Everybody who is anybody had to get their start somewhere. For country music icon Reba McEntire, her start came when she was just a youngster. However, that early performing experience didn’t amount to much of a payday.
During an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” during 2019, the famous singer talked about her early performing days.
“Well, Pake and Susie and I, my brother and sister, we used to be ‘The Singing McEntires.’ And, we would sing in clubs and honky tonks and dance halls,” McEntire recalled during the interview.
“How old are we talking here?” Colbert then asked. “Oh, 4 or 5. No. I’m kidding you,” Reba McEntire then joked.
The joke drew a big laugh from the audience. Colbert then asked Reba McEntire how old she was the first time she “did a professional gig” and “got paid for it.”
Turns out, she was a pretty young kid the first time she got paid for singing. However, it would not be a payday anywhere close to the sums she would earn after she became famous.
Reba McEntire’s First Paid Singing Gig Took Place in Wyoming
“I was probably 6 years old,” Reba McEntire said of her first signing payday. “I was at the – in the lobby – of the Frontier Hotel in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Daddy was there roping. And, everybody during those days would go down to the lobby. They wouldn’t stay in their rooms because nobody had a television. There wasn’t any need. And so, they’d all go down to the lobby and visit.”
The future country music superstar wasn’t the only member of the McEntire family who was in the lobby for a visit. Her brother, Pake, was also there.
“Well, my brother Pake, they paid him a quarter to sing ‘You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dog,'” McEntire told Colbert.
Seeing an opportunity, the 6-year-old McEntire went to her brother for assistance.
“And, I got him off to the side and I said, ‘Hey. Help me out here. I need some money, too,'” she recounted. “And so, he said, ‘You know ‘Jesus Loves Me.’ Go sing that.'”
Unsurprisingly, Reba McEntire followed her brother’s advice and did just that. However, the youngster didn’t get the payday she had been hoping for.
“So, I got out there and I sang, ‘Jesus loves me. This I know …’ Got a nickel for it,” McEntire recalled.
“‘Hound Dog’ got 25 cents,” Colbert then joked.
“I got a nickel. So, that was the first time (I got paid to sing),” McEntire then added.
You can watch Reba McEntire share stories with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show below.