COUNTRY LEGEND:
COUNTRY LEGEND: "I thought that was the beginning and the end of my career.” Lee Kernaghan recalls a demoralising start to his musical journey.

Boy From the Bush almost quit after constant rejection

COUNTRY music artist Lee Kernaghan is one of the most respected and highly-acclaimed musicians in Australia.

But his illustrious career almost didn't get off the ground.

Kernaghan has won 37 Golden Guitar Awards and every one holds a special place in his heart.

But it was the first, for his album The Outback Club, that really stood out.

"That really opened the gates for me,” he said.

"The whole thing exploded after that.”

Before that early success, the then 26-year-old Kernaghan was in a dark, emotional place. He was demoralised from the constant rejection he received from music labels towards his first album.

"Every record label in Australia knocked it back,” he said.

"It was rejected from every single label.”

After the constant knockbacks, Kernaghan lost confidence in his musical ability and started to plan for a career in the "real world”.

"I thought that was the beginning and the end of my career,” he said. "I headed on back to Albury with my tail between my legs.”

So he turned his focus to study.

"I spent four years at TAFE going to night school and learning about real estate law, law of contract and building applications.”

But thankfully for Kernaghan and the rest of the country, things turned around.

A change in structure at a music label meant a chance encounter for the now multi-award-winning artist.

"There was a change of management at ABC Music and they called me back for another interview,” Kernaghan said. "They said, 'You know what? We are going to take a chance on you and we'll sign you'.

"And 27 years later, I am still with them.”

The album went double platinum, selling more than 140,000 copies, and won the ARIA for Best Country Album in 1993.

The success shocked Kernaghan. He wasn't the only one.

"It surprised so many people,” he said.

"It kind of divided the country music community because it was considered not country enough at the time.”

Kernaghan has since released 17 albums, and has won a list of awards bigger than the outback itself.

"Once Boys From the Bush hit the radio, it was on,” he said.

"Country is in my DNA and I am doing what I love.”

He is touring the country on his Backroad Nation tour, promoting his latest album, with support acts The Wolfe Brothers and Christie Lamb.

Lee Kernaghan will play The Events Centre, Caloundra, on November 28. Get tickets at www.leekernaghan.com.


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