By bucking norms, Ashley McBryde became one of country’s most respected, and unlikeliest, stars. Here, her music, family and life in Nashville are explored on a new roundtable special for PULSE, airing on Sunday from noon to 1 p.m. ET/8 a.m. PT.
Ashley McBryde: Welcome, PULSE. It’s so great to be here.
We will learn about her music career here in Nashville and the evolution of her life. But first, I want to ask a personal question: What was your first impression of Nashville, where you grew up and where you are now?
When I was in elementary school, I started making all of these little videos for my family and friends. Every picture I took was taken on the front porch with the sun shining right in our window — you could see the white house all the way across the street. My dad would pick my pocket money and I would have to tell him that I got one dollar. And the first time I did it, I told him, “I’m not gonna do it anymore.”
My dad and I used to watch old movies in our garage. And I would go to my room and put on my headphones and crank up the radio and put “Heart Like a Wheel” on my CD player and I would listen to that song and I got hooked. You never heard a song like it.
This is when I realized that I wanted to sing.
Aunt Helen and my dad would come over for dinner and then I would listen to “Heart Like a Wheel” and I would stand up in my family room and do my little rendition of it. And then the next day, I would write it up on a scrap of paper and tape it to the wall of my room in my bed. And by the end of the week, it was a real song that I was singing.
When I was 13, I went to a choir camp. And they had a bunch of middle school boys in this camp that all had the same attitude toward their singing that they were really good at it. And to me, it just sounded like a joke. It might as well have been a song for me to sing.
I didn’t get really big until I was 19. I was 18 when I got to go to college and I just kept getting better and