Jason Michael Carroll had a chance to be the next Eminem ... thanks to his mom! Before Jason had his first hit in country music, his mother found out about a local contest called Gimme the Mic and asked him to enter it. Although her son was not keen on the idea, she signed him up for it anyway.

"She called me up and said, 'Jason, I know you got a show two-and-a-half hours away Friday night, and you're not gonna get in bed until probably four in the morning, but you better be at the mall at 7:00 AM in Raleigh, N.C., on Saturday morning. Do it for your mother,'" Jason recalls with a laugh. "You really can't say anything to that but, 'Yes, ma'am!'"

Jason honored Mom's wishes and won the competition, with the grand prize being a trip to New York to audition for record companies. "What they didn't tell me was I was auditioning for rap record labels ... as a country singer from North Carolina," Jason explains. "Every one of the guys in that room looked at me and said, 'We really like country, dog,' but they couldn't help me."

Winning the show wasn't all bad -- it actually got Jason the visibility that led to his current record deal. Plus there was another perk to winning the contest: "The trip wasn't a total wash," he says. "I mean, I did get to see the Statue of Liberty."