Jason Aldean Wanted to Be a Big Leaguer

CMT Artist of the Year Honoree Reflects on What Might Have Been

Jason Aldean has reached the pinnacle of country music success in recent years with a whirlwind of sold-out tours and hit records. He’ll be honored for another year of amazing firsts during the CMT Artists of the Year special airing live from Nashville on Dec. 2.

This year, Aldean even realized his dream of being on the field of a Major League Baseball stadium — although it didn’t happen exactly how he expected. Rather than stepping up to the plate at Chicago’s Wrigley Field and Boston’s Fenway Park, Aldean was the headline performer at his own concerts.

As a child, he always thought the future would lead him down an athletic path and never dreamed he’d become a country music superstar.

“It’s funny. I was always big into sports and just kind of thought that was going to be my career path at some point,” Aldean told CMT. “I used to always think I would play baseball somewhere, and that was what I was going to really try to go after, and music was kind of a hobby, you know? It was something I just kind of started as a hobby, and it fell into being a career.”

Aldean’s competitive nature and athleticism prepared him well for countless weeks on the road each year. And when the pressure to succeed felt immense, the Georgia native was able to lean on the support of his parents.

“My parents were really very supportive of my career in times after I moved to Nashville and was struggling a little bit,” he said. “They were kind of the ones that really were supportive.”

Aldean’s father, Barry Williams, is the one who early on recognized a special quality in his son and urged him to continue the pursuit of a musical career, even in hard times.

“My dad was really kind of the one who always believed in what I was doing and felt like I had something special — whatever that was,” Aldean said. “But I think between the two of them, just having that support was really the one thing that kind of allowed me to come to Nashville, pursue music and know that if it didn’t work out, I still had support back home. That was pretty important.”

CMT honors Aldean, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban with the CMT Artists of the Year.