Neal McCoy Biography

All about one of country's most famous baritones

Neal McCoy
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Hubert Neal McGaughey, Jr. was born on July 30, 1958, in Jacksonville, Texas. His father is of Irish descent and his mother is Filipino. His parents were avid music listeners and exposed McCoy to many different types of music growing up, including country, R&B, disco, and jazz. He sang in a church choir, but when his voice developed into his signature baritone sound, he decided to give singing in an R&B group a shot. It wasn't long before he returned to country music, performing in clubs and bars around Texas.

McCoy attended a junior college near Jacksonville and worked at a shopping mall shoe store, where he met his wife, Melinda. They wed in 1981. That same year, he won a talent contest hosted by country singer Janie Fricke, who helped McCoy secure a spot on Charley Pride's tour as his opening act. He adopted the stage name Neal ​McGoy, which is the phonetic spelling of his last name.

Career Overview

McCoy made the move to Nashville in the late '80s and signed with the now-defunct independent label, 16th Avenue Records in 1988. He released two singles under the label, neither of which were hits. He also continued opening for Pride until 1990. That same year, he signed with Atlantic Records, modified his stage name to McCoy and released his debut album At This Moment. None of the album's three singles cracked the country Top 40, and his sophomore effort, 1992's Where Forever Begins, performed similarly. He continued performing and developed a reputation for his lively, freewheeling stage presence.

1994's No Doubt About It brought McCoy better luck. The album went platinum, and the title track and the single "Wink" were both No. 1 Billboard country hits. McCoy had hit a lucky streak and was officially a breakout star. He followed up in 1995 with You Gotta Love That, which also went platinum, and produced three No. 3 singles: the title track, "For a Change" and "They're Playin' Our Song." Sales started to decline following the release of his fifth studio album, Neal McCoy. 1999's The Life of the Party didn't help the effort. Despite its name, it was an album of ballads and soft country pop songs.

After Atlantic's Nashville division folded in 2000, McCoy signed with Giant Records and released 24-7-365 that same year. Sales were still slipping. Unfortunately, Giant Records closed their doors and McCoy moved to Warner Bros. Records. He recorded The Luckiest Man in the World and released the title track as a single, but the album was shelved.

He and his manager, Karen Kane, founded the independent label 903 Music in 2005. "Billy's Got His Beer Goggles On" cracked the Top Ten on the country charts and served as the lead single for That's Life. In 2006 he released Here and Now, which produced a pair of Top 40 hits: "Nothin' But a Love Thang" and "I Just Came Back from a War." The following year, 903 Music filed for bankruptcy and closed.

McCoy signed with Blaster Music in 2011 and released his twelfth album, XII, the following year. Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert helmed production and sang backup on the first single "A-OK." He returned in 2013 with Pride, a tribute album to Charley Pride. Fellow country artists Darius Rucker and Trace Adkins appear on the album. McCoy hasn't released anything since, but he continues to perform live.

Neal McCoy's Personal Life

McCoy and his wife, Melinda, have been married for more than 30 years. They have two children: son Swayde and daughter Miki. The husband and wife founded the East Texas Angel Network in 1995, which provides financial assistance to families with children living with terminal or life-threatening diseases. The organization has raised more than $2 million.​


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