Paisley didn’t have Nashville ambitions, even after starting at West Liberty State College, 12 miles from Wheeling. … Fortunately, Jim Watson, Paisley’s student adviser at West Liberty, suggested he transfer to Nashville’s Belmont University, whose well-known music business program might better advance Paisley’s talent.
“It only took me walking into that studio they had, which was a good million-dollar facility,” Paisley recalls. “I would have been a fool not to go to a school that gives you credit for pretty much the things I needed to learn.” And a school that was perfect for networking, he adds. “I totally understood the fact that it was about who you know and who knew of you as well. I don’t think you can get everything based on who you know, but you can’t get anything until you do know the right people.”
Among Paisley’s fellow students were Frank Rogers (now his producer), Kelley Lovelace (a frequent songwriting partner, including on his first No. 1, “He Didn’t Have to Be”) and several of the musicians in his band. And Belmont is at the base of 16th Avenue, better known as Publisher’s Row, “the absolute place to be in country music,” Paisley says. “You could take classes and then walk to your internship.” – Read the whole story in The Washington Post.