Over the past few years I have had the honor and pleasure of having the opportunity to meet and interview several country music stars at the National FFA Convention & Expo concerts.
2011 – Meghan Linsey of Steel Magnolia, Little Big Town and Blake Shelton
Country music artists share motivation with FFA members
By Lauren Schwab, Newsroom Crew
INDIANAPOLIS – Lucas Oil Stadium quickly filled with thousands of FFA members Thursday evening at the national FFA convention, anticipating the country music sensations of Blake Shelton, Little Big Town and Steel Magnolia. While their musical talent and flawless stage presence captivated the audience, the artists remind FFA members of the hard work behind stage to achieve success.
Meghan Linsey of Steel Magnolia expressed to FFA members the importance of setting goals and sticking to them. Linsey has found strength in standing apart from the crowd and striving to accomplish her goals despite the odds against her. “You can get lost in the shuffle, only you can do what you do well. If you can focus on what you do well and do that the best you possibly can, I think that no one can touch you. We all bring different things to the table, so just find out what that is in you and use it,” said Linsey. She has also not taken for granted the strength given to her through a strong support system. “I think it’s really important to have that unit around you, that’s one of the most important things when you’re trying to build something. Just keep people around you that are positive, that uplift you and support you,” said Linsey.
For country quartet, Little Big Town, the importance in striving towards their goals is no different. They encourage FFA members to take a struggle or challenge they have gone through and use it for growth. “It (having gone through challenges) strengthened the bond between us. As a unit it made us closer and created a family bond because we’ve gone through so many things together,” said Jimi Westbrook.
For Little Big Town, recording music and performing as a group succeeds through teamwork. “We have to be like-minded. It’s about the band; it’s not about one of us. So we come together and figure out what the band wants us to do and what goals we want to accomplish,” said Karen Fairchild, “It has to be a family discussion, a band discussion. There is chemistry between the four of us that is natural, but we also work hard at it because we take care of each other and make sure were headed toward the same goal.”
Even with all the success they have achieved, the group is still striving to better themselves and encourages FFA members to do the same with their ambitions. “For us it’s creatively challenging and inspiring to do that (striving to do better) to put ourselves outside of where we would normally go. It’s in us to strive and push ourselves. It helps us to open up and try new things,” said Phillip Sweet. “Every night when we walk off stage we talk about what went well and what didn’t go so well, so the next night we can make it better. Every time we make a new record we talk about what the new goals are for that record… what we can do to make it more interesting than the last one,” said Kimberly Schlapman.
FFA members will leave national convention with the motivation and tools to achieve premier leadership, personal growth and career success. Now is their time to say, “I believe I can.”
2012- Brantley Gilbert and The Band Perry
2014- Justin Moore and Easton Corbin
Justin Moore and Easton Corbin Share Their Secrets to Career Success
By Lauren Schwab, Newsroom Crew
LOUISVILLE – The KFC Yum! Center quickly filled with thousands of FFA members Wednesday evening during the 87th National FFA Convention & Expo in anticipation of country music sensations Justin Moore and Easton Corbin. While their musical talent and flawless stage presence captivated the audience, the artists remind FFA members of the hard work behind stage to achieve career success.
“After I was done with college I went straight to Nashville. To follow this dream you have to be there to make it happen. To go all out you have to put your heart out there,” Corbin said. Corbin has partnered with the Ram Truck brand to thank hard-working and dedicated FFA members as part of Ram brand’s celebration of the “Year of the Farmer.” “It’s an honor to get out there and give back to such a great organization,” Corbin said.
Corbin encourages FFA members to go all out for their dreams despite any self-doubt they have. “You have to believe in yourself and believe in your talents and what your dream is. For me, I remember when I had stage fright. At one point I thought, I love to sing, this is what I want to do, so I can’t let something like stage fright keep me back from it,” Corbin said, “It’s about going all out and giving what you got, just go out there and do it.”
For Justin Moore, the importance of hard work to achieve career success is no different. “No matter what you’re doing, go do it to the best of your ability. If you want something you have to go out and get it,” Moore said. “To get to the top of your business you have to have a strong work ethic. It’s been a huge part of my success.”
Moore advises FFA members to take a struggle or challenge they have gone through and use it for personal growth toward their career success. “There’s always going to be obstacles; there’s always going to be lows. We really find out about ourselves and find out what were made of when there are the lows. When you can have a high after a low that’s when you’re doing something,” Moore said.
Moore encourages FFA members to go all out for their dreams despite all odds. “Go do what you want to do and only you are in charge of your life. It doesn’t really matter if somebody tells you what you can’t do, you can go do it,” Moore said. “I am a prime example; I grew up in a town of 300 people and this (being a country music artist) is not something you’re supposed to be able to do. I would say (to FFA members) go do it, and when you get knocked back down… get back up on the horse and keep on.”
Corbin and Moore demonstrated to FFA members what it is to go all out to achieve career success. Now is the time for members to put in the hard work, go out and do it.