March 12, 2008 12:00 PM

Turns out Brad Paisley took a few liberties with his life when writing the autobiographical “Letter to Me.” “I didn’t even own a Playboy,” he admits. So what did the singer, 35, really keep under his bed as a teen? “A transistor radio and science fiction magazines!” As for the rest of the teen tale, it’s pure Paisley. “It’s so personal in every way,” he says. “It’s like you’re opening your heart right up and saying, ‘Here’s all the things I was afraid of, here’s the people I miss, here’s who I am and the reason I am who I am.'” The song, written on his computer over the course of a week while at his Pacific Palisades, Calif., home last year (just weeks before the birth of his son Huck), name-checks his high school speech teacher (“I was the shiest guy in class, but by the end of the year I won a state speech tournament!”), his prom date and a beloved aunt who died of breast cancer in 2004. When he played the song for his wife, Kimberly, “she got up and gave me a hug because I was kind of crying. And I don’t cry easily!”

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