• The power of words: How an anonymous Baylor student’s note changed this Bear’s life forever

    Ben Woolley on stage

    You never know the impact a kind word can have.

    For Ben Woolley, BA ’17, a simple note from an anonymous fellow Baylor student sparked a new trajectory for his entire life.

    Originally from Longview, Texas, Woolley started playing piano when he was just 5 years old. He had a passion for playing music from the start — but not quite a passion for practicing. He fell away from piano and eventually picked up the guitar at age 12, and drums at age 13. Around that time, piano piqued his interest again. He hadn’t touched a piano since he played lessons, yet he sat down on his piano bench and played a gospel song by ear. He played several other songs, surprised at how easy it all came to him, and realized he had a special gift.

    Fast forward to college… As a freshman at Baylor, when school or life would cause stress, Woolley would escape to Barfield Drawing Room and play the piano. One day, a girl came up to the piano he was playing and left a simple note: “You play beautifully. You should write your own music.”

    Woolley still keeps that note in his nightstand — because it steered his life into a direction he never thought possible.

    After graduating from Baylor with a degree in journalism, he took a chance and moved to Nashville, landing a job as an intern on Music Row. This spring, one of his songs, “Go Together,” was recorded and released by country artist Reed Foley.

    Now, Woolley is making a go of it in Nashville, writing alongside many of his personal heroes — the people behind the songs he sang at the top of his lungs growing up, songs that still play in the background of his best memories. In particular, Woolley’s work has led to a friendship with Steve Dean, who’s written for George Strait, Rodney Atkins, Kenny Rogers, Lee Ann Womack, and Reba — just to name a few. Woolley is frequently featured at writers rounds in Nashville and is even teaching himself new instruments (currently, the fiddle) to earn extra performances.

    “All of this came from one little note, from a girl who I never got her name,” Woolley says today. “I’ve had people tell me I should pursue music, but I never really took it to heart until I got that note. That note gave me the confidence to pursue what I think God had planned for me.”

    Sic ’em, kind-hearted Bears!

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