Ashley McBryde’s Naysayers Fuel Her to Help Others Chase ‘What Sets Their Soul on Fire’
Ashley McBryde has encountered her share of naysayers. In fact, she sings about all the people who told her she'd never make it as a country singer in the title track of her debut album, Girl Going Nowhere. The song shows McBryde looking back on her winding climb to success, recalling all the hurdles she overcame and the people she proved wrong.
Between her "crazy year" in 2018 and the big plans she has for the year to come -- including being named an early ACMs winner in the category of New Female Artist of the Year -- McBryde has enough momentum to be confident in her musical path despite the lack of encouragement from the people who told her she'd never amount to anything. Now, she hopes to pay that confidence forward, offering encouragement from others who are being dissuaded from following their dreams.
In an emotional new interview with CBS This Morning, McBryde shares a powerful message with viewers who, like she did, may be pursuing dreams without the support of those around them: "If anybody has told you not to passionately pursue what sets your soul on fire, they are wrong. Don't you dare give up," McBryde says. "And if you do, you better not let me find out about it."
McBryde has encountered opposition from several angles, including a music industry that tried to change the way she looked and acted in order to fit her into the mold of a young, female country star. However, the most painful discouragement McBryde encountered came from her father, someone who the singer has looked up to for her entire life.
"Bible and a .44," off her Girl Going Nowhere album, tells the story of her admiration for her dad, and all the things he taught her growing up. When it came to her dreams of pursuing country music, though, McBryde says he never really understood why she was so passionate.
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The singer explains that even as her awards and accolades rack up, her dad, who is currently fighting a degenerative disease, still doesn't share her excitement about her success. "I'm careful, the things I share with him. Because it's important to me, and it's not always important to him," she explains with tears in her eyes.
"Just a few years ago, right when he was first getting sick, we took a trip together, and he said, 'Just tell me something,'" McBryde continues. "'Promise me that when you've made your money and had your fill of all this music stuff, you'll go to medical school.'
"You can say anything you want about me and about us, and the music we make, but my daddy doesn't approve of it. So how bad is it gonna hurt me if you say that?" she adds.
Even when McBryde explained to her dad that her career was getting bigger -- that she had graduated from bars, that she was touring internationally and playing arenas -- he didn't seem as thrilled by the news as she was. "He said, 'I'm proud for you.' He didn't say, 'I'm proud of you,'" she shares.
Fortunately, McBryde's mother has believed in her since the very beginning. "I could've said I wanted to be a one-legged purple gorilla, and she'd say, 'Okay, honey,'" the singer explains. Between that unconditional support and the band family that she has created for herself, McBryde has always found the strength to keep going, even during the most difficult times.
Still, she says, the fact that she didn't get the encouragement she sought from her father has made it even more important for her to instill confidence in others. "It's important to encourage, because not everybody gets it," she adds. "Somebody doesn't think they can go to college. Somebody doesn't think they can spell good. Somebody's not getting 'yes.'"
That pain is something McBryde knows all too well. "More times than I got 'yes,' I got 'no,'" she says. She knows that not everybody has the kind of parental support that her mom offered to her as a young artist, and she hopes that the larger platform she has achieved will give her enough of a voice to offer that support, and that confidence to listeners who need it.
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