If you were to ask a celebrity how they became famous, chances are, they’d likely tell you that fame didn’t happen overnight. They’d probably also explain that success of any kind usually comes from years and years of hard work, and dedication.
And for country artists, that’s no difference.
Stars ranging from Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire to Blake Shelton and Tim McGraw had to figure out a way to make their dreams into lucrative careers. Sometimes that meant, being realistic and working odd jobs that they may or may not have enjoyed to make enough money just to fuel their passion.
Did you know that some of the biggest country stars started out by cleaning toilets and breaking up bar fights before selling out tickets at major arenas?
Read on to see the jobs your favorite country stars had before ever becoming famous in this list below!
Jason Aldean – Pepsi Delivery Driver
Before churning out the hits, the “Blame It on You” hitmaker drove around in a Pepsi delivery truck. He’d drop off drinks to convenience stores in his home state. He later moved to Nashville and eventually signed a deal with Broken Bow Records. And, as they say, the rest is history.
Carrie Underwood – Attendant at a Gas Station
Underwood may be a seven-time Grammy Award winner, a wife to former NHL hockey star Mike Fisher and a 2005 winner of American Idol. But, long before all of the glitz and glam, she was punching the clock at a Checotah, Okla. gas station. Petrol pumps aside, Underwood did have a back-up plan in case Idol didn’t pan out. During her audition for the reality sing-off show, she was attending Northeastern State University, where she studied journalism.
Garth Brooks – Bouncer
Brooks’ pre-fame job was just the thing he may have needed to get him ready for a lengthy career of loud crowd noises and packed music venues. Before selling out arenas and becoming one of the world’s best-selling music artists, he worked the club doors, checking people in and settling bar fights as a bouncer at Tumbleweed Ballroom in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Of course, life had a different plan and he worked his way from the venue door to the venue stage!
Eric Church – Home Shopping Call Operator
The North Carolina native worked in sales before penning hits like, “Homeboy” and “Record Year. He answered phones for the now-defunct Shop at Home Network. Church showed up for the job, but his employment didn’t last very long. According to Taste of Country, he wasn’t a very good Salesman. He was fired for trying to persuade people out of making purchases he thought were unnecessary. Good thing, he found his true calling!
Faith Hill – Worked at McDonald’s
Do you want fries with that? You may have been asked that question by none other than Faith Hill if you happened to have stopped at a McDonald’s drive-through years ago. Before she ever came out with hits like “This Kiss” and “Breathe,” tied the knot with McGraw, and won a bunch of awards, Hill was serving up happy meals for hungry folks at Mickey D’s!
Lee Brice – Helped Out at His Father’s Commercial Electric Business
Brice always knew the value of hard work. In fact, before fans got to hear his songs like “Hard To Love” and “I Drive Your Truck,” the singer got busy working with power tools! While living in his hometown of Sumter, S.C, Brice worked for his father’s commercial electric business.
Kelly Clarkson – Vacuum Cleaner Saleswoman
It’s a good thing Clarkson got to “Breakaway” from her duties as a Vacuum Cleaner Saleswoman to try her luck on American Idol! If she hadn’t, fans may have never been introduced to songs like “Stronger” and “Because of You.” Yep! You read that right! Before becoming the original Idol, Clarkson sold vacuums to prospective buyers. That’s not the only job she held before entertaining fans with her powerhouse vocals, she also previously worked as both a telemarketer and a cocktail waitress.
Rodney Atkins – Started His Own Lawn Mowing Business
The grass might be a whole lot greener these days for country superstar Rodney Atkins. But, that may not be the case for some of his former clients. At age 13, Atkins started his own lawn mowing business and eventually turned that job into a full-on landscaping business. Now that he’s a country star, he doesn’t have time to give other people’s lawns that extra TLC. But, he hasn’t quit his landscaping skills entirely. According to Taste of Country, Atkins does his lawn care and landscape at his home for the family.
Toby Keith – Odd Jobs at His Grandmother’s Bar
Perhaps Keith’s grandmother indirectly introduced the “I Love This Bar” hitmaker to the performance side of music. Before becoming a country star, Keith held a job at his grandmother’s bar, where he watched bands get up on stage and play full-sets before tearing down their equipment.
Kellie Pickler – Fast Food Cart/Waitress
Fans who watched Pickler’s American Idol audition will recall her audition tape, where she introduced folks to her previous job. For those who don’t know, Pickler once rolled around on a pair of roller skates to deliver food to hungry people at Sonic. The blonde-haired beauty must’ve warmed a lot of customers’ hearts with her bubbly personality because she’s gone on to do much more, with her vocal talent and charming persona. Not only did she release a few hits, but she also starred in not one but two shows – I Love Kellie Pickler and Pickler & Ben.
Tim McGraw – Cleaned Shopping Carts for Grocery Stores
McGraw has had plenty of success in his lengthy music career. Not only has he released fifteen studio albums, but he’s also starred in movies like The Blindside and Tomorrowland. He even married fellow country singer Faith Hill. Not to mention, he’s got a chiseled athletic build for his age. But, what fans may not know, is McGraw has a knack for keeping things tidy and clean. That is when it comes to cleaning grocery store shopping carts. Before making the big-time, McGraw bustled in carts and wiped them down before sending them off to shoppers.
Kelsea Ballerini – Worked at a Cupcake Shop
Ballerini must’ve had a lot of self-control when it came to steering clear of the sweets. The “Hole in the Bottle” hitmaker saw a daily dose of confectionery items and delicious pastries back when she worked in a cupcake shop. Despite all of that, she has managed to stay in tip-top shape. Perhaps she knew she was destined to live life in the public eye as a country star and made it a point to hit the gym. If we were to guess, we’d say she probably snuck in a few cupcakes in here and there.
Blake Shelton – Roofing Houses
Aside from being a successful country star, Shelton is no stranger to the world of reality television. In fact, he’s a longtime coach on NBC’s The Voice. And, if he ever decided to leave the show, he probably wouldn’t have a hard time finding a place on the HGTV Network. After all, he does know a thing or two about home renovation. Long before he released songs like “Ol’ Red” and “God’s Country,” Shelton spent time roofing houses.
Luke Combs – Bouncer
Turns out that Luke Combs and Garth Brooks have taken a similar path in country music. Not only are they both huge country stars, but they both also once worked as a bouncer. Yep! Combs too held a position standing near the door at the bars and kicking out people for starting fights.
Reba McEntire – Rancher
It’s no question. Reba McEntire is a cowgirl through and through. Before becoming a female country music icon, she assisted her dad by working on the family ranch. Even though she worked with her pops, McEntire’s job was far from glamorous. Along with a whole list of other duties, she helped her dad turn bulls into steers.
Dierks Bentley – Toilet Cleaner
When it comes to success, people often say, you gotta pay your dues. And, when it comes to paying your dues, it seems Dierks Bentley went the extra mile! The “What Was I Thinkin’” crooner once made his money by cleaning out the toilet lines on houseboats. We appreciate Bentley for doing the dirty work, but we’re also grateful he went and put his talent to better use!
Trace Adkins – Oil Worker
Adkins was a roughneck! The artist spent more than a decade working on oil rigs off the coast of Louisiana before becoming a big-time country music star. And while he insists he enjoyed the job, he did get injured. According to Wide Open Country, he dealt with injuries to his leg, forehead, and finger.
Kane Brown – Worked at FedEx
“What Ifs” Kane Brown never posted videos of himself singing cover songs on social media? Perhaps he’d still be dropping off shipments for FedEx Corporation. Brown, who rose to fame as a viral star, used to drive a truck as an employee of FedEx. All of that of course took place before he topped the charts with songs like “Heaven” and “Used to Love You Sober.”
Kix Brooks – Oil Pipeline Worker
Brooks didn’t always work alongside Ronnie Dunn. Back when he was a college student, he spent time in Alaska working alongside his father on an oil pipeline. Of course, time proved a different outcome and he boot scooted his way onto the country charts with hits like “My Maria” and “Neon Moon.”
Keith Urban – Guitarist for Brooks & Dunn and The Chicks
The country superstar and husband of Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman did everything he could to break down walls in country music. When he came to the states from his native Australia, his guitar mastery led him to perform on stages across the country, as the guitarist for artists like Brooks & Dunn and The Chicks. Good thing, his side-stage gig didn’t last as his solo talent brought fans hits like “Long Hot Summer” and “Somebody Like You.”
Craig Campbell – Prison Guard
Before giving fans songs like “Outskirts of Heaven” and “Family Man” Campbell did time as a Prison Guard. Yep! He spent two years working at the Rogers State Prison in Reidsville, Georgia. Now that’s a job that could inspire some interesting songs!
Luke Bryan – Retail Store Worker at Kmart
Most people know Bryan as a country superstar and as a judge on American Idol. But, the singer behind hits like “One Margarita” and “Play It Again” once held a job that was completely unrelated to the world of country music and entertainment. He used to work in the retail environment as a K-Mart employee. Of course, stocking shelves only proved temporary, as Bryan’s first album, I’ll Stay Me, came out back in 2007 at the age of 31.