Rory and Joey Feek had planned to stop being on tour constantly to promote their albums and make more money long ago.
There are some artists who are captivated by the idea of making more money and fame. Then, there are those like Rory Feek who prefer a quiet home life and the time to spend with their family. For the father of three, life is not a rat race to see who has the shiniest things. Despite being a Grammy-award-winning singer and one half of the band Joey+Rory, he doesn't chase after the usual things that the music industry has to offer.
"My wife [Joey] and I had gradually moved away from how most people do the music industry which is you make records, you go out and tour, you take your music to people, you try to talk radio stations into playing it, and you’re gone all the time. We wanted to find a way to reach an audience to make music without leaving home, so that’s what we did," he told Forbes.
They started by turning the barn on their property into a small concert hall for crowds who would travel from afar to watch them perform live. Feek says that he used to travel the world by walking only a few steps. "My wife and I were so blessed that she could be working in the garden until around 6:30, come in and shower, put on a pretty dress, and we’d walk across the driveway and at 7 be singing for a sold-out crowd at our concert hall. Then, when they were pulling out of the driveway, she’d be back home in her pajamas rocking the baby to sleep," he said.
Unfortunately, Joey passed away in 2016 when she succumbed to cancer leaving him a single dad to 2-year-old daughter Indiana, who was born with Down syndrome, and two older daughters. Fully understanding the responsibility he had to his daughters, Rory Feek didn't want life to pass him by while he chased after money.
"For most of my life the people I looked up to were on the radio or television or singing on stages in front of thousands of people. I spent most of my 20’s and 30’s wanting a life like theirs. Now the people I admire look a little different. A lot of times they’re in overalls or they’re just simple folks living in a small house who have somehow managed to keep an extraordinary value system in the midst of a culture that’s moving so fast," said the country singer.
Joey is no longer around to watch her daughters grow up, and especially help care for 2-year-old Indy with Rory. But the 55-year-old singer was able to appreciate his late wife a lot more after her death when he took complete responsibility for Indiana's care, despite her challenging condition.
"I don’t want to miss any time with my little girl, I don’t want to look back and regret and wish I’d done more of this or that, and I don’t want to look back and say I wish I’d spent less time chasing money and more time trying to help people and make a difference," Feek said.
He had started a blog This Life I Live that gives his fans a peek into his daily life. It spoke about his and his wife's journey when they found out that their daughter had Down Syndrome. Then it covered Joey's struggle with cancer, and now it's all about the little girl and her dad. So unwilling is he to leave this simple life behind that he even made a pre-school for his daughter on the premises.
Once he was able to make his farm into a concert hall, then into a school. In doing so, he was bringing alive Joey's dream of homeschooling their daughter, who adorably copies her father now. The father-daughter duo can often be seen in similar clothes on Rory's social media and blog. Every step he's taken since his wife left, he's done it with her in his heart. He even refuses to take off his wedding ring.
"I still feel like I’m 100 percent married and in a full, regular marriage," Rory said. "The only difference is that she’s just not around, but it’s a funny thing to feel so complete and not have her here. She was such an amazing gift and filled my life so much that she continues to fill it," he told PEOPLE.
The last four years have been a period of change for the single father, who said, "Now that I’ve seen how quickly life can change, it’s been four years and I still can’t believe my wife’s not here. And of course, now with the virus, and people obviously very shaken by it, it makes you remember what matters most. And I’m just trying to align myself to that more and more every day.”