1. Jason Aldean
Country megastar Jason Aldean
may have just reached his 16th No. 1 single, but for a while he thought music was just his “back-up plan
.” Turns out the “Dirt Road Anthem” singer was pretty good at delivering Pepsi too. Yep, Aldean used to drive the Pepsi truck and deliver the bubbly beverage to convenience stores. Now every time Aldean sings about a truck, just imagine he’s singing about his Pepsi big rig!
2. Dierks Bentley
It’s been a long, hard road for Dierks Bentley. Now that he’s flying high with hit after hit, Dierks is happy to share his weirdest job experience — cleaning out house boat toilets. He recently told a radio station, “It usually had a week’s worth of ‘stuff’ in there from the 10 to 12 houseboat guests, and once, the old machine used to empty the toilets backfired, sending the hose and all the stuff straight up into the air. I tried to outrun the ‘rain’….but got nailed.” All the rigors of the road are still probably better than getting caught in a literal…well, you know.
Reba McEntire is the real deal. Growing up on her ranch, she had many jobs as a cowgirl. One of them was helping her dad turn bulls into steers. She writes in her memoir, “I would stand behind the bull and hold his tail while Daddy sliced the sack and cut the cord and let the testicles fall…Daddy would pass the testicles to me and I’d put them in a bucket.” Remind us not to upset Reba.
Florida Georgia Line
Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard from Florida Georgia Line had to make ends meet any way they could before striking gold with the hit No. 1 “Cruise.” In most cases that make working jobs that paid $8 or $9 an hour just to pay rent. The weirdest jobs? “I would put up bathroom stalls and Tyler would trick our golf carts,” says Kelley.
The 26-year-old country darling may have achieved initial Nashville success by writing Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart,” but Kacey Musgraves had to do something to pay the bills. So she dressed up and sang for children’s parties. “For one, I had to be Hannah Montana and sing one of her songs,” she says. But she had a line she wouldn’t cross, too: “The next one was, ‘We need you to dress up as a French maid and deliver balloons to an industry birthday party at the Palm.’ I’m glad I said no because it ended up being for Blake Shelton, and because if I did that I would have never lived it down.”
Before he was known as the greatest-selling country singer of all time, Garth Brooks was known as a bouncer at the Tumbleweed Ballroom in Stillwater, Oklahoma. While there, Garth met his first wife and mother to his three daughters — by breaking up a bathroom fight she was involved in with another woman.
Cole Swindell and Martina McBride
It may be the only thing they have in common, but Cole Swindell and Martina McBride both sold merchandise for other artists before they hit the big time. Swindell sold for Luke Bryan, whom he eventually wrote songs for, and Martina sold merchandise for none other than Garth Brooks. McBride also sang on demo tapes in Nashville, but ironically found it hard to get work because she was a better singer than most of the artists she was demoing for.
Eric Church proudly refers to himself as an outsider, which has a better ring than “call-taker.” While he was trying to make it as an artist, Church took the graveyard shift answering phone calls for the Shop at Home Network. He was hilariously fired for talking too many people out of buying dumb things. “Anytime somebody calls you at 3 or 4 AM and needs 200 knives for $19.95, it’s automatically an alarming situation,” says Church. “I knew they were drunk. “I’d say, ‘I’ll tell you what man, go to bed, call me, I’ll be here in the morning. If you get up in the morning and want these knives you call me back.’”
Ok, so it’s not the weirdest job, but it does show a sweeter side of Brantley Gilbert we don’t get to see that often. While studying to be a marriage and relationship counselor in college, Brantley worked as a special needs kids counselor at an elementary school in Georgia.
A rising star on the country scene, Mickey Guyton is best known for her emotional hit single, “Better Than You Left Me.” But before that, she was best known as the lingerie department saleswoman at Nordstrom’s.
Tim McGraw has led a pretty fascinating life. He famously had a baseball card of major league pitcher Tug McGraw on a wall in his room — years before he found out Tug was his biological father. However, what he did in Nashville to make ends meet before his mega-success is a little less interesting. He shares with fans in a Facebook post, “Me and my buddy used to go out and clean shopping carts from grocery stores. We would clean them and fix the wheels.” Why leave such an inspiring career for the music biz? “You ever washed a shopping cart in 20-degree weather?” says McGraw.
Little Big Town
Little Big Town’s success was anything but guaranteed. The fantastic foursome that now dominates radio with their smash hit “Girl Crush” had two major label record deals that ended poorly. Even after being signed twice, the group found themselves taking day jobs and playing shows for pennies. Member Jimi Westbrook worked as a valet, often at industry events where his former colleagues would show up. “I pulled my hat down on a few that didn’t know it was me,” says Westbrook.
With the exception of Thomas Rhett, not many country stars are born into the music industry. They had to get there any way they could, and that includes taking some pretty weird jobs to make ends meet. Here are a few examples of the kinds of things country stars have done for cash before they hit it big.