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Country star Luke Bryan opens up about life on tour, family & his CMA co-host

ABC News logo ABC News 8/3/2022
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Country singer Luke Bryan may sing about raising a glass and letting loose, but don’t let the party vibes fool you. The star puts serious hard work behind his carefree lyrics.

This summer, Bryan has been busy. The country superstar spoke exclusively with ABC News about his jam-packed schedule, raising a family and how he keeps the faith.

Luke Bryan and Caroline Boyer pose in the audience during the 54th Academy Of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena, April 7, 2019. © John Shearer/Getty Images Luke Bryan and Caroline Boyer pose in the audience during the 54th Academy Of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena, April 7, 2019.

“I think with me, obviously, I'm very, very, busy professionally. I mean, I don't even know what weekends are like,” said Bryan. “I just grew up waking up, getting after it. So, you know, work hard, play hard.”

Bryan has been on the road traveling across North America for his Raised Up Right Tour. He also performed for thousands of country fans at the CMA Fest in Nashville, a three-hour special, airing at 8 p.m. ET -- 7 p.m. CT -- on ABC, and features epic performances from some of the genre's biggest stars.

Bryan also announced earlier this week that he will continue as a judge on ABC’s "American Idol" for the show’s sixth season on ABC along with his fellow judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie and host Ryan Seacrest.

MORE: Luke Bryan, Peyton Manning set to host CMA Awards

On top of all that, he’s signed up to co-host this year’s CMA Awards in November. It will be Bryan’s second time hosting, but the first alongside his longtime pal, Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning.

“I've gotten a little more comfortable in that spot. So it's going to be fun to see if Peyton, you know, see if he gets a little jittery before we go out there,” said Bryan. “It's going to be fun to have him bring his sense of humor to the CMA stage. And there'll be no shortage of him and I roasting each other up there.”

Luke Bryan speaks on stage during the 55th annual Country Music Association awards at the Bridgestone Arena, Nov. 10, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. © Terry Wyatt/Getty Images Luke Bryan speaks on stage during the 55th annual Country Music Association awards at the Bridgestone Arena, Nov. 10, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn.

Bryan, a Georgia-native, began his music career in 2001. At the time, he was living in Nashville and working as a songwriter for other artists. Soon enough, Bryan would soon step in front of the microphone. In 2009, Bryan scored his first No. 1 hit with “Rain is a Good Thing.”

Two decades later, Bryan touts 29 No. 1 songs and over 17 billion streams worldwide.

Bryan said that despite his rise to the top, he has never forgotten his Southern roots, especially when it comes to raising his sons, Bo, 14, and Tate, who is almost 12.

“I was raised in the South, you know, around so many different cultures. We want our boys to be raised to give everybody a fair shot,” said Bryan. “To look at the person and the integrity of that person.”

The star met his wife, Caroline, while attending Georgia Southern University. Along with their biological children, the couple adopted two nieces and a nephew after the sudden deaths of Bryan's sister and later, brother-in-law.

Luke Bryan performs during day 3 of CMA Fest 2022 at Nissan Stadium, June 11, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. © WireImage via Getty Images Luke Bryan performs during day 3 of CMA Fest 2022 at Nissan Stadium, June 11, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.

At the time, one niece was in college, the other in high school and his nephew was in middle school. Bryan said his wife’s strength has helped support the entire family through the hard and confusing times.

“My wife has sacrificed so much. I mean, when you're dealing with girls that are 21, 17, they have a lot of drama going on,” said Bryan. “I look at [my nephew] and then I look at my oldest son… I mean, they're brothers. They fight like brothers. They love like brothers.”

MORE: Luke Bryan on telling painful stories of loss in 'My Dirt Road Diary' docuseries

He said he hopes his outlook can inspire others.

“If I can run around this world and people hear my story and they can see me smiling and dealing and trying to have positivity through it all, maybe it can inspire people to get up out of bed and get rocking,” said Bryan.

As hectic as life may be, Bryan said it helps to always keep perspective.

“I mean, I look back to when I was in a 15-passenger van trying to play my first single. I had fun then. I have fun now,” he said. “So just trying to have fun with this stuff. It's too hard not to have fun every day."

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