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Kentuckian Quits Job At University To Sing Soulful Country

In the summer of 2017, Grayson Jenkins quit his recruiter position at the University of Kentucky to become a full-time musician and promote his album about changes.

Photo: Grayson Jenkins/Facebook

On his 14th birthday, Grayson got a present from his mom — a guitar. He learned a handful of beginner chords but put the instrument aside to focus on his studies and sports in high school.

When you can see someone performing on stage two miles from your house, it makes it a little more real than on TV

When the young man from Greenville moved to Lexington to enroll at University of Kentucky in 2009, he decided to dust the guitar off.

In his student years, Grayson often saw performances of a local country duo Sundy Best in front of rabid fan base.

The impact of their songs was so big that Jenkins decided he would start writing songs.

I was 26 and didn’t want to be 30 or 35 wondering why I never went full time as a musician

“That gave me promise and hope that I could write songs and people would connect with them,” he told Lexington Herald-Leader.

“Because when you see people on TV it seems so far away. When you can see someone doing it on a stage two miles from your house, it makes it a little more real”.


In 2013, Grayson graduated with a double major and started working as a recruiter for the University admissions office, writing and recording songs for his first album at the same time.

However, the young musician was not sure he was doing things right.

He now refers to this record as “less of an album and more of a compilation of songs”.

Photo: Grayson Jenkins/Facebook

In the next few years, Grayson went through some shockwaves. He lost his mother and had a four-year relationship come to an end.

The 26-year-old found comfort  in songwriting, and with help of a backing band, released the second album  in 2017. It tells a single story of changes and transitions in an artist’s life.

“So the record is about change and how it can make you upset and depressed,” the musician explained, “but also how change can be good.”

Singing about changes, Grayson could not resist the temptation to take a big step. He resigned from his position in university to play music.

“I was at a point where I’m 26 and didn’t want to be 30 or 35 wondering why I never went full time as a musician,” he said.“So if there was ever a time to see it through, now is it.”

Right now Grayson focused on performing more, often solo. His biggest event is scheduled on April 13 at Manchester Music Hall in Lexington.

The artist admits he now has much more time for writing. His favorite place of inspiration is Lake Michigan — Grayson went there for a weekend right after he quit the day job:

“It felt very real, and a lot of the material I worked on from that weekend came from that head space.”

Source: Lexington Herald-Leader

Preview image: Grayson Kenkins/Facebook

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