Born on March 17, 1955, in Newton, MS; married Julie; children: Nash, Summer, Chord, Harmony, Skye, Charity Joy. Addresses: Record company--Scarlet Moon Records, P.O. Box 320, Pegram, TN 37143, (615) 952-3999. Paul Overstreet Official Website:

Called "one of the most successful songwriters in Nashville" by the Knight-Ridder News Service, Grammy Award-winner Paul Overstreet came from a modest background in Mississippi but found major success as a songwriter with more than 25 of country music's biggest hits to his name. Randy Travis, the Forester Sisters, Tanya Tucker, the Judds, Glen Campbell, Mel Tillis, Travis Tritt, and Marie Osmond are just some of the singers to perform Overstreet's material. The artist performed his own songs on albums like Sowin' Love, Heroes, and Love Is Strong before broadening his horizons as a producer, exploring the Christian country genre, and publishing a book, Forever and Ever, Amen, in 2001.

Overstreet was born on March 17, 1955, in Newton, Mississippi, the youngest of five children born to William, a Baptist preacher, and Mary Overstreet. Musical talent ran in the Overstreet family. The entire family sang, his sisters and mother played piano, and one of his brothers played guitar. When Overstreet was six years old, his parents divorced, and his mother and siblings survived on prayer and government assistance until his mother remarried. As a child, Overstreet listened to country radio and the songs of Marty Robbins, Charlie Pride, Hank Williams, Sr., Jim Reeves, Johnny Horton, Merle Haggard, Elvis Presley, and Ricky Nelson. He also loved old Motown and R&B music by Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. As a teenager, Overstreet's tastes leaned more to the rock music of the time--the Doobie Brothers, Janis Joplin, Three Dog Night, Grand Funk Railroad, and Bread. After spending a few summers in California with his father, he had taught himself to play most of Creedence Clearwater Revival's songs. Inspired by the story of country legend Hank Williams, Sr. in the 1964 film Your Cheatin' Heart, Overstreet aspired to make a living writing and playing country songs.

Ambitious, Overstreet pressed three hundred 45s of a song called "The Wanderer" and sold them at a local grocery store for $1 each. After picking up a single, former Grand Ole Opry performer Walter Bailes contacted Overstreet. Nothing came of their meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, but Overstreet had developed an interest in the city. After graduation from high school in 1973, he went to Texas where he worked as a mechanic. After a concert by country singer Tanya Tucker at a local dance hall, Overstreet approached the country star and got her picture. Little did either of them know that Tucker would later score hits with the then-unknown country songwriter's work. Inspired by Tucker, he quit his job the next day and drove to Nashville in his brother's 1968 Ford Fairlane with a laundry basket full of clothes, ten songs he had written, and a guitar. Country stardom was still a long way off, so Overstreet got a job in a Nashville water heater factory. He worked blue collar jobs by day and played in country bands at night.

Over time, Overstreet began to get more attention as a songwriter than as a singer. He would eventually write more than 25 top ten songs for other artists, his first being "Same Ole Me" for George Jones in 1982, which went to number five. Other country artists who have recorded his songs include Randy Travis, who scored hits with "On the Other Hand," the Grammy-winning "Forever and Ever, Amen," and "Diggin' Up Bones," Travis' first number one hit; the Forester Sisters, who went to number one with "I Fell in Love Again Last Night;" and Tucker, who topped the charts with "One Love at a Time," "My Arms Stay Open All Night," and "I Won't Take Less Than Your Love." The late Keith Whitley recorded the hit "When You Say Nothing At All," which was later re-recorded by Alison Krauss and again by the British pop group Boyzone for the soundtrack to the film Notting Hill. Overstreet won a Grammy Award in 1992 for "Love Can Build A Bridge," performed by the Judds.

Overstreet released his first charting single in 1982 with "Beautiful Baby," which made it to number 76. Four years later, he teamed with Thom Schuyler and Fred Knobloch to form SKO and released the number one hit "Baby's Got a New Baby." Overstreet's debut solo album, Sowin' Love, was released in 1989. It made it into the top 40 and spawned a few hits. Overstreet stayed on the charts for almost a year with his 1991 album Heroes, which Los Angeles Times critic Randy Lewis noted for its movement away from country music's "overwhelming dependence on dysfunctional relationships." His third release, 1992's Love is Strong, was not commercially or critically successful. Entertainment Weekly critic Alanna Nash called the album "saccharine and simplistic." After its release, Overstreet turned to Christian songwriting, performing, producing, and book writing. He produced, co-wrote, and sung a duet on an album that topped the Christian country charts and launched the career of Susie Luchsinger, sister of country star Reba McEntire.

After recording with Luchsinger and working with her label, Integrity, a modest Christian imprint, Overstreet turned down an offer to record with a major country label. A devout Christian, the artist chose to record with Integrity instead. "I enjoyed working with Integrity," Overstreet told Billboard. "It was fun, and at that point I was really tired of having a corporate decision made on my life. I liked the way these people treated their artists." Integrity created a sub-label with Overstreet called Scarlet Moon Records, which promoted Overstreet's brand of "positive country," a term given by Billboard, to both country and Christian markets.

A committed family man, Overstreet's songs are known for being family-values oriented. He turned away from some of the temptations he faced as a successful country singer and songwriter. Instead, he chose to stay close to his family and farm in a rural town outside Nashville where he also has a recording studio. Overstreet has six children whom he and his wife, Julie, chose to home school. When he is not on the farm or performing, Overstreet gives his time to a charity called Samaritan's Purse, an international relief ministry that tends to the spiritual and physical needs of people in crisis worldwide. Samaritan's Purse is run by his good friend Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, with whom he regularly performs.

Overstreet is featured as songwriter, singer, musician, and producer on his own 2000 release, A Songwriter's Project, Vol. 1. The album features Overstreet singing and playing the hits he has written for other artists and includes a few new tracks as well. In 2001, he issued the Christian CD Living by the Book. Also that year, Overstreet debuted as an author. His book, Forever and Ever, Amen, features the fan-inspired stories behind some of his hits.

by Brenna Sanchez

Paul Overstreet's Career

Moved to Nashville, TN, after graduation from high school, 1973; first top ten song, "Same Ole Me," performed by George Jones, 1982; scored number one hit with "Baby's Got a New Baby" with SKO group, 1986; wrote major hit for Randy Travis, "For Ever and Ever, Amen," 1987; released debut solo album, Sowin' Love, 1989; released Heroes, 1991; released Love is Strong, 1992; released Living by the Book, 2001; published book, Forever and Ever, Amen, 2001.

Paul Overstreet's Awards

ACM (Academy of Country Music) Song of the Year Award for "On The Other Hand," 1986; ACM Song of the Year Award for "Forever And Ever, Amen," 1987; BMI Songwriter of the Year, 1987-91; CMA (Country Music Association) Song of the Year Award for "On The Other Hand," 1987; CMA Song of the Year Award for "Forever And Ever, Amen," 1988; Grammy Award for "Forever And Ever, Amen," 1988; Grammy Award for "Love Can Build A Bridge," 1992; Dove Award, Country Recorded Song of the Year Award for "Seein' My Father In Me," 1991; Dove Award, Country Recorded Album of the Year Award for Love Is Strong, 1992; Christian Country Music Association (CCMA) Country Songwriter of the Year, 1993; CCMA Mainstream Artist of the Year, 1994; Dove Award, Country Recorded Song of the Year Award for "There But For The Grace Of God Go I," 1994.

Famous Works

Further Reading



Visitor Comments Add a comment…

over 12 years ago

I knew paul as children (MY 2ND COUSIN)we had the same grand mother Hattie Gill in Vancleave and i remember Uncle Jake and Aunt Minnie, Uncle Andrew and my mother was Velma Gill. So Glad to see Paul doing so good and wish him nothing but continued success. we all just went seperate ways as people do in life and never got to see each other as grown ups, but i remember the family picnics in Vancleave at the creek. Good Luck Kenneth Blanchard

over 15 years ago

I feel like iv;e grown up with Paul as were about same age but i really got to know his work as my husband is a fine musician also we have mutal talented people we know like willy rainsford vern gosdin young hopeful coming up artist and great song writer julia appleton. We also have a mutal friend that has done great for the nashville and ky. area (god rest his soul The Great Libby knight From daysville ky. . He was a very great bussiness man that has givin many people great starts . Paul reminds me of the same he has givin many people great starts,His knowledgein the industry has helped many artist get great starts

over 15 years ago

One day i would like to sign my daughter to your label.She is being pulled in a few different directions with a voice that God has blessed her with from birth.I was talking to her last night about being one in a million and how that is from God and He is to be glorified and he will bless her life as well as carreer. Then i looked up your label because i read on your CD from the "I Still Do" conference that you had your own label Scarlet Moon.When i looked up your label this morning i saw one of your songs called "one in a million" and i tried to look up the lyrics but i could,nt get them from a trustworthy source.My wife and myself love your music. My daughter is 13 and we want her working with people who have a heart for the Lord. Sincerely, Patrick and Amy Wightman

over 16 years ago

I find mr overstreet to be a true legend in not only country music,but gospel music as well. His writing stand for itself,his songs touch the soul. This is a man i hope to one day work with in the gospel music field as well as country. God bless you Mr overstreet (Words from a black man).