When Toby Keith and daughter Krystal Keith stepped onto the stage for a beautiful duet of “Mockingbird,” we knew right then and there that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
It looks like talent runs deep in the Keith family! Growing up in a house where your father is a country music star, it seemed inevitable that one of Keith’s children would show a passion for singing. At an early age, Krystal already showed signs that she has what it takes to follow in her father’s footsteps.
And when Krystal took the CMA Awards stage for the first time to join forces with his country superstar father for a powerful duet of her dad’s single, “Mockingbird,” she proved that she had inherited some of his musical talents.
Ten years later, Krystal revealed to The Boot that she “remember being incredibly secure in it.”
“I should have been completely terrified, but I was 18 or 19, and I really just didn’t have any reservations about it,” Krystal recalled. “My dad was like, ‘Well, here’s your X, and here’s my X, and if you need anything …’ The curtains were about to open, and I was like, ‘What I need is for you to get on your X.'”
It may be Krystal’s first time to perform in front of big stars, but “Mockingbird” soared into the Top 30 on the charts after their performance. Krystal also revealed that she never heard how well her performance was received, thanks to her famous father.
“My dad’s rule was not to read any of that stuff, so I just got to hear what people told me,” she said. “He was like, ‘I don’t want it to affect you. You do your thing, and don’t worry what people think about us.’ So I don’t know what was said in the media, but what I heard was great, and it was a fun song.” The duet was recorded and released as part of Toby Keith’s Greatest Hits Volume 2 album in 2004.
Believe It or Not, The Song Was Based on a Lullaby
“Mockingbird” was a song written and recorded by siblings Inez and Charlie Foxx in 1963, based on the lullaby “Hush Little Baby.”
“Everybody, have you heard? He’s gonna buy me a mockingbird. And if that mockingbird won’t sing. He’s gonna buy me a diamond ring. And if that diamond ring won’t shine. He’s gonna surely break this heart of mine,” the song goes.
Considered something of a novelty song, it experienced great success upon its release. It reached No. 2 on the U.S. Top Black Singles/Rhythm & Blues chart and No. 7 on the U.S. popular music singles chart in late summer 1963. The song was later on covered by Aretha Franklin for her album Runnin’ Out of Fools and was remade by singer-songwriters, Carly Simon and James Taylor. Indeed, it was a great choice of song for Toby and Krystal Keith.
In 2013, after fulfilling her parents’ request to go to college and earn a degree, Krystal released her own full-length album, Whiskey and Lace, and said she has continued to listen to her father’s wisdom as she develops her own career.
“My favorite advice that he gave me is just to stay grounded and not forget where you came from,” Keith shared with The Boot. “It wasn’t ever a conversation, it was more of actions speaking louder than words. He always stayed grounded and never forgot where he came from. I picked up on how important that was.”
Check out the unforgettable performance of the father and daughter tandem below.