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.”
His single “Georgia Clay,” written with his brother Charles Kelley of country trio Lady Antebellum and producer Clint Lagerberg, pays homage to something important in the brothers’ lives – their father’s 1977 Chevy Silverado.
That truck, which was home to many firsts in Josh and Charles’s lives, “was like a rite of passage into manhood,” says the singer. “[Our father] made us drive that before we could do anything.”
Kelley has also penned a song for his daughter called “Naleigh Moon,” which Kelley happily claims “it’s the best song I’ve ever written in my entire life.”
Finally back to his southern roots, Kelley says he and family will eventually move back to Nashville.
Listen to a clip of “Georgia Clay” and download the song from itunes today!