When Travis Tritt was seeking out talent for Real Country, the factor that drew him to a contestant is confidence. Tritt chose seven acts to participate in the show, including a multi-time female vocalist of the year winner in Texas and a former Marine, some of whom spend the majority of the year on the road touring. This integrity is a reflection not only of their talent, but the years they’ve devoted to their passion.
“To me, the ones that have really had an opportunity to do that many shows have built a confidence about them,” Tritt tells Sounds Like Nashville and other media at the live taping for the Real Country grand finale. “You can see it. They exude it when they come onstage, and I think that carries them forward because they’re able to deliver the song with a certain amount of authority, and their originality, that they would not have any other way.”
For the Grammy winning singer, the opportunity to provide a prominent platform for deserving artists is what makes the experience particularly special for him, as it recalls his early days in Nashville and the exhilaration he felt performing his first showcase in front of hundreds of industry players. The artists of Real Country are on an even bigger platform, one they’re not tied to when their tenure on the show is over, an aspect Tritt calls “unique” in the trajectory of singing competition shows. One of the most rewarding elements of this process for Tritt is his role as a mentor, passing on the words of wisdom that helped him advance in his career.
“It makes it exciting for me because I get an opportunity not only to watch some of these young artists perform, but I also get an opportunity to give a little nugget of advice the way that people advised me, and some of those pieces of advice I’ve carried with me throughout my entire career,” he shares.
One of those memorable guiding moments came from a country music veteran, who conveyed a notion to Tritt he still lives by to this day. “One of the greatest pieces of advice that I had at a time when I was struggling to be independent and be different was from Charlie Daniels. [He] said ‘it’s not how many times you get knocked down, it’s how many times you get back up and stay in the fight.’ That was just the right amount of encouragement that I needed at just the right time in my career, and I’ve never forgot it,” Tritt recalls. “Hopefully, if you can do something to inspire or lift up a young artist at a time when they really need that encouragement, then that’s all the better.”
Tritt will sit on the Real Country panel alongside Shania Twain and Jake Owen when the show debuts on USA Network on Nov. 13. Audience members are able to vote at the end of each episode to determine which contestants will perform in the grand finale.