Phil Vassar made a name for himself as a country music songwriter in the late 1990s, but it was his own self-titled album, released in 2000, that really launched him into the country music spotlight. The project's lead single, "Carlene," was a Top 5 radio hit, while its second single, "Just Another Day in Paradise," made it all the way to No. 1.

Vassar had heard songs he'd written for other artists -- Blackhawk's "Postmarked Birmingham," Jo Dee Messina's "I'm Alright" and others -- on the radio by the time he released his own debut single, but hearing yourself singing on the radio is an entirely different experience, as many artists will confess. Below, Vassar recalls the first time he heard "Carlene" on the radio.

I was in my hometown, getting ready to do a morning radio show -- so, somewhere between 6AM and 8AM. So I remember it being pitch dark, and the radio alarm went off at, like, 4[AM], and my song was playing.

I was like [makes a confused face]. It was dark, and I thought I was dreaming, you know? But I'll never forget that; I never will. I was like, "Holy crap!"

It took me a second. It really did. I'm looking at the clock and I'm sitting there going [makes another confused face]. Because I'm up in the middle of the night, and it was wintertime, so it was [dark], and I was in a hotel room.

The DJ was like, "He's gonna be in the studio here today." I'm like, "Whoa, this is really going on." So it was very cool.

Of course, I'd heard songs I'd written for everybody else, but it's weird when you hear it and it's you [singing]. So, it was pretty damn cool.

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