Zach Bryan Tells Joe Rogan He Never In His Life “Envisioned Being A Musician”: “I Didn’t Mean To F*ckin’ Do This”

Zach Bryan country music

It’s pretty damn incredible to look back at where Zach Bryan started and where he is now.

The Oklahoma native got his start posting grainy, one-off videos on Twitter, which went mega-viral, while he was still an active duty member of the U.S. Navy.

That was always his ultimate goal, to be in the Navy like his dad, mom and many other family members were, which he talked about this week with Joe Rogan.

Zach is a guest on the most recent Joe Rogan Experience podcast episode, and it’s a really neat peak into Zach the person, as he rarely does any media or interviews, especially something this in-depth.

And while I’m still working my way through the three-hour episode, it was really neat to hear Zach’s perspective on his superstardom and what it was like to become so famous while he was still in the Navy.

While he was training in Jacksonville, Florida, his “Heading South” video exploded online, though he said he was writing and playing for his personal sanity and as a form of therapy, and he never thought so many people would actually want to listen to it:

“I started putting videos on Twitter back in 2017, and then I just kept doing it and doing it and doing it, ‘cuz I was in the Navy.

I had a lot of shit going on, I didn’t believe in therapy because that’s ‘crazy’ in the Navy, you know. And I started just making music, and I started just posting it on Twitter and I’d get like five or six likes and I didn’t care, it was nice.

It was nice to go home and feel the way I did and write and put music on Twitter. I don’t know, it was kind of my validation in the world.”

And it was actually never even a dream of his to even be a musician, and he told Joe that he “never in his life” had even thought about pursuing that as an actual career, because he wanted to be a Master chief in the Navy like his dad.

It’s pretty amazing to think about that now, and he added that he thinks it’s pretty damn wild how much his life has changed over the last several years and what his reality is now:

“I never in my life envisioned being a musician, ever. Period. No. And I was thinkin’ about it yesterday, how crazy my reality is now.

Like coming back to Oklahoma and being around people, and people coming to get me in diners and being like ‘Take a picture with me.’ I’m like, ‘What is going on, man?’

There’s like 700 people hating me online and I’m like, bro, I didn’t mean to fuckin’ do this. I’m sorry. It’s crazy.”

Sometimes the best things really do happen by mistake, as the old saying goes, I guess…

Zach was honorably discharged to pursue music full time in October of 2021, and he shared a little bit about that process too, saying that he was pretty much given no other option but to leave the Navy after he started to become famous.

His Chief told him that it was a conflict of interest once things started getting so big, and Zach thinks they were mostly afraid he would stop taking his job so seriously.

But the crazy thing is, even as his music career was exploding, he still wanted to stay in the Navy and keep working towards his goals there because he was so devoted to the job, as he put it.

He said it took eight months for everything to process, and for that whole time, every single day he went to work, he thought it would be his last day there.

Zach pointed out that the last time an artist left a branch of the military solely to go play music was Elvis Presley when he was honorably discharged from the Army in 1964, so it was just a wild experience from top to bottom:

“Elvis Presley was the last guy who got honorably discharged out to go play music. And I’m not being arrogant in that, either, I think that’s true.

It just never happens… there’s been a lot of stuff with NFL players who are at the Naval Academy… and that’s when I knew it.

When my Gunner called me that day and was like, ‘Pack your bags,’ I was like holy f—. Oh. This is that serious.'”

And even still as all of this was happening, Zach was concerned because he thought his dad would be disappointed, though he says his reaction was quite the opposite and his dad was really excited for him.

At the time, Zach still hadn’t even played a real show before, so it was all very new to him and kind of out of his control, which is what makes the story so incredible and almost unbelievable.

From the outside looking in, it’s easy to say it’s all worked out really well for him, but Zach did also tell Joe that he does sometimes wonder how his life would’ve been different had he been allowed to stay in the Navy, which it sounds like he would’ve done and really wanted to do.

But of course, since then, Zach released his major label debut studio album, the 34-song American Heartbreak album last year, which has since been certified Platinum, in addition to being on the road selling out shows all over the country.

He’s basically a household name at this point, bona fide country superstar, and one of the biggest things that’s happened to this genre in the last decade or two.

But, I can only imagine how overwhelming it all must be seeing as it’s all kinda one big happy accident, for lack of a better term, which it sounds like is pretty much how Zach views it from his perspective.

I like to think it was all meant to be and quite serendipitous for us music fans, though…

You can watch the full clip here, it’s really interesting to hear Zach’s take on it and his humility in talking about how the whole music thing’s worked out for him:

Zach is gearing up to release another album sometime this month, and his 4x Platinum single “Something in the Orange” just officially became the longest charting country single of all-time for a male artist on Billboard’s Hot 100, after 65 consecutive weeks there, too.

“Something In The Orange”


A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock