Born on May 4, 1959, Randy Bruce Traywick was the second of six children. His father Harold, raised turkeys, bred horses, and ran a construction business, and his mother Bobbie, worked in a textile plant. Randy’s father always wanted him to become a country singer, filling the house with the sounds of Hank Williams and Stonewall Jackson albums. Harold bought his four sons western outfits and guitars, and promoted them locally as the Traywick Brothers. By the time Randy was ten years old, he and his brother, Ricky, had their own duo, playing throughout the South at fiddler’s conventions, private parties, VFW halls and anywhere and everywhere they could draw a crowd. Even at his young age Randy’s voice startled people with its resonance. He dropped out of school in the ninth grade, and after that-fast cars, drinking and drugs lead to a series of scrapes with the law.
At age 16, Randy entered a talent show hosted by Country City USA as a soloist. After winning the competition hands down, he was invited by the club owner, Lib Hatcher, to play regularly at the famed night spot. He then relocated to Charlotte. It was a stint that lasted the better part of five years with Randy first performing on week-ends and eventually full-time. Hatcher took over management of the fledgling singer and in the late ‘70s Randy recorded two singles for Paula Records, “Dreamin’“ and “She’s My Woman” with Joe Stampley producing.
In 1981 Randy made the move to Nashville, commuting regularly to Charlotte to perform at Country City, USA. He spent most of his time writing songs and getting acquainted with the Nashville scene.
Eventually Hatcher began management of another club, The Nashville Palace, where Randy worked cooking catfish and washing dishes, as well as singing on stage. It wasn’t long before he had developed a following there as well, changing his stage name to Randy Ray. The exposure led to appearances on Nashville Now and Nashville After Hours. His Nashville popularity grew by increasing word-of-mouth as people touted him as an outstanding newcomer. In 1983 while performing at the club, Randy recorded his first album independently and called it, Randy Ray - Live at the Nashville Palace. The album was mostly sold at the club between shows and is now a collector’s item and out of circulation.
Turned down by nearly every record label in Nashville, often more than once, Randy was finally signed to Warner Brothers Records in 1985. Record company executives changed his name to Travis, and Randy’s first recorded effort for his new label was “Prairie Rose”, on the soundtrack to the film, “Rustler’s Rhapsody”. It was followed by the release of the album, Storms of Life in 1986, and the rest is country music history. The first single, “On the Other Hand”, was a perfect slice of Randy’s authentic country talent. “1982” followed, and with that hit, Randy established himself as a singer and performer in the grand tradition of George Jones, Lefty Frizell, Merle Haggard and a handful of others. The success of both singles led to wide-spread demand for live shows, and Randy next set out on an extensive and ongoing tour, taking him across the United States and Canada before record-setting crowds.
Soon it seemed every award in the music business had Randy’s name on it. A string of country chart-toppers ensued, and by the end of the decade, Randy’s record sales topped thirteen million copies. During a break from touring in 1991, Randy married his longtime manager and friend, Lib Hatcher in a quiet ceremony on the island of Maui, Hawaii.
In September, 1997, after twelve albums with Warner Brothers, Randy was the first artist to sign with the newly formed DreamWorks Records label in Nashville. When “Out of My Bones”, the first single from the new label’s debut album, You and You Alone was released in 1998, he delivered the label its first number one country hit. In 2001 Randy independently released a live-concert album, Randy Travis Live, and a CD single titled “America Will Always Stand”.
In 2001 Randy’s Atlantic Records/Warner Bros. album, Inspirational Journey, won him a Dove Award for “Bluegrass Album of the Year”, and also a Dove Award for “Country Recorded Song of the Year” for the single, “Baptism”. Songs from Inspirational Journey also inspired the two-part season finale of the CBS TV series, “Touched by an Angel”, that also featured Randy playing a significant role as part of an all-star cast.
In 2003 Randy was awarded the Christian Country Music Association’s “Mainstream Country Artist of the Year”. That same year, his Word Records/Curb/Warner Bros. album, Rise and Shine was awarded a Dove Award for “Country Album of the Year”, and the single, “Three Wooden Crosses”, won the Christian Country Music Association’s “Song of the Year” award. “Three Wooden Crosses” also won the 2003 CMA Award for “Song of the Year”, and had the distinction of being the only song from a Christian label to ever make it to the number one position on the country charts.
In 2004 Randy’s Rise and Shine album was honored again, with a Grammy for “Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass, Gospel Album”. His single, “Three Wooden Crosses” won the ACM’s “Song of the Year” award, and a Dove Award, for “Country Recorded Song of the Year”. Randy’s traditional hymns album, Worship & Faith, also garnered him the Dove Award for “Country Album of the Year” in 2004, along with a Grammy for “Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass, Gospel Album” in 2005.
In 2006 Randy won a Dove Award for “Country Album of the Year” for his Word Records/Curb/Warner Bros. album of traditional hymns, Glory Train, and the album also won a Grammy in 2007 for “Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass, Gospel Album”.
Along with his full-time music career Randy has also become an accomplished actor over the years. In addition to TV guest appearances on Matlock, Touched By An Angel and Texas, his film credits include The Rainmaker (Jon Voight, Matt Damon, Danny DeVito), Frank and Jessie (Bill Paxton, Rob Lowe), Black Dog (Patrick Swayze), Fire Down Below (Steven Seagal), The White River Kid (Antonio Banderas, Ellen Barkin, Bob Hoskins), Texas Rangers (James Van Der Beek, Dylan McDermott), The Visitation, and a starring role in The Wager (Jude Ciccolella, Nancy Stafford, Bronson Pinchot), a spiritual thriller due to release in May, 2008.
Randy has also reunited with Warner Bros. Records in 2008. His highly anticipated country album, Around the Bend is being called the perfect country album. Around the Bend, does not have one out-of-place note nor one false emotion. Randy’s vocals have never sounded more expressive, better phrased or more soulfully shaded. The CD’s production is a model of crisp clarity. Each instrumental texture is placed just right. Randy reunited with long time friend and producer Kyle Lehning to record Around the Bend, and the result of their collaboration on this album is nothing short of amazing.
In the late 1980s, Randy first opened the floodgates for the New Traditionalist movement in country music. Now, with record sales over 25 million, 22 Number One hits, six Number One albums, six Grammys, six CMAs, nine ACMs, ten AMAs, seven Dove Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - Randy is the rare and lucky man who’s been able to make all his dreams come true.