While at the University of Mississippi around 2000, Josh Kelley came to a fork in the road: continue attending school on a golf scholarship or give up the sport he loved to focus on music.
With the release of his first major-label CD -- "Georgia Clay" -- on Tuesday, it seems he made the right choice.
"Growing up in Georgia, I'd go to school and come home and play golf. Then I'd jam with my younger brother [Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum] all afternoon," said Kelley, 31. "Golf and playing music went hand in hand for me."
But, after a year at college studying art, "I started showing up late for golf practice and sometimes not showing up at all," he said. "My coach knew I didn't have the heart for it anymore. I realized that my voice was more unique, and music became all I ever wanted to do."
So, while in college, Kelley wrote his first hit "Amazing," which led to a recording contract with Hollywood Records. His debut album, "For the Ride Home," was released in 2003. He then launched his own label and released a handful more albums to moderate success.
On Tuesday, he released his first country CD. The first single, "Georgia Clay," already has become a hit.
"Golf has made me more of a gentleman and patient in everything I do," said Kelley, who married actress Katherine Heigl in 2007 and has one child. "I love to make music for music's sake. Even if I lived under a bridge, I'd be making music."