As country music transformed into big, glossy, stadium-filling anthems in the 1990s, Neal McCoy's quirky, good-humoured storytelling and big, crowd pleasing choruses were a bridge back to the days of more gentle, light entertainment. Born in Jacksonville, Texas, the son of a Filipino mother and Irish father, McCoy (real name Hubert McGaughey) grew up singing in church choirs and local R&B groups and got his break when he won a talent contest judged by Nashville diva Janie Fricke in 1981. It led to McCoy spending six years touring and being mentored by country-gospel star Charley Pride, before he landed a deal with Atlantic and released debut album At This Moment in 1990. His easy-going personality and upbeat, radio-friendly pop hooks helped breakthrough singles No Doubt About It and Wink both reach number one on the Country Charts in 1994, while albums You Gotta Love That and Neal McCoy made the top ten and went platinum. More country hits included the slow, moody groove of For A Change, the sentimental ballad They're Playing Our Song and a cover of Don Cherry's Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye; and he achieved his highest position in the main US charts when his tenth studio album That's Life reached number 32 in 2005. He continued to tour solidly and also worked with Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton on album XII and tipped his hat to his old mentor on the compilation Pride: A Tribute To Charley Pride.