Brad Paisley Says Swimming with Sharks Was Like Being ‘Thrown Into the Fire’

by Emily Morgan

Brad Paisley is trading his cowboy hat and boots for scuba gear for the highly-anticipated “Shark Week.”

The country star was out of his element when he dived into the Bahamian waters off the Nassau coast for his upcoming special: “Shark Country.” The special will see the Grammy-winning country artist as he takes the plunge and even performs for a swarm of Caribbean reef sharks. 

The special is part of Discovery’s beloved “Shark Week” programming that began on Sunday. This year’s lineup for the annual festival of the oceanic animal also features comedian Tiffany Haddish, actors William Shatner and Noah Schnapp, “Sharknado” stars Ian Ziering and Tara Reid, and the cast from MTV’s 2000’s stunt show “Jackass.”  

While Paisley may have no problem performing in front of thousands, sharks were a crowd he had trouble getting used to. “First dive, it was like (being) thrown into the fire. We pulled up, and here’s 8-foot sharks going around this boat,” he said in an interview. “Every instinct in your body says, ‘This is not the time to get in.'”

The 43-year-old also said he and his sons have always been big fans of “Shark Week.” “It’s your week of the summer where you don’t have to have a babysitter,” he says. “They’ll watch it the whole time.” 

However, once his wife found out Paisley wanted to go from the couch to the ocean, she “made sure the insurance policy was up to date and was like, ‘Go for it!'” Stand-up comedian JB Smoove also joined Paisley for the trip. Paisley says the two were constantly laughing, although they were in shark-infested waters. 

“He has no off switch. He has one gear, and the gear is overdrive,” says Brad Paisley. “It is idea after idea… He’s really a blast to be around. And I even told him, ‘We are totally blood brothers now,’ having been through two days of this.” 

Brad Paisley Pushes His Limits for ‘Shark Week’ Special

For his first dive, he joined rescue divers and crew members. “We all got in, and they’re like, ‘It’s gonna be OK,'” Paisley recalled. “I’m like, ‘You promise?’ They’re like, ‘yeah, you’re gonna be OK.'”

Once in the cerulean waters, Paisley said he felt at peace although the finned creatures were underneath him. 

“They’re coming right up like, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ Just one foot away, cruising by me – fin brushing my neck as they go by,” he says. After spending time with the reef sharks, Paisley says he “felt no different than if you had taken me to a kennel to see a bunch of dogs.” 

According to Brad Paisley, he had so much fun that he’s now plotting his next adventure with sharks. “There’ll be no way you can keep me away from this,” he says. “At the end of the show, to JB, I’m like, ‘All right, next year, what are we doing, great whites?'”