There's going to be a party when country singer/songwriter Chase Rice plays Grayson Stadium on April 28.

"I have not played Savannah since four or five years ago," Rice says. "It was for a private group and only about 30 people were there. Hopefully this time, we will have a better crowd."

Born in Florida, Rice grew up on a farm in Asheville, N.C. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a linebacker on the football team, but did not pursue an NFL career due to injury.

After graduating from college, Rice was selected to join the Hendrick Motorsports pit crew as the rear tire carrier for Ryan Newman's Nationwide Series car. He also worked on Jimmie Johnson's Sprint Car Series car and won two championships with the Lowe's team.

"NASCAR was fun," Rice says. "That was an unbelievably good job for someone like me.

"I stepped away to do music," he says. "But it was a fun opportunity and a cool experience."

Yes, it was Rice who appeared on the television show "Survivor: Nicaragua." He was the runner-up to Jud "Fabio" Birza.

"It was seven years ago," he says. "My memories are fading on that one."

After his father's sudden death, Rice moved to Nashville to pursue songwriting full-time.

"I grew up on Garth and Kenny and the Foo Fighters," he says. "Any time I saw them play was like an escape from reality.

"I try to give the audience an escape from whatever they're going through," he says. "That's what I like to throw out there - have a good time and party."

While he was in college, Rice began playing guitar. His albums are modeled after his live show.

The first, "Friday Nights & Sunday Mornings," was released in 2010 and includes the first song he ever wrote, "Larger Than Life," about the passing of his father.

In 2011, Rice released "Country as Me," an EP featuring "Buzz Back," which he performed on the "Survivor" reunion show. He co-wrote Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise," which topped Billboard Hot Country Songs.

In 2013, Rice released "Ignite the Night." It included the platinum-certified single "Ready Set Roll" and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums.

It was at college that Rice developed a love of music and performing.

"No one in my family is musical, so I don't know where this came from," he says. "I got it, but I don't mind it.

"I became a huge fan of going to concerts once I got to college. I got hurt playing football and learned to play the guitar.

"My dad passed away my senior year and I wrote my first song about him," Rice says. "That's when I knew I wanted to be a songwriter."

Everyday life provides plenty of material, Rice says.

"Whatever is going on in real life," he says. "I had a break-up eight months ago."

His writing goes through phases, Rice says.

"Right now, I'm in a phase of writing and recording, then touring," he says. "It wears you down.

"That's when the creative juices start flowing," Rice says. "I'm doing writing, performing and recording right now and it's a fun time."

For Rice, a highlight of his career has been touring with Kenny Chesney.

"I'm about to sing onstage with Willie Nelson," he says. "For me, getting to become buddies with Chesney is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. It was one hell of a summer and he's a great guy."

There are only a few things that would make life better.

"I'd like to have a No. 1 song," Rice says. "I wrote a No. 1 song with Florida Georgia Line, but I want one of my own.

"And I want people to come to this show," he says. "We're going to have a great time."


What: Chase Rice in concert

When: 7 p.m. April 28

Where: Grayson Stadium, 1401 E. Victory Drive

Cost: $25, VIP $40