So what’s the connection between CBS, UNC, Country Music and NASCAR?
It’s twenty-eight year-old Chase Rice.
Born in Florida on September 19, 1986, son of Daniel and Connie Rice, brother to Chad. Chase was raised in Asheville, North Carolina. He attended AC Reynolds High School and attended UNC at Chapel Hill as the #44 linebacker for the Tar Heels football team from 2005-08. Rice selected the No. 44 because he “always liked linebackers with that number.” (Source: Goheels.com)
Rice had torn a tendon in his left ankle in his Junior year of college. He went through rehab and tried to come back hoping to tryout out for the NFL after graduation, but it just wasn’t the same and knew it.
“It was time to move on,” said Rice. That’s when he began to take music more seriously.
But then came Survivor: Nicaragua. Rice was selected as a cast member, which premiered on September 15, 2010. At the season finale, the jury chose Jud “Fabio” Birza as the title of Sole Survivor over Rice and Matthew “Sash” Lenahan in a 5–4–0 vote. (As a side note for a little giggle, on this season of Survivor, there was a contestant named Jimmy Johnson, from Tallahassee, Fla. Unfortunately, Johnson was 3rd to be voted out on Day 8.) [You will understand this note as you continue reading!]
Chase Rice has come to the realization over a weekend visit that “life is extra twangy in Nashville” and that’s where he belongs. Rice moved to Music City in late 2010 to focus on Country music and to make his dream a reality and rented a house with buddies Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley – aka as Florida Georgia Line.
Rice sets that his father was his inspiration for his country career, recalling that his father once told him” anyone can play guitar, but no one is gonna really listen to you until you start singing.”
Back in April 2012, Rice’s Dirt Road Communion was released by his label, Dack Janiels and debuted on the Billboard Country Albums at #48 (go figure!) [You will understand as you continue reading!] chart and was the number six download on iTunes for that week.
And in no way did his appearance on CBS’s Survivor: Nicaragua help to launch his Country music career.
Only after Rice co-wrote “Cruise,” the No. 1 smash hit by Florida Georgia Line with a college room-mate, did his career start taking off. “Cruise,” the first single for Florida Georgia Line, reached #1 on the Country Airplay chart on December 15, 2012. A remix of “Cruise” featuring Nelly later hit number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song went on to spend 24 weeks at number 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart, setting a record for the longest stay at number 1 in the chart’s 70-year history, and was also ranked as the number one country single of 2013 by Billboard. [Source: Bing]
Rice’s newest album IGNITE THE NIGHT was released on October 15, 2013 and the single Ready Set Roll, became an instant hit. On January 29, 2014, the official Ready Set Roll music video premiered exclusively on CMT.
Ok, so by now I bet you are wondering why am I telling you about a Country singer and a college football linebacker? What’s the catch?
Well, if you know me, you should know that there has to be a tie-in with racing if I am to write about it… at least somewhere, no matter how big or small.
So, here it is for those of you who did not know:
After graduating from UNC with a double degree in Management and Communications, Rice was selected to join the NASCAR Pit Crews for Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson. Rice worked a few years as a rear-ire carrier and was part of the crew for two championships with the Lowe’s team.
“There’s something awesome about being at the track that I just can’t explain,” said Rice. “But I knew that my dream was to be a musician. I worked there for a few years, and then decided to follow yet another dream.”
Wow, so how cool is THAT?
I would also like to do a special shout-out that Chase Rice will be performing at the House of Blues, Orlando, FL (my home town) on Oct. 16th and I will be there!
And who knows, if you don’t see Chase on stage in some city, you may very well see him at a NASCAR track near you!