updated 08/10/2010 AT 7:00 PM ET
•originally published 08/12/2010 AT 8:50 AM ET
Josh Kelley is trading Hollywood life for the country life – at least musically.
The singer, who is married to actress Katherine Heigl, is releasing his first country single, “Georgia Clay,” this week.
But Kelley, who has released six pop/mainstream albums, is no stranger to the country sound. “I grew up in Georgia, listening to country music,” he tells PEOPLE. “It’s [country music] where my heart lies.”
At the age of 21, Kelley went to Nashville with the hopes of landing a record deal. “I did a showcase for four different labels and got turned down,” he says. “I guess they didn’t think I was ready, and to tell you the truth, I wasn’t.”
Nearly a decade later, Kelley, 30, is back in Nashville recording his first country album and says, “I think your true path will find you over time.”