Country songs are often based on real life experiences. Thirty-year-old singer-songwriter Jimmy Wayne filled his debut album with songs that deal with his childhood and teenage years. His early years were very difficult, so he wrote music as a form of therapy. Now, he hopes to inspire others in similar situations.
Jimmy Wayne's self-titled debut album is an autobiographical collection of songs. Blue And Brown was inspired by the years he spent as a corrections officer at a prison in his home state of North Carolina.
Jimmy Wayne spent most of his early childhood living in foster homes because his single mother was unable to take care of Wayne and his older sister. When he was nine, she married a drug-addicted, abusive man, who made their lives more difficult. Three years later, Wayne's mom went to prison, and he went to live with his grandfather. It was then that Wayne began writing songs. He and his sister returned home after their mother was released from jail. But, the abuse from his stepfather continued, and at 16, Wayne ran away from home. While living on the streets, he met a couple who hired him to do their yardwork. They eventually invited Jimmy to live with them. During the next six years, the couple cared for him and encouraged his musical aspirations.
Wayne attended college, and earned a degree in criminal justice. That led to a job at a correctional facility, where he worked for four years.
But, his heart was still in music, so Wayne quit his job and headed to Nashville, where he found work as a songwriter at the legendary Acuff-Rose publishing company. Last year, he auditioned for executives at DreamWorks Records and was offered a recording deal. His first hit for the label, Stay Gone, reached Number three on Billboard's Country chart.
Wayne wrote Stay Gone after visiting his sister, who was trying to end a relationship with her boyfriend.
Also on Wayne's album is Paper Angel, that tells the story of his childhood Christmases. His mother would take the kids to the Salvation Army, which let underprivileged children write a gift idea on a paper angel tree. Wayne considers The Rabbit one of the most important songs to him. He wrote it while remembering the night his stepfather beat and stabbed his mother.
Wayne doesn't dwell on his painful childhood. In fact, he says he now believes God was just preparing him for his future. Wayne also feels his music is a gift that might give hope to others facing difficult times. "My responsibility in the past, when I was sleeping outside every night, was just to survive. My responsibility now is to stay real, stay grounded, and just tell the truth," he said.
And he'll do that as he continues a U.S. concert tour that's currently scheduled to run through October.