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Brad Paisley: a man of many hearts

Brad Paisley: a man of many hearts

Country music megastar, charitable civilian, and hometown hero are three ways to describe one the music industry’s brightest names: Brad Paisley.

Sure, his musical accolades break records, what with 3 GRAMMYs, 2 American Music Awards, 14 Academy of Country Music Awards, and 14 Country Music Association Awards, including Entertainer of the Year. And yeah, he’s been a member of the Grande Ole Opry since 2001 and has put 32 singles on the Billboard Top 10 Country chart, 19 of which have reached #1; did I mention he broke the record for most consecutive singles to reach the top spot in 2009?  What I’m trying to say is that whether you’re a fan of Country music or not, there is no denying that Brad Paisley knows what he’s doing.

Unfortunately it seems as if an artist’s musical success has no direct correlation to their moral compass; meaning that it literally and truly does not matter how terrible of a person you are, as long as you make good music. Think about the artists who have landed a spot in the Top 40 radio stations and tell me they’re all decent people. That’s what I thought. Brad Paisley, however, has proven that his musical success and moral compass are the best of friends.

There are some artists who seem to stand their ground and set the standard for how a celebrity, and even what a person, should act: altruistic, kind-hearted, and generous. Look! Three more ways to describe Brad Paisley.

Aside from taking over the Country music industry, Paisley has set his sights on the philanthropic side of his career and is benevolently relentless. What a way to describe generosity, am I right? The thing is, Paisley is just that: relentless. His pursuit to help others is unyielding and knows no boundaries. Time and time again, Paisley has put himself at the forefront of causes and disasters, and has donated funds, time, and resources to ensure a path towards success.

Every year, Nashville holds the Brad Paisley Celebrity Invitational Fishing Tournament in aid of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He has been involved in the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and Wal-Mart’s Take a Kid Fishing Day. He’s even set up his own non-profit organization, the Brad Paisley Foundation. The foundation is a source for funds he donates to various causes, and 2016 brought along a new disaster for Paisley to dedicate his time to.

On June 23rd, 2016, West Virginia, Paisley’s hometown, was struck by severe floods, leaving 44 of the 55 counties in a state of emergency; three counties were declared federal disasters. The flooding killed over 20 citizens and destroyed hundreds of small towns, many of which were already rundown and in need of repair.

Days after the flood, Paisley turned to his fans and challenged them to shed light on the goodness in their hearts. He uploaded a video of his acoustic performance of John Denver’s “Country Roads,” and spoke to his fans in a moment of pure honesty.

“One of the best ways I have found that hopefully will raise the largest amount of money the quickest and get it to the people in need the fastest is through GoFundMe,” said Paisley. “I have set a goal of $1 million — this is doable and only a small portion of what is needed.”

Paisley donated $100,000 to kickstart the fund and, since its creation three months ago, 6,131 people of Paisley Nation have collectively donated $710,083. While the goal hasn’t been met and the victims in West Virginia still need assistance, it’s important to realize the impact Paisley has on the people. Over 6,000 strangers donated to the Brad Paisley Foundation, an organization started by a Country artist, who the vast majority have never met, that is giving the money raised to people who, once again, the vast majority have never met.

Again, whether you’re a fan of Paisley or Country music, or defiantely against the genre, it’s ridiculously clear to see why the mogul was awarded the Country Radio Broadcaster’s Artist Humanitarian Award in 2004.

I’ve chosen the word “mogul” carefully because when you take a step back and skim through his resume, Pasley has proven that he can conquer just about anything.

The superstar is currently working with Boot Barn to develop a clothing line of jeans, hats, t-shirts, jewelry, belts, and woven shirts, appropriately titled Moonshine Spirit by Brad Paisley; his most recent and tenth studio album Moonshine in the Trunk can be thanked for the name of the line.

He’s also been known to aid his fans in marking milestones in their relationships. During his 2016 show in Laughlin, Nevada, Paisley helped a man propose to his girlfriend during his 2003 single “Little Moments.” At his St. Louis show, his eye caught a glimpse of a sign that asked Paisley to reveal the gender of a young couple’s third child. He took the bait, brought the couple on stage, and announced to the audience, and the eager couple, that their third child would be a boy.

As of now, Paisley is currently on the Country Nation College Tour, presented by Frontier Communications; the West Virginian is traveling around the States and putting on free shows for college students. In fact, he’ll be at East Carolina University on October 6th!

If you aren’t able to make the show, keep your eye on Paisley because rumor has it that his eleventh album will drop any day now. Until then, keep his most recent single featuring Demi Lovato, “Without a Fight,” on repeat.

Sheila Walsh graduated from USC Aiken in 2015 with a degree in English. While in school, she won an essay competition for an argumentative essay on why the arts are crucial to the education system. Additionally, she was recruited to play volleyball for USCA and contributed to a weekly journal discussing the life of a student-athlete. She currently resides in Charlotte, NC.

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