NASHVILLE On the biggest day of his musical career a day after learning he'd scored his first #1 country single with the song "Yes!" Chad Brock had more on his mind than his own good fortune.
He also was thinking about the two people his wife and his high-school music teacher who'd inspired him and made the song possible.
"I thought about her today, as a matter of fact, how I think she'd be smiling," Brock said of Florene Gabriel Reese, his now-deceased choir teacher. "She just taught me the meaning of music, not how to sing. ... She showed me how to open up and not worry about it to just go for it. That's what I did."
He said he also was thinking about his wife, Marty, whom he met and married last year, and who inspired "Yes!" (RealAudio excerpt), which is also the name of his second album.
The song, which reached the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart this week after 18 weeks, was based on Brock's relationship with Marty.
"It's a real-life fairy tale," Brock said at a Nashville party celebrating his hitting #1. "I had a gut feeling the first time I played this record that it would be a big hit for me. I told my wife, 'We've got ourselves a #1 record here, I know it. I feel it.' She's ecstatic about it."
Picking Up Speed
For Brock, Nashville's four-day Fan Fair began a little early with that blowout party his label, Warner Bros., threw for him at the Wildhorse Saloon on Friday, the day after singles chart showed him at the top for the first time. When "Yes!" hit the #1 spot, it eclipsed his hit from last year, "Ordinary Life" (RealAudio excerpt), which peaked at #3.
The party on the third floor of the immense club was quiet until Brock arrived. When folks saw the stocky guy with the cowboy hat and the trademark grin walk into the room, they broke into spontaneous applause for the emerging star.
Though his Nashville career began slowly, Brock, who moved here from Ocala, Fla., in 1992, has gained prominence with his second album, which is now #28 on the Billboard Top Country albums chart after five weeks.
Though its instrumental tracks were cut here in Nashville, Brock returned to his native Sunshine State and recorded the vocals in Fort Lauderdale.
"Chad's not your typical, stereotyped person you think would be a country music artist," said Buddy Cannon, the Music Row veteran who shared the producing duties with Norro Wilson on Brock's album. "He doesn't really fit into the mold that people make, but the guy's so determined and driven. Chad knows what he wants to do and he knows a good song."
Brock had started making a name for himself before "Yes!" thanks to the success of "Ordinary Life," a pair of Academy of Country Music award nominations and a revamped Y2K version of Hank Williams Jr.'s "A Country Boy Can Survive," on which he was joined by Williams and George Jones. His debut single, 1998's "Evangeline," peaked at #51 on the Billboard chart.
Real Life In Song
Brock said the inspiration for the new hit song was his introduction to Marty last year. She had moved into Brock's former apartment and was still getting mail addressed to him. Brock went to pick up his mail and the chemistry between the two was instant, he said. Their conversation went on into the wee hours and within a few months they were married.
With co-writers Jim Collins and Stephony Smith, Brock put the tale of their romance into "Yes!."
He said the fact that the song relates so closely to their relationship makes it even more meaningful. "It kind of makes this whole thing about being married worthwhile and have a meaning and purpose because I get to share all of this with her," Brock said.