Ronnie Milsap was born on January 16, 1943 in Robbinsville, North Carolina, with a congenital disorder that left him almost completely blinded and was raised by his grandmother. When he was six years old, he was sent to a school for the blind in Raleigh where he had classical music training. At the same time, he obsessively listened to the radio, especially the late-night programs of country music, gospel and rhythm and-blues. Milsap was awarded a full college scholarship and attended Young Harris College briefly until leaving to pursue a full time career in music.
Ronnie is regarded as the pre-eminent country soul singer of his generation and one of the most successful Country “crossover” singers of his time. He appealed to fans of both pop and Country music with songs that incorporated Country, pop and rhythm and blues musical styles. Milsap’s biggest crossover hits include “It Was Almost Like A Song” in 1977, “Smoky Mountain Rain” in 1980, “There’s No Getting Over Me” and “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It For The World” in 1981, “Any Day Now” in 1982 and “Stranger In My House” in 1983. He earned 40 number one country hits, third to George Strait and Conway Twitty.
Milsap performed at the popular Memphis nightclub T.J.’s. He worked as a session musician for producer Chips Moman on numerous projects including two hit songs with Elvis Presley: “Don’t Cry Daddy” and “Kentucky Rain.” Ronnie moved from Memphis to Nashville in 1972 after a chance meeting with country music star Charley Pride, who was in the audience for Milsap’s performance at the Whiskey A-Go-Go. Urged by Pride to focus on Country music, Milsap took a regular gig at the King of the Road hotel, at the time a top music industry hangout. In 1973, the blind singer began a long-lasting association with RCA Records. Immediately successful on the Country charts, his music soon crossed over to Adult Contemporary radio and top forty radio, selling more than twenty-five million records.
Milsap remains one of country music’s most popular performers and continues to tour regularly for his many fans throughout the United States.
With seven Grammy Awards, four Academy of Country Music Awards, and eight Country Music Association Awards, Ronnie Milsap was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014.