It was when he was in high school that he received his first guitar. He played, solo or with a band, at county fairs, festivals and shopping malls. He also made trips to Nashville as often as he could to play at some of the local clubs and write songs.
Rodney's Nashville appearances caught the eye of Curb Records, who signed the charismatic newcomer. His first single, "In a Heartbeat," released in 1997 failed to make the Top 40, peaking at No. 74. He spent the next five years working on songs, and in 2002, he released his debut album Honesty
Although the first two singles released from Honesty were minor Top 40 hits, the third, "Honesty (Write Me a List)" shot up to No. 4 on the charts, giving Atkins his first taste of success.
In 2006 Rodney graced the charts again. He released "If You're Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)" as the first single from his sophomore album If You're Going Through Hell. The song became his first No. 1 hit, as well as the No. 1 song of the year, and Rodney was officially on his way.
In 2007, he released the second single, "Watching You," which he wrote about his young son Elijah. It too went straight to No. 1, and became the No. 1 song from 2007.
He released a total of five singles from If You're Going Through Hell. The next two -- "These Are My People" and "Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy)" also reached No. 1, while the fifth, "Invisibly Shaken" peaked at No. 41. The album went on to sell over one million copies, earning Atkins his first Platinum album.
Rodney debuted his first single from his third album ("It's America ") on the CMA Awards show in November 2008. The single was then released to radio, and is climbing the charts, sitting in the Top 5 and still moving. It's America was released on March 31, 2009.
It is clear Rodney understands country music isn’t just about life – it is life. “It’s about what people face every day. That’s what they want to hear in country music. And that’s what I draw on, what brought me here, every time I sing.”