Aaron Watson, ACU alum and chart-topping country artist, joined us last week to kick off this year’s CEO Chapel series. We had nearly 300 students in attendance, making it the highest-attended CEO Chapel ever! But in case you missed it or were stuck in the hallway unable hear our friend Aaron, here’s a quick recap of his thoughts on faith, family and the music industry.
Aaron Watson shares his story of faith, family and the music industry at CEO Chapel
“Believe it or not, ACU prepared me for what I needed to enter the Honky Tonk music world.”
One of the main things Aaron mentioned several times was the value of hard work. He didn’t become the number one artist in country music overnight, but started working two jobs during college to fund his musical dreams. Aaron took guitar lessons all while working at Perini Ranch waiting tables and at ACU planting crepe myrtle trees on campus. He sold his first CD out of his backpack and before long he began playing shows around Abilene, but soon saw the need for focus on a broader audience.
“I owned Abilene, I was like Elvis here,” Watson said. “But I started thinking – We’ve got to get out of Taylor County.”
Watson realized that to be more aggressive in the Texas Country scene, he’d have to step up the business side of things. The work was hard and frustrating at times in the beginning. Aaron recalled one of the more difficult moments in his career when he played a show in Midland that only 40 people attended.
“It was frustrating, and no one showed up,” he said. “That is a pride swallowing thing –when you have passion in something that you believe in but nobody else does. And that’s something you’re going to run in to as an entrepreneur. You’re going to have a passion, you’re going to have a product and it’s not going to take off immediately, if it does you’re really lucky.”
Watson took a month off from performing after getting married and when he returned, he had a hit song and sold-out shows all over Texas. Nashville record labels began reaching out to Aaron, but even after meetings, he decided to remain an independent artist.
Aaron released his twelfth album in February, which debuted on Country Music Billboard as the number one record, making him the first independent artist ever to have number one record on Country Billboard.
“I always tell people that I’m not up and coming. I’m slow and steady. And that’s how you should think about all of your businesses,” Aaron said.
As Aaron continues to grow his brand, he left us with some great bits of advice.
I put my faith and my love for Jesus out there in front right off the bat.
The resource or app that I use the most is MLB.com.
Treat everyone with respect, whether they are custodian or CEO.
There’s nothing you should be ashamed of about hard work.
Your faith better always be applicable to your business, because how can it not be.
And finally, It’s easy to be a Christian when you’re on the hill at ACU. But you’ve got to get out there and say what needs to be said. If you live the life that Jesus wants you to live, it’s only going to help your business.