Darryl Worley's family barn recently burnt down and you can see the catastrophic video. In 2023, I was fortunate enough to have a chat with him and I ended up asking him nine questions

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When country star Darryl Worley, completed high school, he had dreams of becoming a military pilot. However, the United States Department of Defense says Worley soon discovered that his height, standing at an impressive 6 feet 6 inches, exceeded the military's height limit for pilots.

Even though he wasn't able to fulfill his military piloting dreams, Worley has supported the United States military through his entire career which began when he signed with DreamWorks Records Nashville in 1999.

We had an opportunity to chat with Darryl Worley, most well-known for his 2003 September 11th anthem, "Have You Forgotten" and its 2023 "Have We Forgotten?" follow-up song. Worley discussed his career, his music, and his fans.

1. Who were your biggest influences in shaping your musical style and career?

"Well, man, there was a lot of them. We were just laughing recently about one of the songs and all the guys were saying you can certainly hear the Eagles in that. I said it's OK to have at least one influence that's not in the country vain. But it goes back for me, like the Jimmy Rogers and Hank senior, you know, and Haggard and Jone. Guys. I think of Gene Watson, but it's also important you know that you find your own little pocket in there and learn how to kind of stay in there. So, you take all those influences, and you mash them all together like a big old. Pan full of mashed potatoes and pray something good comes out of that. " 

2. What is your favorite aspect of performing live and connecting with your audience?

"That part of this whole game comes pretty natural for me. I'm just a people person and I love people and I enjoy meeting folks and I laugh and joke about this, but there's some truth in it. I think that our job is we get paid to go out and make sure folks enjoy their day and have a have a really good time and I'm good at that. That's just what I do naturally, and connecting with the audience and they will also have an open heart. I think we bring a lot to the table when it comes to this kind of music. I know we can handle this. This is our bag right here."

3. Twenty years after releasing "Have You Forgotten," you released a follow-up called "Have We Forgotten." What does that song mean to you?

"Well, it means a lot to me. We wouldn't have sat down and taken the time to hammer that song out and make sure that every word was right where it needed to be, but unfortunately, we didn't get the response from the people out there that we had hoped on. That song that we basically got no response. And we kind of knew that that could be in the cards because I told my co-o writer the same guy that I wrote Have You Forgotten with. I said this is gonna be a true litmus test and it will tell us exactly where our nation is as far as what we're talking about here. You know, the answer came back real clear. People don't want you messing with their drama. And they don't want you taking their conflict and controversy away because that's the new normal, and that's their entertainment. And I suppose that's just where they are. And so, I don't think there's a whole lot more to say about that. We kind of just almost act like that song never read existed, because that's just how it." 

4. How do you think country music has evolved over the years?

"Oh goodness, it has certainly evolved in the last 25, you know, I was the guy that was still trying to have hits in the in the 2000s with 90s country songs and it was difficult. I mean, I had an incredible team of people driven and motivated and people that cared about the music. So, I was very blessed, and I had a lot of hit songs because they just wouldn't take no for an answer. But the music was already changing in a big way. It's hybrid and it's, I don't know what it is." 

5. What advice would you give to aspiring country music artists who hope to break into the industry?

" I just think no matter what, what genre you aspire to be a part of, or I, I think it's very, very important to know who you are musically and stick to your guns on that because I feel like if you don't you're not gonna be happy with your gig a couple years down the road, creating music and writing songs and  making sure that who you are is a part of that to me, is the most important thing. You take a song that's a hit song, that's a great song and it's got all the elements that they're looking for. It can knock down any wall it can jump over any obstacle. There's nothing that can stop a big old hit song and if you can, come up with one of those. " 

6. Are there any specific rituals or routines you follow to prepare yourself before performing on stage?

"Man, I've usually got somebody right in my ear until the second I walk on stage. But uh, usually when I'm walking up those stairs, I just ask the Lord to give me a good show and let me do what he would have me to do and to bless the people. Take a deep breath and go out there and do what I do best. Just throw down and pick and grin. "

7. In your opinion, what sets country music apart from other genres and makes it so relatable to a wide audience?

"I'm not sure about what that answer should be. Yeah, it was very much a unique genre and probably the most artistic thing that that the American people have ever come up with but not so much anymore. Don't think I'm not bashing it because I'm still making a living, so I should just shut up and enjoy the ride."

8. Are there any of your songs that hold a particularly special meaning to you, either because of the story they tell or the emotions they evoke?

"I Miss My Friend.  I did not write it, but it was my first number one single. It was very personal to me because it was something that I had gone through not so long before I got my hands on the song and obviously it is a song that's very close to my heart because it was my mother's favorite song and she believed that song helped her to overcome cancer the first time she had a battle with it. Just a very spiritual kind of a thing. And Have You Forgotten Obviously is close to my heart for lots of lots of different reasons. I don't think you can write these songs from your heart and not. They're like children, you love them all."

10. What inspired your song "I Miss My Friend?"

"Three guys wrote that song that that know me very well. They knew about a personal thing that I had gone through it. The wound was pretty fresh. When I first heard that song, I thought to myself, I'll never be able to perform this live and pull it off. The truth is, is it wound up being very healing for me. I think for me the reason it helped me was I thought, you know what, I'm not in this alone. Everybody's got a connection like this to this song of some sort or another, you know? And I was just so thankful for the song. It's so well written. The funny thing is, as a songwriter I had sat down and tried to write the song so many times. You know, you can be too close to the subject matter and it always comes out too personal. They just did such an incredible job of writing a song that so many people connected to it. I mean, the minute that that video hit the airways. It was just well, it was over. They told me before we ever released that song, they said, DW that's gonna be your first number one. "


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