“Every time I go on stage, whether I’m in the highest of energy moods or I’ve been sick with a cold or whatever that day. Whenever I hear that first downbeat that first note it’s like I get a pep of energy a pep in my step you know?
“I hear that crowd cheering. That preshow music turns on and they’re out there fired up and ready for you to come entertain them.”
And entertain he does. From the kid who sang at county fairs to the rising country star today.
“So I go to the Edgar County fair and sign up. I do Mack the Knife and I won it singing this song, trying to sound exactly like Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin and those standard signers at the time back in the day.”
Today it’s the next generation of country artists who aspire to sound like Bret, and he offers them advice.
“If you really want to do it, you gotten know that it’s going hurt, a lot at times, but its going to be beautiful.”
Beautiful like winning the CMA for new artist of the year.
“I have my CMA award at my house and I was in the attic the other day and I saw my talent show award from the Edgar County fair. I’m going put it next to that CMA award because I remember the moment when I won that award, the talent show award, that was the biggest thing in the world to me. It puts it in perspective of you know how every step matters.”
Bret’s next step… his sophomore album, Illinois. For the artist, it’s about revealing to his fans who he is, where he came from and what he hopes he will never forget.
“Its not just about being from Illinois, it’s about he fact that no matter where you’re from no matter where you go that place you come from where your roots are planted where it all started it holds a special place in your heart. That’s what Illinois is all about. It’s family it’s just the simple things and the beautiful things in life and there’s a line that says I remember the first time I saw that name on the marquis sign with lights so bright they could almost blind you I remember I was in Decatur, Illinois and I saw my name in a marquis sign I was like wow, I’m a big deal, and I really wasn’t a big deal but I felt like I was. Seeing your name on big signs and billboards, at the end of it all your still just that same kid from Illinois that same kid from where it all started and you can never forget that.”