Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood visited the Graduate School of Education at Harvard on Friday (1/23) to answer questions from students at the newly-revamped “Conversations with Harvard”.
Students packed the lecture hall, where Garth and Trisha reflected on their journeys to becoming acclaimed artists, the two having had very different approaches to the music industry.
According to Garth, he was informed after his college graduation ceremony that he was one hour short from actually receiving a degree, and despite financial pressures, he went back to school to take a summer course. Garth said that in order to finance what remained of his education, he began to play guitar at Willies Saloon, a local bar.
“One night turned into three nights; three nights turned into five to six nights a week,” he said.
Trisha admitted she knew since she was a child that she wanted to be a singer.
“I knew what I wanted to do. I just had no clue about how to go about it,”
Both Garth and Trisha said that making the decision to go forward with their dreams required courage.
“There is a huge difference between you and the people you left in your hometown,” Garth said. “And that difference was that you had the courage to leave.”
When attendee Leah E. Waldo, a student in the Ed School’s Arts in Education program, said she worried about how her music was received and asked the couple about how they gained confidence in their performances, the couple asked Waldo to come onstage and sing in front of the audience. After the event, Garth gifted Waldo his guitar.
The event also featured a video of Garth’s acclaimed 1992 song, “We Shall Be Free,” which received some backlash at the time of its release from more conservative groups about a lyric, “When we’re free to love anyone we choose,” that was perceived to express support for same-sex relationships.
However, Trisha said the song was “the anthem of the world” and “ahead of its time.”
“Love is something that the law can’t constitute,” Garth said.