Leesburg, Georgia native Luke Bryan honed his skills in local clubs before moving to Nashville in 2001 to pursue a career in music. He recalled the different jobs he worked in and around Leesburg before heading to the Music City. "At age 12 thru 13, I worked at Rubos IGA Supermarket in Leesburg. I worked during the summers on Monday and Tuesday. I stocked and cleaned up the produce. They paid me under the table… I peeled off all of the brown lettuce. When I was 15, I was a cashier at K-Mart for two months. I worked at K-Mart for two months, and then I reverted back to Rubos because it didn't really make sense for me to drive all the way into Albany and work for K-Mart. The benefits were great though-you'd get an hour-long on the blue light special. So I started back at Rubos, and then I quit Rubos and worked for my Dad-just awful just driving tractors through cotton all day, and spraying pesticides that eventually would turn your hair green. And then at some point, I started playing guitar. And well, after college I went back and worked for my dad and continued to spray and haul fertilizer around. And then I moved to Nashville."
Bryan's first success came as a songwriter, and among his first cuts was the title track of Travis Tritt's 2004 album My Honky Tonk History. In 2007 Billy Currington took Bryan's "Good Directions" to #1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart.
Bryan landed a deal with Capitol Records and his 2007 debut single, "All My Friends Say," peaked at #5 on Hot Country Songs.
Luke Bryan has released an extended play each March since 2009 in coincide with spring break. "When we first signed Luke, he was playing packed college clubs around Georgia and the fans knew the words to every song," UMGN senior VP of marketing Cindy Mabe explained to Billboard magazine. "None of these songs were on the radio. They were just songs he had written, and those fans were always important to the vision we had for Luke. The young college kids taught us that if we wanted to keep them, we'd have to figure a way to keep them engaged, and that was by releasing music targeted toward them faster and more deliberate. That was the birth of the Spring Break tour and EP."
Bryan's fourth album, Crash My Party, debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 selling 527,783 copies. It was the biggest sales debut for a country male artist's LP since Tim McGraw's Live Like You Were Dying in 2004.
Luke Bryan was a sickly baby, and his mom often hummed "Rock Of Ages
" to him to calm him down. As a result, little Luke could hum the hymn before he could talk.
Leesburg has a population of just below 3,000 people, but has produced other famous sons besides Bryan, such as American Idol winner Phillip Phillips and San Francisco Giants All-Star catcher Buster Posey. All three names are featured on the roadside sign that welcome travelers to the small Georgia town.
Luke Bryan met his wife Caroline Boyer in college at Georgia Southern University. He told Good Housekeeping magazine that her looks blew him away. "It was love at first sight with Caroline - those blue eyes of hers," he said. "I knew that, no matter what, I was going to make my way over to her."
Luke and Caroline got married in December 2006 and have had two sons together, Thomas Boyer and Tatum Christopher.
After Luke Bryan's sister Kelly passed away unexplained in 2007, followed by her husband Ben Lee Cheshire in November 2014, the singer and his wife took in their just turned teenage nephew Tilden (Til).
Luke Bryan was in a college group called Neyami Road. "It was a terrible name for a band, because 95% of the time it got pronounced 'Naomi,' like Naomi Judd," he said in a Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Q&A. "We made an album that's horrible. It's [still] living out there, which is scary."
Neyami Road's unusual name was a tip of the hat to fact that Bryan's hometown of Leesburg is geographically equidistant by railroad from New York City to Miami.