Eric Church credits his mother for helping cultivate his passion for music.
Although his dad may not appreciate it, Church says that his mother is “by far the toughest person” that he’s ever met.
“She’s tough,” he begins. “One of those people that’s been through a lot in her life, adversity-wise and never complains, always really resilient with anything that’s happened to her. “
Eric Church adds that his mother was the positive force at times when he couldn’t find any good. Her outlook paired with her work ethic is what makes her so special. Rita’s personal motto is to “tough it out, keep working hard.” Church says that he has always been impressed by her.
Church credits his musicality and talent from her. Rita “sings great” and her mother was also a singer.
“I owe my musical chops to her,” he says. “And she still sings some. So, career-wise, I owe her everything. And just in life-wise, she’s given me a lot of the qualities that it has taken for me to get me where I am. Not only as a musician, but as a man.”
Eric Church In His Parents’ Words
Eric Church’s parents Ken and Rita spoke with Hickory Record in 2011. On a rare occasion, the parents spoke about their son’s beginnings and childhood.
After Eric graduated from high school, his father agreed to pay for a place in Nashville for a year if he graduated college with a degree. In 2000, Eric Church graduated with a marketing degree from Appalachian State University. He then moved to Nashville where he immediately began doing songwriter sessions.
“Eric’s first love is songwriting – that’s really the reason he went to Nashville,” Rita noted.
Eric Church told his parents that he didn’t want to imitate other well known male country artists, he wanted to be original. He also wanted to focus on making great albums, not radio hits.
“It was fun to be able to go to work with our son,” Rita said. “It’s not as easy as it looks – he deserves every penny he makes.”
“He’s an 18-hour-a-day guy at least,” Ken confirmed. “He’s been selling all this time – it’s all about selling.”
Everything he does is all in the family. Eric got his nickname and album title, “Chief,” from his grandfather. Rita’s father, Ralph “Rusty” Barlow, first had the nickname. He was the chief of police in Granite Falls for 27 years.