Before Tim McGraw dedicated his livelihood to music, he had his mind set on becoming a well-respected lawyer. The “Humble And Kind” singer recently (May 2) caught up with Big Machine Label Group to reminisce on a conversation he had with his mother that ultimately changed the trajectory of his career.
At just 12-years-old, McGraw watched the 1979 drama “Justice For All” and instantly wanted to be an attorney. From there on out, he took school seriously and studied hard for good grades. McGraw told BMLG that his mother would hold him accountable. She would push him to excel in academics and even on the baseball field – scoring him a sports scholarship to Northeast Louisiana University.
When he arrived on campus, McGraw went the pre-law route. During his downtime, he would pick up a guitar and teach himself how to play.
“I’d wanted to be a lawyer since I was probably 12-years-old, and I was gonna go to school to be a lawyer. I started out in pre-law and was doing all that, and then I started playing music,” he recalled.
While in college his passion for music reached new heights, and he decided to pack his bags and move to Nashville. However, the icon shared that a difficult conversation with his mother was standing in his way at the time.
“I remember having to make the phone call to mom and tell her that I was gonna drop outta school and move to Nashville and play music,” he said. “When I did, she said, “I’m surprised you haven’t done it already. And if you don’t try you’ll never know.’”
McGraw continued to reveal that he was pleasantly surprised by her accepting reaction, and said that it was the reassurance he needed to continue forward with his plan.
“When you’re a musician, and you think that you’re gonna go try to make a livin’ at it, it’s like jumpin’ off a cliff at midnight not knowing what’s below you. And to have some affirmation from your mom that she thinks you should try it and she thinks that you can do it, there’s no more confidence than that that you can get,” he added.
The GRAMMY award winner never shied away from speaking out about his mother, Betty and their heartwarming relationship. On May 8, 2020, McGraw released the mid-tempo track, “I Called Mama.” The soul-touching melody was penned by Lance Miller, Marv Green, and Jimmy Yearly, but McGraw shared with The Boot that the relatable lyrics instantly hit home
“I fell in love with it right away, certainly because of what it says on a personal level about, you know, everybody loves their mama, so to talk really specifically about calling your mom and everything that is said in it made a lot of sense to me,” he said to the publication.
The country crooner dropped the tribute track in the middle of the pandemic – when families were separated, and individuals were hungry for human connection.
“Now more than ever, I’ve been reminded of the importance of human connection in our lives. “I Called Mama” is a song about connecting back to what grounds us when life shakes us up,” he explained on social media. “We should all call Mama more often… or whoever those people in our lives are that keep us connected to what really matters. This song really hits home for me, and I hope it does for you, too.”
Although McGraw is a country music phenomenon, he never fails to forget his childhood in Louisiana with his mother and two sisters. Betty was a single mother and had McGraw her senior year in high school. The multi-platinum artist revealed to GMA that she never had the opportunity to receive her diploma.
“She didn’t get to graduate because I came along,” he said. “I know how resilient my mom is, and how tough she is, and how strong of a woman she is, and how well she raised us under the circumstances.”
McGraw is currently performing “I Called Mama” out on his 2022 tour with Russell Dickerson, Brandon Davis, and Alexandra Kay.