How Luke Bryan’s 5 Little Words Humbled Me
A short time after our hire here at WGNA, audio began circulating about things I said on another station about Luke Bryan and he found out about it. I had tremendous angst over it and even sent him an apology, hoping he would see it and hear me out. Not only did he see it, but he also addressed it with me briefly when I met him on Saturday night.
When Chrissy and I made the jump from Fly 92 to WGNA, it certainly surprised some people. We knew it was going to turn a few heads and create a bit of a stir, but I have to be honest, I never expected that the impolite comments I made about Luke Bryan (while working for a pop station several years ago) would come back to haunt me the way they did. I was trying to be funny and it backfired. Word traveled all the way up to Luke, and as you can imagine, he wasn't pleased. This was NOT the way I wanted to get the ball rolling at a new job. Luke Bryan is a core superstar artist that country music listeners are very passionate about. Needless to say, there was plenty of backlash towards me on the WGNA Facebook page (and out in public too) and regardless of how betrayed I felt that someone would put this old audio there, they were MY words. I own that.
I wrote Luke a heartfelt apology. I was told he read it. That was 5 months ago.
Fast forward to this past weekend when an opportunity came for me to be in the same room with him during a very intimate, informal "radio room" hang. It was about 15 radio industry people, Luke Bryan, and his manager, Annie. We were told Luke would take "selfies" with us. While entertaining us Luke is charming as hell. He jokes around, he's playful, he's silly and even more down-to-earth and normal as you would hope.
When it came time to take my selfie picture with him, I had a massive wave of anxiety. Everyone in that room knew about the prior comments I had made. It was the 500-pound elephant in the room, and it couldn't be ignored. As I walked towards him and introduced myself, he shook my hand firmly and looked me in the eye. I couldn't tell if he knew who I was, but I felt like he might. He said "Oh, Nice to meet ya man" and I fumbled through some words back to him that I can barely remember and he snapped a pic. He took a few more selfies, thanked everyone for supporting him, and started to make his way out to his dressing room to prepare for his show. I was the last person standing between him and the exit, and he made it a point to once again shake my hand.
This time, it appeared as though he had more to say and what he said gives me chills thinking about it. He assertively and confidently approached me and leaned in. "Hey, don't sweat that stuff", he said, assuring me that the past was the past and that he in fact knew everything that was going on. He even added a little nod to get the point home. I looked at Chrissy who was standing next to me and she was equally as floored. We both looked at each other like, did that just happen?
Luke is a legit universal superstar. I do a freaking radio show in Albany, NY. The two of us are not even in the same stratosphere in the entertainment world. He did not have to do that, he chose to do that. I'm telling you this story because it shows a human side to Luke Bryan that amazed me. I'm realizing that this is incredibly common in the country music world, even if it's not common in the everyday world. At the end of the day, people matter, and words matter. Luke Bryan could have walked out of that room and not said anything to me, and that would have been plenty. But he chose to be better than that.
I was relieved and appreciative, but most importantly, I was humbled.