Luke Bryan and the Power of Constructive Criticism

He Credits Label Boss With First No. 1 Song

After working hard on songs for his second album in 2009, Luke Bryan heard what no artist wants to hear: Come up with some better material.

But that’s kind of how things happened for Bryan when he took a batch of new songs to the head of his record label.

“I sat in his office and played them, and he said I didn’t have a first single for a new album,” Bryan told The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville in a recent story about Universal Music Group Nashville chairman and CEO Mike Dungan.

“At the time, I left his office very devastated, as you would be for a new artist,” Bryan admitted. “It was a critical time in my career where I needed to get back on the radio, but he didn’t think I had anything that was ready.”

Looking back, Bryan says that was one of the most important things Dungan ever did for him. Once he went back and wrote other new songs, it turned out to be the turning point in his career.

“It motivated me and I wrote,” Bryan said. “I wrote ’Do I’ and ’Rain Is a Good Thing.’ We went and recorded that, and I brought those in, and the rest was history. He knows when to let the artist do what he needs to do and he knows when to give his advice that comes from his heart and what he believes is best for you.

“From the time he signs you, he kills himself to make you what you always dreamed to be.”

Proof of that is how Dungan’s try-try-again advice led to “Rain Is a Good Thing,” which became Bryan’s first No. 1 song.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.