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At age sixteen, Randy entered a talent show, hosted by Country City USA, as a soloist. After winning the competition hands down, he was invited by the club owner, Lib Hatcher, to play regularly at the famed nightspot. Randy recorded two singles for Paula Records, “Dreamin” and “She’s My Woman” with Joe Stampley producing.
In 1981, Randy made the move to Nashville, commuting regularly to Charlotte to perform at Country City USA. He spent most of his time writing songs and getting acquainted with the Nashville scene.
Eventually, Hatcher began management of another club, The Nashville Palace, where Randy worked cooking catfish and washing dishes, as well as singing on stage. It wasn’t long before he had developed a following there as well, changing his stage name to Randy Ray. The exposure led to appearance on Nashville Now and Nashville After Hours. His Nashville popularity grew by increasing work-of-mouth as people touted him as an outstanding newcomer. In 1983 while performing at the club, Randy recorded his first album independently and called it “Randy Ray - Live at the Nashville Palace”. The album was mostly sold at the club between shows, and is now a collector’s item and out of circulation.
Randy finally signed to Warner Brothers Records in 1985. Record company executives changed his name to Travis, and Randy’s first recorded effort for his new label was “Prairie Rose”, on the soundtrack to the film, “Rustler’s Rhapsody”. It was followed by the release of the album “Storms of Life” in 1986, and the rest is country music history.
The first single, “One the Other Hand”, was a perfect slice of Randy’s authentic country talent. “1982” followed, and with that hit, Randy established himself as a singer and performer.
Soon it seemed every award in the music business had Randy’s name on it. A string of country chart-toppers ensued, and by the end of the decade, Randy’s record sales topped 13 million copies. During a break from touring in 1991, Randy married his long time manager and friend, Lib Hatcher, in a quiet ceremony on the island of Maui, Hawaii.
In September 1997, after 12 albums with Warner Brothers, Randy was the first artist to sign with the newly formed Dream Works Records label in Nashville. When “Out of My Bones”, the first single from the new label’s debut album, “You and You Alone”, was released in 1998, he delivered the label its first #1 country hit. “A Main Ain’t Made of Stone”, Randy’s second album, continues his journey as one of the biggest selling, and most distinctive artists in country music.
Randy balances a full-time music career with a full-time acting career.