How Martha Sharp Introduced the World to Randy Travis

by Jonathan Howard

If it wasn’t for Martha Sharp, there would be no Randy Travis. The country music star wrote and performed all the songs, but he had some help. Sometimes you can have all the talent in the world, but you still need someone to give you that first big break. After a decade of rejections, the singer-songwriter wasn’t sure if he would ever make it in the business. Until Sharp came along.

When you look at the story of Randy Travis, Sharp is one of the most important figures in that story.

Back when the singer was still going by Randy Ray, he was playing (and working in the kitchen) at the Nashville Palace. It was one of the few places he got to showcase his talents early and often.

“I had gotten turned down by every label in Nashville for a little over 10 years. And when Martha Sharp came out to listen to us at the Nashville Palace,” Travis explained in More Life. “We had a short conversation I mean short under 15 minutes. She left and I thought well that’s another ‘no’ pretty much.”

While Randy thought he had lost another opportunity after the conversation, it was just because Sharp didn’t know if she could even sign the singer. She went back and then heard from one man that would change the entire game.

“But I didn’t want to make a judgment yet abou tit. I thought, listen I’ve never signed anybody before. I’ve never been told that I could sign anybody before,” Sharp said, detailing that night. “Soon after that Kyle Lehning called me.”

Oh, and it shouldn’t be overlooked… Sharp is the woman who came up with the famous name, “Randy Travis” changing the trajectory for the former “Randy Ray.”

Randy Travis Knows Who Helped Him Get to The Top

Of course, a guy like Randy Travis isn’t going to forget those that helped him along the way. In the More Life doc, we see some of those stories from the early years. However, Travis has been thanking those that gave him a hand. That includes both Sharp and Lehning.

Both of those figures got mentioned multiple times in an old 2003 interview with Travis. He was about 20 years into his career and had already put out so many classic tracks by that point. CMT asked him 20 questions and surprise surprise, we see some of the same figures that we see in this video.

“I owe a big thanks to Lib. A lady named Martha Sharp who signed me to Warner Bros., I have to say thanks to her. Also, Kyle Lehning, who I’ve worked with off and on quite a while now.”

It just bears reminding that none of us are on this journey by ourselves. There are Marthas and Kyles in our lives that help us along the way and give us those chances. Don’t matter if you’re Randy Travis or Travis From the Trailer Park.