How Tim McGraw’s Mom Responded When He Dropped Out of College

Tim McGraw is one of the biggest country music stars of all time. But the musician almost had a different career path. McGraw attended college, but after learning to play guitar, he decided to pursue a different dream — with the support of his mom.

Tim McGraw’s country music career

Country music singer Tim McGraw performs in 1996
Tim McGraw performs in 1996 | Paul Natkin/Getty Images

The country star’s hits include “It’s Your Love,” “Just to See You Smile,” “Live Like You Were Dying,” and “I Like It, I Love It.” McGraw has also won three Grammys, 14 ACMs, and 11 CMAs. He has sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.

The country superstar has also found love, marrying fellow country star Faith Hill in 1996. McGraw and Hill have worked together on music and screen, most recently in Yellowstone spinoff 1883. The couple’s Soul2Soul II Tour is one of the top five highest-grossing tours of all time.

What Tim McGraw’s mother said when he dropped out of college

McGraw, a talented baseball player, received a scholarship to Northeast Louisiana University to play for the school. A knee injury while still in school ended his dreams of pursuing a professional career in the sport. While at college, McGraw learned how to play the guitar and would play and sing for money.

“I was in pre-law in college,” McGraw explained to Esquire. “And then I discovered playing guitar. I finally had to make a phone call to my mom and say, “I’m going to drop out of college, sell everything I have, and move to Nashville.” I said that wincing, expecting a rebuke, but got ‘If you don’t do it, you’ll always regret it.’”

McGraw, who had transferred to Florida Community College at Jacksonville at this point, dropped out in 1989 and headed to Nashville.

By 1991, McGraw had signed a deal with Curb Records and released his debut single, “What Room Was the Holiday In.” His first album, which was self-titled, did not sell well, but by 1994, McGraw was dominating the country music world.

His second album, Not a Moment Too Soon, became the best-selling country album of 1994 and spawned hits like “Don’t Take the Girl” and “Down on the Farm.” From there, McGraw’s career took off.

A full-circle moment for Tim McGraw

McGraw and Hill have three daughters, Gracie, 24, Maggie, 23, and Audrey, 20. Gracie is pursuing an acting career, and McGraw shared a full-circle moment he recently experienced.

“My oldest daughter wanted to move to LA,” McGraw shared. “It was tough. But I was 18 or 19 wanting to move to Nashville. How can I say, ‘Well, I did it, but you can’t?’”

McGraw’s mother’s support of his pursuit of a music career encouraged him to drop out of college and move to Nashville, and his fans will forever be grateful!

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