The song was a catalyst into a lifetime of making music. Though he could never have imagined the road that would take him there.
In Monday night’s ABC News special, Luke tells Robin that he was 19 years old, preparing to move to Nashville when his older brother Chris, was tragically killed in a car accident.
It was a devastating blow for the tight-knit family, and as a result, Luke put his country music dreams on hold.
He admittedly was “never convinced” he’d make it back to Nashville, but those around him had different plans.
“My dad could tell that I was one foot in the door and one foot out the door, and he said, ‘This life will always be here,’” Bryan recalls. “He was really really adamant about me chasing my dreams.”
Having seen just how fragile life was with the death of his brother, Luke knew he needed to make the most of it.
One year later, in 2001, he spread his wings and moved to Music City.
“Getting to Nashville was pretty liberating. I was on music row every day writing songs. People at Capitol kept hearing them, and next thing you know I’m getting a record deal from Capitol Records.”
Luke spent years building his career, and finally released his debut album featuring the hit single “All My Friends Say” in 2007.
Just as Luke started to make a name for himself, tragedy struck the Bryan family again.
“It was April 6, 2007, and I get to play the Grand Ole Opry for the first time. That night, little did I know, would be my sister and I—it would be our last photo together. She passed away a month later.”
Luke’s older sister, Kelly, was at home with her young son, Til, when she passed away suddenly at the age of 39.
Grounded in faith, Luke and his family found comfort in the love and promises of Jesus.
“The losses gave me such a deep perspective of life; how tough it can get at any second,” he told PEOPLE. “You question it every day, but you have to revert back to your faith in God’s plan.”
In 2014, the family endured yet another sudden loss.
Luke’s brother-in-law, Kelly’s widowed husband, Ben Lee Cheshire, died of a heart attack. The couple had three children: Til, Jordan and Kris.
Luke and his wife Caroline didn’t think twice about raising their 13-year-old nephew. The couple asked Til to join their family in Nashville, and his two older sisters visit often. All three Cheshire kids view Luke and Caroline as strong parental figures.
Speaking to the millions out there who have experienced loss, Luke tells Robin that the best way to honor the memory of loved ones is to LIVE and “be a positive light” in the world.
I’d say he’s doing just that.