There’s something sweet and sentimental about the old adage that you never forget your major firsts in life — first love, first kiss, first job, etc. That rings especially true when speaking to musicians about the first time they heard a song of theirs played on the radio.
When MTV News headed out to Las Vegas recently for the star-studded iHeartRadio music festival, which will be broadcast Monday night (October 1) on the CW, we asked a few of the show’s headliners to tell us about the first time they heard their jam played on the airwaves.
“The first time I ever heard my song on the radio, I thought I was dreaming, but I was wide awake,” Usher said. “I was in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I turned, and I heard my song.”
“I was stunned,” Gavin DeGraw said of the first time he heard his song “Follow Through.” “I was in the car with a friend and an old song was playing. I was like, ‘I love this song!’ and that song ended and my song came on next. I went, ‘What?’ and got real quiet and said to my friend, ‘Hey, can you turn that up please?’ and I went nuts.”
“Vampire Diaries” double threat Kat Graham didn’t believe what she was hearing at first. “I thought I was playing my own CD,” she explained. “I thought that I was maybe accidentally playing my iPod, and then I realized that I was on the radio, and that’s a crazy experience. Once it’s done, you text everyone you know.”
“I was driving in the car with my mom the first time I heard my song on the radio,” country star Miranda Lambert recalled. “It’s a pull-over-your-car, get-out-and-jump-around moment, something that you dream of when you’re a little girl and you want to be an artist. And that feeling doesn’t go away,” she said. “I’m still excited when I hear myself on the radio.”
The Jonas Brothers also caught themselves on air while on the road. “We were in Cape Cod [Massachusetts], of all places,” Nick Jonas said. “We had a show at the Melody Tent, and after soundcheck, we took a few minutes to go to the beach, and on our way to the beach, we heard the song on the radio, which was pretty exciting for us.”
Grammy winner Ne-Yo might win the award out of this group for most enthusiastic reaction to hearing himself on the radio for the first time, despite the fact that he put himself in danger.
“I was in Los Angeles, California, on the 405 freeway, and anybody that’s watching who knows the 405, you sit still for about two hours on that freeway,” he said. “So I’m stuck in traffic, my song comes on, I jump out of my car and run down the freeway knocking on people’s windows. I don’t remember the station, but I said, ‘Turn it on, turn it on, that’s me!’ I wouldn’t recommend that, because you could die, so I don’t recommend that.”