Photo Courtesy of GAC
Long before he wowed fans with his fancy footwork on stage, Neal sold women's footwear in Longview, Texas. It was a three-year job that taught him the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of customer service.
"Anytime you deal with the public, in retail or the restaurant business, you find out that people can really be jerks," the 'Wink' singer tells AOL Jobs. "There are some mean people out there ... True colors come out on folks when you see them buy shoes."
So did the job at least teach the then-single Neal a little bit about women? "Oh gosh no," he laughs. "I don't think there's a job that's ever going to make you understand women. If there was, I think there would be a lot of men working that job!"
But pushing pumps wasn't all bad. In fact, Neal admits his shoe salesman days were beneficial training for his dream job. "It's good grooming for you," he says. "In the music business, you have to deal with different folks everyday, different personalities."
Even better: he met his now wife of 30 years, Melinda, when she and her mom came into the store. "I can't remember if I sold them anything. I just remembered how beautiful she was," the singer recalls. "Then I remember seeing her later at a discotheque. That's when we first started dancing, and we've been dancing ever since."
Neal quit the shoe business after winning a talent contest when he was 23 years old. The grand prize was a gig performing as an opening act for the legendary Charley Pride. Since then, the Texas native has gone on to make 11 studio albums, charting dozens of hits including 'Wink,' 'No Doubt About It,' 'For a Change' and fan-favorite 'The Shake.' He was named the TNN/Music City News Entertainer of the Year two years in a row on the strength of his live shows and still continues to tour over more than half of the year.
Up next for Neal is a new album on Blaster Records, due in early 2012. It is being co-produced by Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert.
Catch Neal McCoy on GAC's 'Day Jobs' this Sunday, Oct. 16, at 8:00 PM ET. The episode also features segments with Chuck Wicks and Rodney Atkins. It will re-air several times, so be sure to check out all air dates and times here.