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As a child, Jimmy Wayne never thought he’d become a famous singer someday. He moved from the care of his mother to foster homes and back, sometimes getting so hungry he was forced to steal food from neighbors. During this time, he endured more abuse and violence than most people could bear to watch during a movie.

With the release of his debut album Jimmy Wayne, a recent tour with “Lonestar” and a second album in the making, Wayne is living proof that dreams can come true – even for the most unlikely of candidates. When Wayne was 12 years old, his mother went to prison. He lived with his grandfather and picked blackberries to make money for her. At one point, he even sold marijuana seeds mixed with dried tomato leaves to people as a means of income. During this hard time, he started writing as a kind of therapy. He’d write poetry (which he’d later put to music). Today, he began to keep and still keeps a journal. “When my mom went to prison, it was hard, so I wrote,” Wayne says. “Though back then it was more like poetry than lyrics. It became a hobby and then it became a habit.”

Writing also helped Wayne deal with a physically abusive stepfather. At one point, his stepfather held a gun to Wayne’s head, and pulled the trigger just as Wayne pushed the gun from his head. The next night, Wayne watched as his stepfather shot his sister-in-law three times. “He paralyzed her,” Wayne recalls. “We all saw it. It was right in front of us.” Later, the same man beat and stabbed Wayne’s mother, who somehow managed to survive.

Meanwhile, Wayne ran away from the group home he had been living in, and lived in an abandoned trailer until he got arrested and sent to a detention center. The turning point in his life was when neighbors Russell and Beatrice Costner took him in. Russell died soon after, but Beatrice and Wayne became like family.

Wayne notes, “I was living out on the street as a teenage kid with no home or anything. I think the highlight of my life was when those people took me in and gave me a place to live, which ultimately brought me here. If it wasn’t for that family taking me in, I know I wouldn’t be here.”

With all of that behind him, Wayne looks forward to a bright future in the music industry. “Right now I’m writing for the next record. We’re going to start recording and hopefully have a new record out by the first of the year,” Wayne says. “I want it to be more fun than the last record. I want it to be more up-tempo, definitely. And I’ve got some songs that touch on personal experiences like on the last record, but I’ve got some stuff that’s just tongue-and-cheek – just very fun.”

No doubt, many of the songs on Jimmy Wayne (Wayne co-wrote eight of the 12 tracks) reflect the emotional turmoil and confusion he experienced during his childhood. Wayne describes his music as “country with a little bit of soul influences added to it. I want to write and sing songs that people can relate to – songs that have a real heartfelt message.” / Issue 43 - September 7820
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