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Parker McCollum Says He Wanted to 'Earn' a Successful Career: 'I Wanted to Do It the Hard Way'

·3-min read
Parker McCollum Says He Wanted to 'Earn' a Successful Career: 'I Wanted to Do It the Hard Way'

It's been a hell of a (couple) year(s) for this country music singer — and he's only getting started.

Apple Music announced country singer Parker McCollum as the latest addition to its Up Next program on Wednesday. In an exclusive clip shared with PEOPLE, the country singer says he always wanted to do things "the hard way."

"I wanted to do it the hard way. I really wanted to earn it. I didn't want anybody to be able to say anybody bought me anything," Parker, 29, says in the clip.

Parker McCollum
Parker McCollum

apple music Parker McCollum

RELATED: Parker McCollum Talks Proposing to Fiancée Halle Ray Light: 'She Saved My Life in a Way'

The Up Next program is Apple Music's monthly artist initiative which showcases and elevates rising talent.

"All I ever wanted was a real shot in country music. To be an Apple Music Up Next artist is an incredible honor and it means so much to me to have a platform like Apple believe in me," McCollum said in a press release. "I always try to keep my head down and earn every little thing so to have this spotlight for a little while is nice. I do not take it for granted. Now back to work. Mad love."

Parker McCollum
Parker McCollum

apple music Parker McCollum

In the Up Next film, McCollum details his journey to signing a record deal while working on a ranch in Texas for his grandfather. One day, his brother suggested he play 30 shows in 30 days to put his determination to the test — and he ended up doing just that.

Shortly after, he put a band together, recorded music and went on tour to "earn it."

"I wanted it to be, 'Man he started out in his pick-up truck, got a van, got a nicer van, got a tour bus and then got a record deal,'" he explains in the clip. "We got an offer from every major label in town after."

In the film, the country singer will also discuss the rise of his hit single "Pretty Heart," the world shutting down two weeks after the song went to radio, and how the pandemic helped him lead a healthier lifestyle.

Parker McCollum
Parker McCollum

apple music Parker McCollum

RELATED: Mickey Guyton Says Trying to Fit Into Country Music 'Box' Was 'So Toxic': 'It Was Suffocating'

Apple Music Country host Kelleigh Bannen considers McCollum a "rare artist."

"Gritty, believable, and absolutely made for the spotlight," Bannen said. "Parker McCollum is one of those rare artists who has been able to translate serious regional fame into mainstream success without compromising his core artistic identity."

In August, the "Like a Cowboy" singer spoke to PEOPLE about his engagement to now-fiancée Hallie Ray Light.

"I couldn't wait to ask her to marry me," McCollum remembers of his proposal to Light earlier this summer. "There was no backup plan and no hesitation. I didn't overthink one thing. I was like, 'It can't get any better than her.' There was no doubt in my mind that I was making the right decision. She saved my life in a way. I don't think I was headed down the right road."

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