Getting To Know…Ronnie Milsap
Born: January 16, 1943, in Robbinsville
Known For: Country "crossover" singer and pianist
Accomplishments: Ronnie Milsap was born almost blind and lost his remaining vision in childhood. Abandoned early on by his mother, he was raised by his grandparents until around age 5, when he went to the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh. Instructors noticed his ear for music, and Milsap eventually studied classical music and learned several instruments. In high school, he formed a rock band then switched to R&B, where he met with mixed success. He then met country music legend Charley Pride, who encouraged him to move to Nashville and try country music. Milsap relocated there and in 1974 enjoyed two No. 1 singles, one of which won him his first Grammy. By the late '70s, he was one of country music's most popular performers, and in the '80s he successfully crossed to a pop market. Milsap has won six Grammies, had 40 No. 1 hits, and was named to the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2002. This year, he released a new CD called "Country Again."
Quote: "This business is always changing. If you're going to be a leader, you've got to take chances."