Darius Rucker has been a mainstay in country music for more than 15 years now, but the genre was not his first musical home. The singer was the frontman for the rock band Hootie & the Blowfish for two decades — and very successfully — so, why the shift to Nashville?

"I talked about it for years," Rucker dished to Fox News ahead of the 2023 CMT Music Awards. "The moment I knew it was time was when we had a meeting and we said we weren't going to tour the way — that way anymore."

"And so I knew it was time to go to Nashville and see if I could do it."

Leaving the rocker lifestyle behind, Rucker set his sights on Nashville. Although musically talented, he still had to prove himself in the genre and garner acceptance among his peers — and he admits he didn't feel it when he first made the switch.

"When I very first started, it was a lot of naysayers and everything, but once 'Don't Think I Don't Think About It' hit, I think acceptance started," Rucker shares.

In addition to convincing other Nashville singers he wasn't a flash in the pan, the "Beers & Sunshine" singer was focused on keeping his record deal. Being able to continue making country music was the only success he was honed in on.

"My initial thoughts were, 'I have somebody paying for my record, I hope they let me make another one,'" he explains. "That was all I was thinking. I didn't really expect the success that I've got, but I'm really glad it happened."

"I have no idea why any of this is happening, I just know that I'm enjoying it," Rucker admits of his accomplishments. "I wanted to play music since I was 4 and I'm getting to do it at 56 still so I think that's pretty cool."

The "Alright" singer was on hand at the April 2 CMT Music Awards to perform with the Black Crowes, joining them for a collaborative rendition of their song "She Talks to Angels."

Next up, Rucker is launching a summer tour: The Starting Fires Tour launches on June 15, with dates running through Oct. 14. Fans are hopeful he will release his new album Carolyn's Boy ahead of the trek — he's been teasing the album since early 2022.

Top 10 Darius Rucker Songs

Ever since he broke into the country scene in 2008, Darius Rucker has had a knack for delivering warm, heartfelt country songs about life, love and everything in between. Here are 10 of his best.

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