Upon his arrival in 1996, Joe Nichols failed to make an impact on country music with his self-titled debut album but was met with quite a different reaction with his 2002 follow-up Man With a Memory. With hit singles "The Impossible" and "Brokenheartsville," Nichols snagged three Grammy nominations, including country album of the year. Nichols recently put himself on the hot seat to answer questions from CMT.com readers, on topics ranging from his first time in front of an audience to whether or not he has any tattoos.
1. How old were you when you sang for an audience for the first time?
I was about 14 and we were
at a family get-together at my aunt's house, and my uncle broke out a karaoke machine. I believe that's the first time I can
remember being in front of a lot of people and singing.
2. After your first album, I didn't see
you for a long time. Where did you go?
Actually, I just took a lot of time to do a lot of maturing in Nashville.
I still played and wrote as much as possible but mainly just got my life focused on maturing vocally and personally.
3. I'd like to be a country singer, too. Do you have any advice?
Hmm! Move to Nashville. Work
hard. (laughs) Don't forget that you have to pay bills so having a job outside of music is OK. You know, things are tough
in the music industry at first, and people need to understand that. Also, I would say that whenever given a chance to sing
or play, I would take every opportunity given.
4. What do you and your band do on the road to kill
time between shows?
Watch movies, throw the football, play a little basketball, sometimes play video games
or, once in a blue moon, we'll get to play a little golf.
5. When you're on the Grand Ole Opry,
you seem so happy and at home. What inspires you about the Opry?
I think the tradition. The tradition of the
Grand Ole Opry is so deep, you know? All the Opry stars are so kind and such legends
that it's a really incredible feeling to be accepted by them. You know, they're the home of country music. I love traditional
country, so it just seems right to play there as much as possible.
6. What was your reaction when
someone threw her bra at you at the Grand Ole Opry? I mean, that has never been done. What did you do with it afterwards?
... actually, I didn't really know about it until I was off the stage, and my reaction was, of course, a little bit surprised,
but we all had fun with it. It was just a funny little thing that happened. I think one of the crew guys gave the bra back
to her, and we actually said "hi" to her on our way out when the show was over.
7. What is your
favorite getaway place?
My favorite getaway place? You know, as far as vacation goes, I like to ski. Of course
there are several places in Colorado like Steamboat Springs, Vail and Breckenridge that are very nice. Mom's house is always
a good place to go to get away. I think sometime this year I am gonna get away for a vacation to Europe.
What is your idea of a perfect date?
Oh, the perfect date! Wow, that's a tough one! I didn't see that one coming.
I think my idea of a perfect date would be to go out with somebody who respects the same kind of music that I do and listen
to a good band playing, just to have fun. Watching live music, that's a good date for me. Oh, and a nice big steak!
9. Other than sitting on the couch playing the guitar, what do you like to do in your spare time?
in my spare time? Like I said, I like to play golf. I like to relax as much as possible. Nowadays it seems to me that sleep
grows more and more important every day.
10. If you were not a country singer, what would your
dream job be?
President of the United States! Absolutely! That pressure is just something I feed off of, and
it seems like he's got plenty of it right now.
11. Do you have a favorite singer or someone you
listen to frequently?
Merle Haggard. Yeah, I listen to Merle all the
time. I've got several Keith Whitley albums, Randy
Travis, anything like that.
12. Growing up, were you a troublemaker or a perfect little
(laughing) Little bit of both, depending on what kind of mood I was in, I guess.
Is there any other instrument you would like to learn how to play?
Piano. I'd love to learn how to play the
piano. I've never been able to sit down and learn how to do it, but yeah, I'd like to do that one day.
Will you ever record Merle Haggard's "Footlights"?
I'm sure I will. Right now the opportunity hasn't presented
itself, but we will later if we get the chance to on a future album. I would love to.
15. Do you
know how to two-step or swing-dance?
Yeah! I don't dance, but I do know how to do those from teenage years.
16. What are your hidden talents?
Baseball! I love baseball! I've been a pretty good baseball
player my whole life, so it's one of my vices and hidden things.
17. Country music was such a huge
part of your life growing up, watching your dad perform. Do you think your career is having the same kind of impact on your
4- year-old daughter?
Right now, as young as she is, it's tough to tell what kind of impact it's having on her.
But I hope that whatever way it does impact her, it's in a good positive way. Because the last thing any parent wants his
child to see is the bad side of things. You know, especially something that they like.
is your dream duet partner?
Dolly Parton would be pretty cool. (laughing)
You know that would be the coolest as far as females go. Of course, any of my influences like Merle or Willie or somebody like that would be pretty cool.
19. If you could go anywhere
in the world to shoot your next video, where would you most love to go and why?
Rome! Rome! I always liked the
Vatican. I like the look of everything there. It's so old! You know, historic! It's just a cool vibe. I'd love to shoot something
20. Do you have any tattoos?
No, no tattoos. I do not do tattoos. (laughing)
I just don't like them. I don't like anything that scars permanently.
Jason Dutton contributed to this article.