GOOD MORNING WORLD

Steve Holy's career's in orbit -- but he's still got two feet on the ground

Story by Larry Holden

Steve Holy was understandably ecstatic when his "Good Morning Beautiful" captured the No. 1 spot for five incredible weeks and sent his career soaring into the stratosphere.

But his thanks went to someone looking down on him from a lot higher up.

"My dad was my biggest supporter," declares Steve of his father, Hank, who died of a heart attack in 1999. "And I know he's up there smiling about the good things happening to me. Heck, he may have won a celestial poker game -- and cashed in his chips for my success, saying, 'God, you've gotta take care of my son.'

"My dad was a realist and a hard worker," continues Steve. "If you had time to play music growing up, you had time to change the oil in the car or do other work.

"But when he saw my heart was set on taking a run at music, he became the most supportive person I've ever had. And for him to back me in something so off the wall as the music business is amazing.

"And, who knows," he adds with a grin, "maybe my brother, who died at an early age, is helping my dad pull the strings for me!"

In recent days Steve could easily feel like he's bumped up against heaven. There's no doubt the mind-boggling triumph of "Good Morning Beautiful" has had him walking around on Cloud 9.

"This is a dream come true," he notes. "I've never been on top in anything in my life. I started out the youngest of eight kids, so from Day One I've always been on bottom, just looking up."

Steve has definitely come a long way from those close-knit family days growing up in Dallas. "I was pretty young when I decided making music is what I wanted to do with my life," he explains. "In 1993, I joined the Johnnie High Country Music Review in nearby Arlington. It was a great place to start."

Steve found himself on the revue with another future country star, LeAnn Rimes. As they sang duets together, there was no way either could have imagined that six years later Steve would be opening for LeAnn in Vegas.

"In the mid-'90s I spent a lot of time in Nashville knocking on doors," remembers Steve. On one such trip in 1997 in a Music Row office he heard a sweet ballad -- "Good Morning Beautiful." As he listened to the song for the very first time, Steve knew it was a hit. "I felt like it was written just for me," he says. "It fit me perfectly."

Steve confesses he was instantly hooked by the song's bridge:

I never worry if it's raining outside
'Cause in here with you, girl
The sun always shines

"It's very simple," he explains, "but so meaningful and so from the heart."

The song's writers, Todd Cerney and Zach Lyle, gave Steve a 'hold' on the song, meaning they'd set it aside for Steve and not allow any other artist to record it until he could. And amazingly, they let him hold it for four years -- until he signed his deal with Curb Records and cut his album.

The song tugs at the hearts of young and old alike.

"After a show in North Carolina when 'Good Morning Beautiful' had only been out a short time, a guy brought his son backstage," recalls Steve. "He said, 'My son wants to tell you something.' The son, who was no more than 3 years old, sang every word to 'Good Morning Beautiful' to me. That blew me away!"

So did an e-mail Steve received not long ago.

"A lady told about her mother who was having seizures and then slipped into a coma," notes Steve. "The lady's nickname for her mother had always been 'Beautiful,' so while her mom was in the coma she sang my song to her every morning. When her mom finally opened her eyes, she asked her daughter to sing that 'Good Morning Beautiful' song to her again. She had heard the song while in the coma!"

The song has also sparked some funny stories.

"I was out on the road and this gal asked me what I did for a living," explains Steve. "I told her I was a recording artist. She didn't respond and kept talking. A few minutes later I asked her if she liked country music. She said yes, and I asked if she knew the song 'Good Morning Beautiful.' She said she loved that song. I said, 'That's my song.' Obviously not understanding that I sang it, she didn't miss a beat when she proclaimed, 'That's my song, too!' "

Maybe the young lady will know who Steve is by the time his second album is released this July. "I am so proud of the music we already have for it," he declares. "My goal for the second album is to top the first one in every way, and keep progressing."

Steve's excited about hitting the road again. He's planning to do 150 dates between May and December. But now, when he's not in the studio, he's been spending as much time as possible with his mom, Barbara, and other family members in Texas.

"My mom's a trouper," notes Steve. "She's one of the original heroes of my family. She's been through so much, with the death of my brother and then my dad. But her strength helped pull my family closer together. And I have to say the highs of my success have helped ease some our lows.

"What's happened to me since 'Good Morning Beautiful' went No. 1 is so surreal," he continues. "It's like it can't be happening to me. All the great treatment by radio and my fans has been wonderful. But when I go home to my mom's house, she still wants me to carry out the trash. Mom and the rest of my family keep me grounded. And so does scraping wallpaper at my new house."

Steve's actually bought two new houses, both of them in Dallas. "I bought one because I ran out of closet space at my mom's," he explains with a laugh. "I bought the other because I've always wanted a house near Southern Methodist University. I've always loved a particular area by the campus."

So Steve ought to have plenty of mantel and closet space -- enough to handle all the awards and memorabilia that will surely come his way because of a special song that put his career in orbit.

"There's a higher power that matched me with 'Good Morning Beautiful,' " declares Steve. "And I know my dad and brother are very happy."

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