There are a lot of people that decide to pursue their passions later in life, sometimes it just takes the right motivation. When Steve Bridgmon lost his grandmother in 2013, he knew he needed to make a change. At the age of 45, Bridgmon finally found the motivation he needed to follow his dream of making music professionally.
“I put everything in storage in Owensboro in November 2016. I just didn’t want to have any regrets,” Bridgmon said. “By February or March, I had a song on the radio.”
As a founding member of the Gospel on the River favorite “Firm Foundation” quartet, Bridgmon was aware that what he had accomplished in the short period of time he had been in Nashville, was simply unheard of.
“My first song ‘Angels’ [By Another Name] went No. 1 right out of the gate,” Bridgmon said, of his first Christian Country Top 100 hit. “When you have a hit song, in pretty much any genre, you get on people’s radar. There is some legitimacy to be getting known on that level.”
Although it would seem Bridgmon had established his legitimacy early on with his vocal talent, there was another concern that he was not expecting. Bridgmon, who weighed approximately 300 pounds at the time, said the music label that wanted to sign him requested that he lose 30 pounds.
“It wasn’t from a harsh place; it was very loving,” Bridgmon said, adding that it was as if the label was saying, “We want to take this to the next level, but we may not be able to unless you’re more marketable.”
Bridgmon, who now has a position working for that very label, said, at the time of the label’s request, he couldn’t even run a mile.
“Now I’m running 6 miles a day and eating 1200 calories a day,” Bridgmon said. “I literally lost 40 pounds in 4 months. I’m at 209 now. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Bridgmon, who was named Inspirational Country Music Association new artist of the year this past year, found that once he established himself to be more marketable with the label, the world seemed to open up to him. After his first No. 1 hit, people started accepting his calls and he began receiving demos.
There was one particular demo that he received from Bill DiLuigi that Bridgmon knew would make a perfect song as a duet.
Last year, at a Grand Ole Opry event, Bridgmon found the voice that would be the perfect compliment.
“A soon as I heard Allie sing, I thought, ‘Man, I really love her voice,’” Bridgmon said. “She’s the one I’m looking for.”
The Allie that Bridgmon was referring to is 22-year-old rising country music singer Allie Colleen. Bridgmon shared with the young singer how much he loved her voice and she agreed to come into the studio.
Garth Brooks and Tricia Yearwood happened to be attending the same event, and Bridgmon was a little taken aback that Allie didn’t seem as enthusiastic about meeting the country music icons as he was.
He would later discover that talented young women don’t get overly excited to stand in line for their father’s autograph. What surprised Bridgmon even more was that when the two discussed Allie’s payment for coming into the studio, she originally asked if $75 would be acceptable.
Bridgmon said, although “she comes from country music royalty, she’s so so down to earth.”
“I don’t know what it’s like to have celebrity parents,” Allie said in a May Children of Song Podcast. “My dad was there every night.”
Allie, the only one of Brooks’ three daughters to pursue a career in music, graduated from Belmont University earlier this year, one of the only stipulations her parents had given her as an aspiring young singer-songwriter.
“She’s now performed at the Grand Ole Opry, and has a No. 1 song,” Bridgmon said. “So we are kind of helping each other. We want to stand on our own merit.”
And that they are. On Dec. 1, the duo made it to No. 1 on the Christian Country Music Top 100 chart with their song, “You Can Always Come Home.”
“It’s crazy what has happened in two years. I was an educator at Owensboro Public Schools two years ago,” Bridgmon said. “At 45, it came to, ‘if I don’t do this now, I’m going to regret it.’ Here I sit at 45 with two No. 1s.”