Mitchell Tenpenny will headline his first-ever show at the Ryman Auditorium, on October 10, as part of his To Us It Did Tour. The proceeds from Tenpenny’s Ryman show will go to his own non-profit, the 10Penny Fund, created to honor his father, who passed away from cancer in 2014. Every year on October 10 (10-10), the singer does something to pay tribute to his dad, which this year will be his show at the Mother Church of Country Music.
“Cancer is such a huge part of my life,” Tenpenny tells Everything Nash. “I lost my dad. My aunt is still going through it, and I lost another aunt. So we wanted to make sure that this, since this is such a special day for us, that we give back. All the proceeds are going to our fund, the 10Penny Fund. It’s just going to be a special night. A lot of family, a lot of friends are going to be there. And we get to donate everything to my charity, the first time I get the headline the Ryman.”
Tenpenny grew up in Nashville, never imagining he would one day play the sacred stage himself.
“I’ve seen a million shows there,” Tenpenny says. “People are like, ‘Did you dream about being up there?’ No, I didn’t, because I never really thought it was possible. So when I got that call, ‘Hey, you could headline the Ryman on this tour. Would you be interested?,’ I was like, ‘Why are you even asking me? Would I be interested? Is that possible, or are we going to be able to sell tickets?'”
Not only was Tenpenny able to sell tickets, but he sold out the entire show more than a week ahead of the event. For Tenpenny, there isn’t a better way to honor his father, who still leaves his mark on everything he does.
“Everything I did, from sports to music, he always let me do, and let me live out my dream,” Tenpenny shares. “And he was always there. Even when I was playing in hardcore screaming bands, it might not have been his music, but my dad was there, and he was smiling. He never got to really see this part of my career do its thing, signing the record deal and doing this. But he’s driven me to the Ryman and dropped me off there before, so this is just a crazy thing.”
Tenpenny’s dad might not be physically in the pews at the Ryman Auditorium, but Tenpenny has no doubt his father will be watching.
“I believe that there’s a lot of guardian angels watching out for me, including my dad,” Tenpenny reflects. “It’s going to feel really special. My whole family, we’re all from here in Nashville. And so I think we’re going to feel his presence that night. It means the world to me to be able to say, ‘Dad, look all those times that you let me play the guitar and the drums super loud in your house, and annoy the crap out of you, I’m sure. We get to play the Ryman.'”
Tenpenny also honors his late father in the lyric video for his latest single, “Truth About You,” by wearing a hat with the letter “BAOYS” on it, an acronym that stands for “Be Aware of Your Surroundings,” one of his dad’s frequent words of wisdom he offered his children.
“Every time we would leave the house, me or my brother, he would say, ‘Be aware of your surroundings, Mitchell. Be aware of your surroundings,'” Tenpenny recounts. That’s it. He knew I was going to get to do stuff, and stuff in life happens. He just said, ‘Be aware of your surroundings.’ So I always thought that that was a great saying. We made a whole side brand off of that, and I think it’s important. I think it’s important in this day in time, at all times, to be aware of our surroundings.
“We’re always on our cell phones, or our minds are elsewhere, and I think it’s a good lesson to be taught, and to learn,” he continues. “And a good way to honor my dad is, I live my life by what I heard him tell me every single day I walked out of the house. So it’s just another one of those full circle things. I want to continue to honor my dad, and my last name he gave me. And it’s just another way I get to do that.”
To find out more about the 10Penny Fund, or to make a donation, click here.