Darius Rucker has another award to add to his growing collection, but this one isn’t for his music. The “Fires Don’t Start Themselves” singer is the latest recipient of the CMA Foundation Humanitarian Award, honoring his numerous philanthropic efforts.
Rucker was surprised with the honor while appearing on The Kelly Clarkson Show. He credits his mother, Carolyn, with making him focus on giving back to others.
“We grew up in a really poor neighborhood, without much,” Rucker said. “There was no reason for me to believe that I was going to be here. But she always instilled in me to believe in yourself. If you believe in yourself, you can do anything. I instill that in my kids, and I believe it.”
“When I was a kid, she instilled in us that you help people – not people that are less fortunate; you help people that need help,” he added.
Rucker has raised more than $3.6 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, through his annual Darius and Friends golf tournament, charity auction and concert. The South Carolina native received the Randy Owen Angels Among Us Award in 2017 for his support of the charitable hospital.
“I was on tour with Brad [Paisley] and Dierks [Bentley],” Rucker recalled to Southern Living of his inaugural visit to St. Jude. “We were in Memphis and went down to St. Jude and really hung out there that day. We walked around and met so many of the wonderful kids and talked to the doctors and the administrators, who told us how no parent ever gets a bill. That was so amazing to me, and I just wanted to be a part of it.”
Rucker’s latest album, Carolyn’s Boy, is out now. The 14-track record, which includes his “Ol’ Church Hymn” collaboration with Chapel Hart, was released in honor of his late mother, Carolyn, who passed away in 1992.
“I was writing the record, I was having a bad day, bad mental day,” Rucker told The Associated Press. “And I just remember I sat there, and I said to myself, ‘At the end of the day, I’m just still my mama’s boy.’ And that was really the moment for me — that’s what the record is. It’s me just being who she raised me to be.”
Photo Credit: Courtesy of EB Media / Jim Wright