WATCH: Monica Pearson One on One with Robert Stafford, dad of Lil’ Nas X

Father of award-winning performer says they both have a vision

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - His son is one of the most famous and decorated musical performing artists in the world. But the success of Montero Lamar Hill - aka Lil’ Nas X - hasn’t surprised his dad one bit.

“We both have a talent and we both have a vision,” said Robert Stafford, who works as a warehouse supervisor here in metro Atlanta. “His vision is out of this world. Once he put his mind on something, he goes for it.

“But luck is great for him, and he had the help that I didn’t have,” Stafford, who is also a Christian gospel singer, told Peachtree TV’s Monica Pearson. “And so I think that makes the difference. He had the father in his life; he had somebody pushing him and supporting him, unlike me, who didn’t have them that in his life.

“When He first told me he wanted to drop out of school to pursue a music career, I had never heard him sing one note. But I knew I had to trust in him that he was knowing what he was doing. So I said, ‘Hey, I got your back. Go for it.’”

Born in Lithia Springs, Georgia, Lil’ Nas X’s first hit, a country rap, Old Town Road took the music industry by storm when it was released in early 2019. He has since received, among others, an American Music Award; two BET Hip Hop awards; five MTV Video Music Awards; and two Grammys.

“I don’t see him as a big star like everybody else,” Stafford said. “I just see him as I call him, Doobie. His nickname is Doobie. To me, he’s just my baby boy.”

Stafford’s own career has taken off recently: he produces his own podcast as well as a TV show featuring the mothers of famous people. And his own singing career, which was once on the back burner, is heating up.

“You gotta take the good with the bad,” Stafford said. “That’s what I tell my son. You gotta take the good with the bad. You just don’t stay down. Its okay to be down. But you got to get back up. Get back in the ring. Start back punching. That’s how you stay on top.”

Monica Pearson’s Fathers Day profiles

Monica Pearson: One on One is a new, interview-themed series featuring the legendary Atlanta journalist.

Tim Darnell

Tim Darnell

Tim Darnell is the Investigative Digital Content Producer for Atlanta News First.