Tracy Lawrence Biography

About One of Country Music's Most Recognizable Voices

Tracy Lawrence
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Tracy Lee Lawrence was born on January 27, 1968 in Atlanta, Texas, and he grew up in Foreman, Arkansas. Lawrence displayed a knack for music at an early age, and he was performing with a local band by the time he was 15. He attended Southern Arkansas University and he moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1990 after graduating to try his luck at landing a recording contract.

In the Beginning

Lawrence worked a series of day jobs, including ironworking and telemarketing, while he was trying to make it big.

He started performing on the talent show circuit and had gigs at the famous Bluebird Cafe where he met Wayne Edwards, who eventually became his manager.

Lawrence inked a deal with Atlantic Records with Edwards' help and started working on his debut album, Sticks and Stones. It was slated for a May 1991 release, but just before the scheduled date, Lawrence was walking a girlfriend back to her hotel room when they were attacked by three armed men. He fought back, allowing his girlfriend to escape, but he was shot four times: two bullets grazed him, one had to be surgically removed from his knee and the other remains permanently embedded in his pelvis.

Given Lawrence's physical condition, Sticks and Stones was put on hold. Lawrence underwent therapy and the album was released later in the year when he was physically able to promote it. The title track skyrocketed to No. 1 on the country charts, followed by a string of more Top 10 hits: "Runnin' Behind," "Today's Lonely Fool" and "Somebody Paints the Wall."

Lawrence's Early Career

Lawrence followed up with Alibis in 1993, which brought similar success. The album's title track and three singles, "Can't Break It to My Heart," "My Second Home" and "If the Good Die Young," were all No. 1 hits. Alibis became certified two times platinum and Lawrence won Top New Male Vocalist at the 1993 Academy of Country Music Awards.

He produced the Top 10 hit "Renegades, Rebels and Rogues" for the soundtrack to the 1994 film "Maverick." He also issued his third album, I See It Now, which produced the No. 2 hits "As Any Fool Can See" and the title track. Lawrence was arrested on a weapons charge that same year, but it didn't put a damper on his success.

He issued Time Marches On, another monster hit, in 1996. The title track topped the country charts and the singles "If You Love Me," "Stars Over Texas" and "Is That a Tear" were No. 4, No. 2 and No. 2 country hits respectively. The Coast Is Clear continued his success streak in 1997 thanks to the Top Five singles "Better Man, Better Off" and the title track.

Tough Times

Despite Lawrence's high profile success and his reputation as one the biggest names in country music, he hit a bit of a rough patch in early 1998. Lawrence was convicted of charges related to a 1997 incident in which his wife accused him of hitting her several times and threatening her after a performance in Nevada. His wife chose to report the incident instead of pressing charges, and the couple split soon after.

Lawrence kept a low profile for the next few years and returned in 2000 with the mediocre Lessons Learned.

It was his most poorly-performing album to date. At the end of the year the Nashville division of Atlantic Records shuttered, so he transferred to Warner Bros. His relationship with Warner Bros. was short lived, however. He released Tracy Lawrence in 2001 to a disappointing reception and left the label shortly thereafter.

Lawrence then switched to DreamWorks Records and released Strong in 2003. "Paint Me a Birmingham" became his first Top Five hit since 1999. Lawrence switched labels again in 2005 and released Then & Now: The Hits Collection on Mercury Records. It included two new songs, "Used to the Pain" and "If I Don't Make It Back."

Lawrence started his own label, Rocky Comfort Records in 2006. It was a joint venture with CO5 Nashville. He debuted the first single for his upcoming album, "Find Out Who Your Friends Are," in August 2006, and For the Love was released in January 2007.

The single didn't hit the country charts until after the album was released, but that June it became his first No. 1 single in 11 years. The song's rise to No. 1 is the second slowest climb by a single on any Billboard singles chart and it's the slowest climbing No. 1 country single of all time.

Tracy Lawrence Today

Lawrence crossed over to the Christian music market in 2009 and released The Rock. The album earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album. Lawrence then released The Singer in 2011 and Headlights, Taillights and Radios in 2013. Greatest Hits: Evolution was released a year later, also by Lawrence Music Group.  

Lawrence got a boost from his new label, but it wasn't enough to recreate the momentum he once had. Lawrence has continued to tour across the country steadily since releasing Headlights, Taillights and Radios in 2012. He continues to tour in 2017. 

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