Embrace your mistakes. I used to stress and crush myself for making mistakes. We are all human and making mistakes is a wonderful learning experience.
As a part of our series about Nashville’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Graham Bunn.
Graham Bunn is country music’s favorite personality. Charismatic, quick-witted, and dripping in Southern charm, Graham has entertained audiences for years while hosting country radio. His unique ability to personally connect with artists gives listeners an insightful and personal take on their favorite country musicians and songs. His connection with country music fans, rising artists, and industry greats like Shania Twain, Travis Tritt, and Jake Owen continued in Nashville as host of USA Network’s TV show, RealCountry. With an authentic conversational style and an easy laugh, Graham becomes fast friends with Country Music’s biggest stars through his interviews and has a true knack for bringing everyone into his circle of friends.
Raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, Bunn’s love for country music runs long and deep. He played college basketball for Appalachian State University and went on to play professional basketball in Europe (but maintains his greatest accomplishment in hoops is forever dominating Kip Moore) before returning to the States to pursue different projects in television and Country Music. Based in LA, Bunn is a devout Christian and active supporter of the community. When he isn’t working, you can find him hosting a crew at his house in Los Angeles, playing with his Dog, Kevin, or hanging at the Troubadour.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/f6e8c7c25631cef155e5851a7c8c0e0a
Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?
I grew up in the suburbs of Raleigh NC, where there was no shortage of grass to cut for my Dress Blues Winning Marine of a father or country music on the beat up radio when we were in the garage working on cars.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
This will annoy some people, but Jesus put his hand on my shoulder and sorta delivered this opportunity to me. I started in radio, out in SoCal with zero training or background in broadcasting about 6 years ago. I was landscaping and painting to make ends meet here in LA, driving a lifted old Chevy around town, kept a tight grip on my NC accent and everyone else must have really been busy because they just threw me in the deep end for morning drive on the local country radio station. That went well enough that I found myself hosting a Country Music Television show in Nashville a few years later with legends like Travis Tritt and Shania Twain.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Honestly, I think my career beginning at all is the most interesting thing to happen to me. One story that stands out, and will always stand out, is one night after filming an episode of “Real Country” Travis Tritt came by my dressing room to hang out for a bit til his bus pulled out for an upcoming show. We sat in that dressing room, I enjoyed a few Jack Daniel cocktails, and listened to him tell countless personal stories about hanging out with Waylon Jennings. Waylon is someone I can only read about and being able to not only spend personal time with someone as legendary as Travis Tritt but two fold get to hear intimate stories about WAYLON was a very cool night. Having drinks with Double T ain’t bad. That was probably way cooler for me than him!
Can you share with us an interesting story about living/ working in Nashville?
Nashville is an incredible community, and never a dull moment in the country music industry. One of the things I loved most was being able to connect with a few artists that had become real friends of mine and be invited to play in an industry pick up basketball game. I think Nashville is unique in that artists, songwriters, music managers, musicians, roadies, and drivers are really all friends. The night I got to play, so many cool people just hanging out, being homies and doing life together. Scooter Braun was in the house, (and the rumors are true, the guy has a jumper with RANGE). Jackie Lee, an incredibly talented artist was there setting some very questionable screens! Sam Hunt was there and reminded me how un athletic I am on more occasions than I would like to admit. It was just a really cool night to be a part of that, which goes on all the time.
Can you share with us a few of the best parts of living/ working in Nashville? We’d love to hear some specific examples or stories about that.
Living in and working in Nashville keeps you close to the flame. When you are fortunate enough to develop real relationship with artist in Nashville, and I have been, you get to be a part of spontaneous days where maybe Dustin Lynch is in studio and ask you to stop by, or you meet up with Brett Young to watch a Lakers game then get to hear new music he is working on. Just like anything else, being present and available is a very rewarding quality. Being present is probably my best quality. You wanna hang out? I’ll hang out!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting?
I’ve made so many mistakes, naming one would be a disservice to my body of work… which is impressive. Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that? I’ve learned WAY more from my mistakes than the 2 things I’ve ever done correctly. It’s not even close. But if we are looking for something specific, I did learn that when you are “mic’d” up while hosting a TV show, that microphone remains on at all times, not just when the cameras are on. So there is some interesting audio of me using the restroom (#1) between takes on day 1.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
Jesus is definitely at the top of the list of people to thank. See story above getting an opportunity when I was not qualified to get it. And I would like to thank Hal Hood for telling me Chris Stapleton was a legend back in 2010 so I could be early to the party.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? (we can plug the Spotify podcast here).
Country Shine with Graham Bunn is my newest project and I couldn’t be more shocked and blessed to have it. It’s a Spotify Original Podcast and I am truly blessed to be working with the teams who have helped bring this show to life… OBB Media, who has produced so many amazing projects including Blake Griffin’s PURSUIT OF HEALTHINESS and Justin Bieber’s SEASONS & NEXT CHAPTER documentaries, as well as with Scooter Braun and SB Projects.
For more on the podcast, please see below:
Co-hosted with sports reporter, Camryn Irwin, Country Shine with Graham Bunn is the ultimate destination for fans of Country music. On Tuesdays, listeners are invited into intimate conversations with myself and Camryn about the latest stories coming out of Nashville and what the industry is buzzing about. On Fridays, I open up my rolodex and sit down with today’s favorite Country artists, including Kip Moore and Brett Young, bringing listeners behind the mic with country music royalty and up-and-comers alike. Tune-in for unfiltered conversations with some of my closest friends in music, with topics ranging from their personal lives, relationships, inspirations, to never before shared secrets, while celebrating the spirit of country music that unites the storytelling of the podcast.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Embrace your mistakes. I used to stress and crush myself for making mistakes. We are all human and making mistakes is a wonderful learning experience.
- Never be afraid to ask questions. For example, hey bud, can you take off this microphone so I can use the bathroom?
- 3. See #1.
- It’s ok to hate Wine Coolers and own that.
- Never allow the behavior of someone else dictate the way you treat others.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Place just as much of your energy into people as the “work.” Support everyone, on every level and people will love working with you no matter of God-given talent.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Invest in your community. Invest in your friends. The more you give to others, and the more you help others achieve their dreams, the faster you will achieve your own. You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“The Truest test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them.
Kacey Musgraves…. Because she is incredibly talented 😉
How can our readers follow you online?
You can follow me at Graham Bunn on all socials.