to sound like this and so I did,'" said the singer. "And then it's sad, because sometimes that's the thing that works and then they're like, 'Well, here's the stuff that I really want to be putting out' and then people don't like that because they're used to the first album that's what the label wanted them to sound like!
"Sometimes it's the reverse," he continued. "Sometimes the label tries something that doesn't work, they get dropped and they put out an album and somebody else signs them and then that's great. I would hate to be on the other side of that."
Combs earlier recalled one meeting he had when he was trying to get his foot in the door as both an artist and a songwriter, which didn't go the way he had hoped.
"I played 'Hurricane,' 'When It Rains' and 'One Number Away,' which were my first three number ones," Combs recalled on The Bobby Bones Show. "They were like, 'OK, here's the deal: you got to get better at songwriting. You got to write better songs. And you're never going to be an artist.' So that's it. And I wasn't mad."
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