When Darius Rucker first announced that he was focusing on a career in country music, after years spent fronting the band, Hootie & the Blowfish, it wasn't an easy transition.
The South Carolina native said that it was hard getting radio to play his music at first because of the color of his skin.
"When I came to Nashville 14 years ago, I was going into the radio stations and being told that they didn't think it was going to work because I was African American," the artist recently shared in an interview with The Tennessean.
"That was tough. But I was glad to get the truth, and it was what it was," he added.
Now, Rucker has numerous chart-topping country singles to his credit.
He spoke about what it's been like to watch other Black artists, including Kane Brown, Jimmie Allen, Mickey Guyton and more, join him on the charts and make their way in the industry.
"When you have people that talented, it's important to get them represented," he said. "And the more that happens, the bigger our audience is going to get, because there's going to be more people of color looking at country music in a different way and saying, "You know, I do like that." And I guarantee you, if you give it a shot, you'll find something you like."
He added that he is optimistic about the future of country music.
"Country music has this stigma of rebel flags and racism, and that's changing," he said. "I think it's changing drastically. And I'm just glad."
"I hope I'm remembered as one of the people that tried to fight that, and one of the reasons that changed," he added.