Darius Rucker Looks Back on How His ‘Hard Work Paid Off’ After Coming to Nashville

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Sara Kauss/Getty Images)

These days, Darius Rucker is well-known all around the world as a celebrated musician, proud Grand Ole Opry member, and unofficial hype man for the University of South Carolina. With his indelible contributions to both the rock and country music genres, the Hootie & the Blowfish frontman has more than earned his place as a Southern icon.

Next year, Darius Rucker will add to his ever-growing legacy with Carolyn’s Boy, his eighth studio album as a solo artist. And with the monumental step in his illustrious career on the horizon, the “Wagon Wheel” singer is taking time to reflect on how far he’s come since moving to Nashville in 2008 to take a chance on a career in country.

“I look back on that period as the example of hard work paid off,” Rucker told PopCulture. “I came to Nashville and Duncan signed me at Capitol, and we really didn’t know what was going to happen. He promised me a shot, he told me if I gave him a country record, he’d give me a shot. And when we put out ‘Don’t Think’ and went around the radio stations, really the naysayers were the leaders.”

“And I got it; there was really no reason for us to expect success,” he continued. “Even if we had written [Patsy Cline’s] ‘Crazy,’ there’s no reason to expect success. But going out to the radio stations and working hard and going around and doing all the things and being the baby band on Dierks [Bentley] and Brad [Paisley]‘s tour and stuff like that, that hard work is what paid off.”

“So now I look back, and I’m glad that I have my work ethic,” Rucker explained. “And I’m glad that I don’t mind taking chances. Because if I hadn’t had those two things, I wouldn’t be sitting there talking to you guys.”

Darius Rucker Talks Enjoying Time Away From Music

Darius Rucker’s unfailing dedication to his music has resulted in close to 20 Grammy, CMA, and CMT awards and nominations. The countless hours he poured into his career paid off, to say the least. And though he has a deep appreciation for the unbelievable success he’s enjoyed thus far, Darius Rucker is learning that making the effort to achieve a balance in life isn’t so bad, either.

“I didn’t always give myself time to enjoy [life],” Rucker recalled. “It was always work, work, work, work, work. And [if] you’re not working, concentrating on family. But now I’ve learned to say ‘no,’ which was really big for me, learning to say ‘no.'”

“And I love it,” he added. “I love writing songs, I love all of it, but I’m at a really cool place in my career where I’m not chasing it anymore. It’s either going to be there or it’s not, now, for me. So I love it. I still love doing it more than anything in the world, but I also love my time off a lot now, too.”