It’s been a long road for Charlie Worsham since his Grand Ole Opry debut at the age of 12. The 30-year-old singer and multi-instrumentalist from Grenada, Mississippi, moved to Nashville a decade ago and has nearly had his big break more times than he’d probably like to count.
He’s opened for Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift, counts Vince Gill as a mentor and has been compared to Keith Urban. He’s many music insiders’ pick for Nashville’s next big thing, but despite releasing his debut, Rubberband, three years ago to critical praise, he’s continued to fly under the country radar.
That could change with a strong upcoming second album, The Beginning of Things, out April 21, but Worsham says he’s not sorry for the time he’s spent paying his dues.
“I think that waiting and that struggle makes it sweeter when you finally get there,” Worsham tells PEOPLE. “Part of this time I’ve had the chance to connect with real-life heroes, like Vince Gill. Talk about someone who had to wait and pay his dues — he probably paid his dues for a dozen artists! He took me under his wing and took me on the road.”
The singer admits he’s “champing at the bit” in anticipation of sharing his new music. A Berklee College of Music grad, he co-wrote 10 of the 13 songs on the album, including “Cut Your Groove,” which he calls “my theme song.” Says Worsham, “Of all the songs on the record, that’s the one that even now I need to play for myself to remind me of perspective.”
With lines like, “A lot of the time you won’t be on top/But when you fall off the charts don’t let it stop you/Cause part of the charm is the crackle and pop and the hiss,” the up-tempo, and decidedly upbeat tune “is a pep talk you can give yourself,” says Worsham, who wrote it with pal Oscar Charles. “It says no matter who you are or where you are in your life, there is no other person on the planet now or in the future who has the unique story you have to tell. And that story matters whether you’re a teacher in a really poor school, which my mom has been, or someone who governs a state. Sharing your story is priceless.”
Listen to “Cut Your Groove” above.