Charlie Worsham Looks Back on Big Year, Gears Up for New Faces Show

Jim Wright

Charlie Worsham

The past twelve months have been an amazing time in the career of Charlie Worsham. “It’s been a really crazy year,” he admits to Billboard. “It’s hard to believe how much things change and evolve in a year’s time. From having a first single that did really well, and now having a second single moving up the charts to being in a van last year, and now we’re in a bus. I’m just really grateful for all that has happened. I’ve gotten so much love from the country music community as well as the fans. Literally, I’m just trying to take it all in.”

Worsham watched last year as his Warner Brothers debut “Could It Be” made its way up the Country Airplay chart, peaking at 13. His follow-up single, “Want Me Too,” is climbing the chart, currently sitting at 38. His success at radio helped him score an invitation to play the prestigious New Faces Show tonight to close out the Country Radio Seminar. He says getting voted onto the show by radio was a dream come true.

“I attended my first New Faces show last year, and loved it. The performances were all very inspiring, and I got the itch to be up there myself. For about a year, I’ve gotten to know people at country radio, and as those relationships have grown, it means more and more to me that they felt it right for me to be a part of that show. It’s truly an honor.”

Building those relationships with radio is something that Worsham says he enjoyed doing, though there was a lot of repetition. “The first three months that I got to know radio was on the radio tour. It’s sort of like Groundhog Day. You wake up, and it’s great that you are meeting all these personalities, but on my end, I’m doing the same couple of songs and jokes. I’ve even learned all the promotion team’s jokes. But, it was great because I got to spend a lot of quality time with programmers from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon, and hear their stories.”

Worsham says just like with being an artist, being in radio requires a lot of passion. “It is very similar. Radio is one of those careers that people get into because they are passionate. They don’t care what it pays or what the hours are, because they love it. It was really cool to hear stories about when they used to pull carts, and play actual records, doing the overnight shift when they would show up at 7 or 8 at night, and how much people love music. Country radio is full of people who genuinely love the music they play.”

More New Faces:

There have been many early believers in Worsham at radio, including JR Schumann with WWKA in Orlando, and Kevin Christopher at KJKE in Oklahoma City, whom Worsham credits with playing his debut single over two thousand times. He also credits WXTU/Philadelphia’s Shelly Easton for her support, though he did say she was an intimidating force -- at least at first. “It was day two or three of the tour, and she’s such an imposing person -- very beautiful and hard to read if you don’t know. She sat me down and said ‘I want to tell you something,’ and I’m thinking, ‘Well, this is over.’ She said ‘That was great. I’m going to support you.' She added me in medium on day one.”

He also credits Johnny Chiang at Houston’s KKBQ for helping to launch the new single. “He has been a great friend. He played ‘Want Me Too’ sixty times a week ahead of the add date. That’s crazy. It’s not lost on me that PDs meet so many artists, and they hear so much music. I can’t even fathom how they can even listen to everything once, much less digest the music. But, for him to play the second single that much, and believe in me, that says a lot.”

Worsham -- known for his virtuosity on many different instruments -- says he is going to stick to just one tonight. “I’m just going to stick with guitar. I really want to show country radio my electric side. They’ve all had to grin and bear my banjo numerous times, so I will leave that to one of my friends in the band!”


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