From a NASCAR pit crew member to ‘Survivor’ star, Chase Rice still prefers country music

At just 31 years old, rising country music star Chase Rice has already led a rather interesting life.

Long before he was known for singles such as “Ready Set Roll,” “Gonna Wanna Tonight” and his latest, “Everybody We Know Does,” Rice was a promising linebacker for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, but an injury sidelined any dreams of an NFL career.

After graduating, through a contact he made in college, Rice was picked up to be part of the Hendrick Motorsports pit crew for NASCAR driver Ryan Newman and went on to serve on Jimmie Johnson’s crew, which won a couple of Sprint Cup championships during his time there.

As if all that excitement wasn’t enough, Rice then became a contestant on CBS’ “Survivor: Nicaragua” in 2010 and ended up one vote shy of winning the million dollar prize, which he lost to Jud “Fabio” Birza.

“I have had a pretty wild life,” Rice said with a laugh during a recent phone interview. He’ll be in town soon to headline two sold-out shows at the new House of Blues at the Anaheim GardenWalk March 3-4 and the House of Blues San Diego March 5-6.

“All of those things that I was doing, I was never really happy,” he continued. “I always wanted to move to Nashville and do music and really give it a shot, even if it was just songwriting, because it was literally the thing that made me genuinely happy. Before we even had any success with it, I loved what we were doing. I’ve really never had to work a day in my life because I’ve had such cool jobs, but playing music is by far the coolest one I’ve had.”

Rice is also no stranger to shows in Southern California. Last summer he headlined the inaugural Coastal Country Jam in Huntington Beach and he has had several sold-out shows at the now closed House of Blues Sunset in West Hollywood and the previous House of Blues Anaheim location in Downtown Disney.

“One of the first tours I ever did was playing House of Blues venues across the…

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