Clayton Anderson drove through the back roads of southern Indiana on Tuesday, taking in the familiar scenery from his childhood.
The Bedford, Ind. native and Indiana University graduate returned home this week to prepare for his show this Friday at the IU Auditorium at 8 p.m.
“I don’t get to spend a lot of time at home anymore,” Anderson said. “My niece just turned one so I get to hang out with her a little bit and see some family. Of course we have to see Kilroy’s and Bluebird and we’re going to go hit up some sororities. It will be fun to be back on the campus of Indiana University.”
After graduating from IU, Anderson entered Kenny Chesney’s Next Big Star Competition. And since winning the chance to open for the country music superstar, Anderson has toured with artists including Blake Shelton, Jimmy Buffett and Darius Rucker.
“I just graduated school and I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with the rest of my life and that came up,” Anderson said. “I entered it on a total whim and they picked us. Then I just had this whole talk with myself that it’s either I go try and see if it works or not or I sit around as a grumpy old man someday saying ‘what if.’”
So he moved to Nashville and released his first record, Torn Jeans & Tailgates, in 2011.
He released his second album, Right Where I Belong, this year and it reached the number two spot on the iTunes music chart. Anderson wrote or co-wrote a majority of the songs on the album, which reflect his southern Indiana roots.
He said he looks forward to returning to the place where his musical career started back when he played shows at local bars and fraternities.
“I had so much fun at IU that I never wanted to leave,” Anderson said. “The next best thing was being a country singer, so it works out.”