"Country is the best place to be," Garth Brooks said. "Because, one, you have the most loyal audience there could possibly be, and they will wait for you"

By Nicholas Rice
June 05, 2021 01:20 PM
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Garth Brooks
Credit: The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty

Garth Brooks is speaking candidly about his illustrious career in country.

While chatting with CBS This Morning Friday, the 59-year-old singer opened up to Gayle King about his past and storied career as a musician, as well as the fears he had when it came time for him to return to the country music scene so many years ago.

First detailing that his parents weren't fully behind him pursuing music as a career, Brooks explained that he initially decided to follow in his father's footsteps and become a Marine.

"So I went to the recruiting office there in Stillwater, for the Marine Corps, [because] my father was a Marine. And I thought I'd surprise my dad by telling him I went," he said. "And his first words [were], 'Garth, you don't wanna do that.'"

"I think every parent wants something different for their child. Because every parent has seen the dark side of everything," he added.

Brooks then decided to follow his heart to Nashville, though he didn't find it easy to get his foot in the door.

"I go to Nashville thinking everything's gonna be straw hats and gooseneck trailers, right? And everything's suit and ties," he recalled. "It's a business. I'm not ready for that."

Garth Brooks Billboard Awards
Credit: Kevin Mazur/BBMA2020/Getty

Brooks then returned home, marrying his college sweetheart Sandy Mahl, before getting a band together. But during his following attempt to make it big in Nashville, he landed a record deal in less than a year.

There, his first record — a self-titled album — was certified gold and helped launch his career. But as Brooks noted to King, 66, he "probably didn't handle" fame as well as he could have.

"A nation watches you grow up, right? So you're gonna make decisions that you go, 'Man, I wish I could take that one back,'" he said. "But the truth is, now, if changing anything then meant any part of now would change, no thank you."

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Despite finding a huge amount of success professionally, Brooks' marriage to Mahl began to suffer, so he announced that he would be walking away from the music scene.

"Once children come into the mix, children take the lead. That's it," he admitted. "They didn't want to come in this place. It wasn't their choice, we brought them in." "So even though Sandy and I were not going to be able to complete our marriage, we still had our children to raise," Brooks added.

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Continuing his candid conversation, the "Friends in Low Places" crooner was then asked by King what he felt when he returned to country music after 14 years away.

Brooks' answer? He was "scared to death," but "the people were so sweet" when he did return. "Garth, they let you back in," King said, which prompted Brooks to respond back, "Oh my God, did they ever."

"Country is the best place to be," he continued. "Because, one, you have the most loyal audience there could possibly be, and they will wait for you."

Added Brooks: "And there began my life."