Randy Traywick was born in Marshville, N.C., Travis grew up on a rural farm and began performing as a child with his brother Ricky as The Traywick Brothers. Travis often clashed with his father and dropped out of school, getting into scrapes with the law that continued until he won a Country Music singing contest at a club in Charlotte.
Travis moved to Nashville in 1982 to pursue a recording deal. He was hired at The Nashville Palace to sing and cook. After initial failures in North Carolina and Nashville – Travis says he was turned down by every label in town at least once for being too Country – the singer recorded Live at The Nashville Palace and he got a deal with Warner Bros. Records where he was championed and signed by Martha Sharp.