Alan Jackson Explains How Songwriting Helped Launch His Career

by Katie Maloney

Country music star Alan Jackson is known for his original songs today. But it wasn’t until Jackson received this important advice that he started writing songs.

Shortly after high school, Alan Jackson moved to Nashville in 1979. Since then, he’s released 16 studio albums, and 26 number one hit songs. But it wasn’t until he decided to move to Nashville that he started writing songs. During a recent interview, Jackson said that he never wrote a song of his own until he received this advice from a friend.

“I had been singing at church and was dating this girl who had a younger sister who had a 12 string guitar. And we started singing together, church stuff mainly. I started doing that and then I met a boy who was a friend of my older sister. And he sang and played real country stuff. I mean Gene Watson and Haggard and stuff like that. He was the one who turned me on to it and got me singing,” said Jackson. “He sang a really good harmony and we formed a little duo and we went to a band later. And that’s what led me to Nashville really.”

Alan Jackson Hit it Big After Writing His Own Songs

While singing with his band in high school, Alan Jackson started to get the music business itch. He was especially motivated after several people recognized his talents and suggested he make the trip to Nashville.

“I never wrote a song in my life until I was singing with that band,” said Jackson. “And everyone kept telling me, ‘You outta go to Nashville.’ But I didn’t know anything about the music industry or recording.”

So, before he packed his backs and headed to the city of country music, he asked a mutual friend for advice. While with his band, Jackson met a man who had a small recording studio in his home. That was the closest thing to a record producer that Jackson could find at the time, so he asked him for some tips about Nashville. The man told Alan Jackson that, if he was going to go to Nashville, he had to write his own songs.

“He said, ‘You know if you go up to Nashville, You can’t go up there singing everybody else’s songs. You need your own material to show them who you are,'” said Jackson. “So, I started writing songs and when I got to Nashville I had a paper sack full of songs. And a lot of those ended up on the first two, three records.”

Alan Jackson talks about how songwriting launched his career.