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So where was Justin when he first heard that first single on the radio?
"I'm from Arkansas," Justin tells The Boot, "and ironically, I was on my radio tour driving somewhere from Missouri to Tennessee and cut through there, and heard it in Arkansas. I was visiting [radio stations], meeting all the folks. It was a song called 'Back That Thing Up.' I happened to have a CD in, and we took it out. The girl I was with took it out and started playing the radio without me knowing, and 'Back That Thing Up' came on. I just assumed it was on the CD, and it happened to be on the radio, and I thought, 'My goodness, I can't believe the first time this happened, I happened to be in Arkansas where I grew up!' It was pretty cool.
"I've always been cautiously optimistic," Justin continues. "I moved up here eight years ago to Nashville from Arkansas. If I thought there was no chance it would ever have happened, I would have never tried it. But at the same time, I had a sense of realism where this is not the easiest business to get into, especially to have success. There was part of me that thought this might not ever happen, so to hear it on the radio was obviously one of the coolest moments ever. When I heard it, I laughed and turned it up as loud as I could! I thought, 'Shoot, this might not last forever.' I always turn it up. I called my mom and dad!
"And, man, when I heard my second single, which became my first big record, 'Small Town USA,' I was also at home in Arkansas where I grew up. I couldn't have hand-picked a better place to hear them."