BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WCSC) - Southern Living magazine announced Tuesday morning it named Grammy-winning musician and Lowcountry native Darius Rucker the “Southerner of the Year.”
The magazine said it made the selection in celebration of Rucker’s “meaningful; charity work and myriad accomplishments.”
It listed examples that included his raising over $2 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital over the years, supporting public education and junior golf in South Carolina, serving as national chair for the new National Museum of African American Music and inspiring a new generation of artists by becoming the first Black cohost of the CMA Awards since Charley Pride in 1975.
Rucker spoke about the lessons his mother taught him to Editor-in-Chief Sid Evans. He said he spends so much time and effort giving back because it’s “the right thing to do.”
“You know, I’m so fortunate,” he said. “Even before, when I was performing at clubs making $100 a night, we used to play a show every year for an orphanage in Columbia, just because it was something we wanted to support. But really it’s what my mom taught me.”
He said he sees some of his mother’s courage and spirit in healthcare workers who’ve battled to protect patients from the pandemic.
“You know, my mom has been gone for a long time now, and I still miss her dearly,” he said. “But during this whole thing, I’ve thought about her so much. If I were a kid right now and my mom were a nurse, I would never see her because she would take every shift available to help people, not just the patients but the other nurses who just need a break.”
He said he was inspired to raise money for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital after visiting the facility with fellow stars Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley.
“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,” he said. “That was so amazing to me, and I just wanted to be a part of it.”
Rucker’s interview will be featured in the magazine’s April issue.