Born January 7, 1974, in Amarillo, Texas, John Rich first found mainstream success in the country band Lonestar as its bassist and occasional lead singer. But after recording two albums, the band parted ways in 1998.
After becoming somewhat disillusioned with the music industry, Rich co-founded a collective of musical outsiders known as the MuzikMafia, which began playing in a small Nashville bar called Pub of Love. His like-minded companions included "Big Kenny" Alphin, Gretchen Wilson, James Otto and Jon Nicholson.
When Rich teamed with Big Kenny to form Big & Rich, they caught everybody by surprise with a double-platinum debut, driven by the hit "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)." Rich also co-wrote and produced Wilson's award-winning anthem, "Redneck Woman," as well as "Here for the Party," and "When I Think About Cheatin'." His writing career continued to explode with cuts by Jason Aldean, Faith Hill, and Taylor Swift, along with many others.
Rich released his Warner Bros. Records solo debut in March of 2009, "Son of a Preacher Man," which spawned "Shuttin' Detroit Down," becoming the first solo Top 15 single of his career on the country singles charts and the fastest-rising single of his career.
Its premiere airing on Detroit country radio stations galvanized the working class in the beleaguered blue-collar city, and the universality of its sentiment lit up phone lines across the country and made it the fastest-rising single of Rich's storied career.
The song is a fitting kickoff to "Son of a Preacher Man," an album that finds country music's renaissance everyman giving full rein to his own creative voice in a project as personal as it is musically arresting. With its release, one of modern music's most prolific and creative spirits opens yet another chapter, stepping into the front ranks of solo performers amid a career in musical partnerships as someone whose songwriting and producing skills have helped shape the talents of others.
The record is a wide-ranging work, with songs ranging from the upbeat, riff-laden "Trucker Man" to "The Good Lord and the Man" and "Preacher Man," poignant and personal looks at his grandfather and father, respectively; from the aching "Another You" and "I Don't Want to Lose Your Love" to "Everybody Wants to Be Me," a honky-tonk rocker fans will recognize as vintage Rich. Capping it all off is "Drive Myself to Drink," a big band extravaganza that rates as pure musical adventure, and which was recorded live.
Overall, the CD is a window into the creative approach of a unique musical stylist, a country music original whose high-profile celebrity status belies his humble origins and reflects his desire to pack everything into the life he lives and the art he creates.
Rich has garnered multiple Grammy, ACM, CMA and CMT Music Award nominations. He was also awarded the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year Award in 2005, 2006 and 2007; has written 14 Top 10 singles; and is the only artist in country music history to have a Top 15 release as a group, duo and solo artist.
John Rich is playing for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, an organization that treats children with cancer and prides itself on never having turned a child away. In addition to treatment, St. Jude is dedicated to extensive research in order to find a cure for various forms of pediatric cancer. John first encountered St. Jude over 15 years ago when he played music for a group of kids in the hospital, and he's been involved with the organization ever since.
1. What got you interested in being on Celebrity Apprentice?
I've been a fan of the show for several seasons now, and I looked at being involved in this season as a chance to work on behalf of something bigger than myself, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
2. How did you get involved with your chosen charity?
St. Jude is the main charity of country music. As a genre, we've raised hundreds of millions of dollars. Over the years I've been involved in radiothons, fundraisers and personal interaction with the kids at the hospital and I believe that the most important thing in this world is the kids. If you have the chance to help them, you always should.
3. What is it like competing against fellow celebrities?
I found that the other celebrities on the show always showed me respect, and I did the same. We are obviously all very different, yet we are there for the same reason: to raise money for our chosen charities. To me, that takes the competition element out of it and really makes it all about raising as much money as possible.
4. What about the competition was harder than you might have expected?
The lack of sleep was hard to get used to. Once exhaustion hits you, that's when you gut check and decide to wimp out, or go for it. This game is not for the faint of heart.
5. Do you have a favorite past winner or contestant from the first three seasons of Celebrity Apprentice?
I really liked the way Trace handled himself on the show. Knowing him personally, I know it's not in his nature to put up with some of the crazy grind that this show puts you through. The thing that kept him in it till the end was his love for his daughter and wanting to see money and awareness raised for her condition. He should have won.
1. Are you glad you never heard the words "You're fired?"
Hearing "You're fired" from Trump is something you never want to hear. It's like the death angel calling your name.
2. What moment or moments on the show were you surprised to see? Were you particularly surprised by anyone's behavior on the show?
I was surprised to see that NeNe really was a weak player. She comes off as so tough and then just fell apart when the heat hit her. You have to be able to keep your cool in the real world when things don't go your way. She cracked and it cost her. She lost Trump's respect.
I also now realize why Meatloaf's music is so emotional. Because he is probably the most emotional person I've ever been around. He's a true one-of-a-kind, and someone I admire. He's either laughing, crying or wanting to kick your ass. AWESOME.
3. Do you feel as though you've made any lasting friendships and business relationships from the show? With who?
I really got tight with Lil Jon, Mark McGrath and Meat probably because of the love of music that we have in common. Star Jones was very kind to me as was La Toya, Nikki and Marlee. Richard Hatch went from 'evaluating' me to really being a great team player and a friend.
4. What was the best part of your experience? Why?
The best part of this experience was learning that I am at my best when I'm playing on behalf of someone else. I think that keeping St. Jude as my focus filtered out the worst in me, and brought out the best in me.
5. Do you feel changed in any way by the experience? Has it had a lasting impact on your approach to life?
I feel that some of the people I've met on the show will remain friends of mine for years to come. I also feel that I learned a bit about my ability to self-control and focus on the objective even through the fog of exhaustion, sickness and mental fatigue. It was also a great pleasure to meet the Trumps. They are truly American royalty, and sincere patriots.
6. What has the experience taught you about people?
People are people.