Country music fans consider “I Do (Cherish You)” singer Mark Wills to be one of the underrated singers of the genre. Mark Wills’ songs (and him as well) deserve to get so much more attention and recognition. So, here’s a quick list of some not-so-known facts about him that would hopefully pull you into him.
1. He First Played in Metal Garage Bands
Mark Williams, born Daryl Mark Williams on August 8, 1973, didn’t take an interest in country music until he entered his young adult years. As a teenager, he played in metal garage bands with pop-metal bands like Poison and Bon Jovi, serving as his inspiration.
Then, when he was 17, he joined a local contest in Marietta, Georgia, called the Buckboard Country Music Showcase, which he won. He began to do local weekly performances, and then, in addition to that, he worked as a demo singer in Atlanta.
2. Record Producers Carson Chamberlain and Keith Stegall Discovered Him
After his stint in Atlanta, he entered the demo circuit in Nashville, Tennessee. His work there led him to record producers Carson Chamberlain and Keith Stegall – who then helped him sign a recording contract with Mercury Records Nashville. He released his self-titled debut album in 1996.
3. He Got Married at the Same Time as His Debut
Talk about having the time of his life! Wills met his wife, Kelly Williams, in Buckboard, a music club in Atlanta, where he performed for five nights a week for five years. They share two daughters.
4. He Covered R&B Singer Brian McKnight’s 1998 Hit Single “Back at One” Two Months After Its Release
Wills recorded the song as the first single of his third album, Permanently. It was his eighth chart entry and earned him a top-five country hit. The album also charted well, peaking at number three, which was also his highest entry on the country albums chart.
5. He Voiced Huckleberry Finn
In MGM’s animated remake of Mark Twain’s 1876 novel Tom Sawyer in 2000, Wills voiced the character of Huckleberry Finn, who was Sawyer’s best friend. He also sang the end title song, “Never Ever and Forever,” with Becky’s voice actress, Lee Ann Womack.
6. He Recorded Rascal Flatt’s Hit Song “What Hurts The Most” First
Wills’ song “What Hurts The Most” was part of his 2003 album And The Crowd Goes Wild. Unfortunately, it didn’t earn him any recognition. Rascal Flatts, who re-recorded the song and released it in their 2006 album Me and My Gang, ended up making it a number-one hit in the adult country and contemporary category.
Aside from Rascal Flatts, the song was also covered by Jo O’Meara in 2005 and Cascada in 2007.
7. After Over a Decade in Country Music, He was Inducted Into the Grand Ole Opry.
How has it already been 5 years since my induction into the @opry? I still get emotional like it was just yesterday! I am forever blessed every time I share this stage with such talented musicians, and I am even more grateful to be a part of the #OpryFamily. What an honor! pic.twitter.com/G8duNMnmbN— Mark Wills (@MarkWillsMusic) January 11, 2024
He was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry on December 21, 2018, and was officially inducted on January 11, 2019.
That’s a wrap-up of facts about Mark Wills! We hope you enjoyed it. And if you decide you want to hear him live, always stay tuned to his official website for tour and performance announcements!