Keith really brings it to the table
Anderson grew up in Miami, OK, near the Arkansas border, surrounded by a loving family that includes his mechanic father LeRoy, his mother Janice, his older brother Brian and his younger brother Jason. Always athletic, he didn’t pick up a guitar until well into his teens after realizing that girls dug musicians. He dabbled at songwriting while studying up on the hits of the Eagles, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson and the like and actually played drums on early gigs at his church.
Athletics continued to be an important part of his life and Anderson played baseball while pursuing a degree in engineering from Oklahoma State. He excelled in sports and academics: graduating top in his class with a 3.9 GPA and playing baseball well enough to catch the attention of scouts from the Kansas City Royals. A shoulder injury quickly put an end to a possible career with MLB, but Anderson stayed focused on his commitment to fitness, even coming in second in the Mr. Oklahoma bodybuilding competition. “There are so many reasons to stay fit,” says Anderson who later earned certification as a personal trainer from the famed Cooper Institute in Dallas. “Just for the brutal schedule, you’re working hard throughout the day and then getting on stage for an hour or more of rocking around and sweating.”
Upon graduation, Anderson accepted a job with a top construction engineering firm in Dallas, all the while continuing to work on his songwriting. In the end, songwriting and live performance won out. Anderson quit his lucrative day job and began performing as a regular at the Grapevine Opry and Six Flags Over Texas. Other quick money fixes included modeling and even singing telegrams for the Romeo Cowboys, a company he started. He made his first trip to Nashville to record six of his own songs for a sampler that he’d then solicit to radio stations in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. His efforts paid off in the form of new friendships and relationships with people in the industry.
Anderson moved to Nashville in the spring of 1998 and took a job waiting tables. What he lacked in food service skills, he more than made up for in people skills. An early introduction to respected songwriter George Ducas lead to some songwriting appointments which opened further doors in Nashville’s songwriting community.
Another one of those early introductions was to singer/songwriter/ producer Jeffrey Steele, the man who would go on to produce both of Anderson’s albums. “The minute I met him, I felt like I’d known him for years,” Anderson says of Steele. “It was a natural chemistry; hanging out with him is like hanging out with one of my brothers. He’s a great friend first and foremost and being that comfortable with someone makes it easier to dig deep in the soul and write the happy stuff and also the deep, dark stuff.”
His debut “Three Chord Country and American Rock & Roll” garnered two Top 10 hits (accompanied by two No. 1 music videos), “Pickin’ Wildflowers,” and “Every Time I Hear Your Name,” along with singles “XXL” and “Podunk,” success that prompted music trades Billboard and Radio & Records to name him country music’s No. 1 new male artist of 2005. It wasn’t just his music that was getting attention. Anderson was named one of People Magazine’s “50 Hottest Bachelors,” Men’s Fitness magazine’s “Ultimate Country Star,” and continues to show up in Country Weekly’s fan-voted “Hottest Bachelor” feature.
And it’s not just the ladies who fill the house at his concerts, he’s fortunate to also be the kind of guy’s guy that men appreciate. “Watching my heroes, Garth, Tim, Kenny, George, those guys have a ton of female fans and a ton of male fans at their shows and I think that’s something that you develop over time,” he says. “Let’s face it, in order to have a real party, you’re going to need both!”
Anderson seems to have it figured out, building a successful career out of sheer talent, hard work and a clear vision of what he’s bringing to his own party. “What I love about him is that he is very centered about what he wants and how he wants to do it,” says C’MON! producer Jeffrey Steele. “Keith really brings that to the table and makes it very hard to deny.”
I Still Miss You
Every Time I Hear Your Name
Somebody Needs a Hug
Lost in This Moment