The Voice of Modern Country
Blake Shelton has become one of the biggest stars in country music over the last two decades. With his signature blend of contemporary country and traditional honky-tonk, Shelton has amassed a devoted fanbase and widespread critical acclaim. In this post, we’ll take a look at Shelton’s background, musical journey, influences and achievements.
Blake Tollison Shelton was born in Ada, Oklahoma in 1976. He began singing and playing guitar as a teenager, influenced by country artists like George Strait and Conway Twitty. After graduating high school, Shelton moved to Nashville in 1994 to pursue a career in music.
He landed a publishing deal and songwriting contract with Sony Music by 1997. This allowed him to write songs for other country artists while working on his own material. Shelton released his self-titled debut album in 2001, featuring the hit single “Austin.” The nostalgic song about lost love peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, earning him platinum certification.
After his initial breakthrough, Shelton continued honing his mix of classic and contemporary country. He released the platinum-certified albums The Dreamer (2003) and Blake Shelton’s Barn & Grill (2004), which spawned hits like “The Baby” and “Some Beach.”
In 2007, Shelton truly crossed over into the mainstream with his fourth album Pure BS. It included his first #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, “Home”, as well as top-10 country hits like “Don’t Make Me” and “The More I Drink.” The album showcased Shelton’s talent for balancing pop-country hooks with traditional country storytelling.
The 2010s marked the peak of Shelton’s popularity, with a judge role on NBC’s The Voice and a series of hit albums. As a coach on the hit singing competition, Shelton became a household name with TV audiences.
Musically, he continued dominating country radio while pushing his sound forward. His eighth studio album Red River Blue (2011) contained boisterous, arena-ready anthems like “Honey Bee” and “God Gave Me You.” In 2013, Based on a True Story… spawned the Grammy-nominated multi-platinum hit “Boys ‘Round Here.”
In 2016, Shelton notched his first Billboard 200 #1 album with If I’m Honest. Displaying a reflective and romantic side, it included introspective tracks like “She’s Got a Way with Words” and “Savior’s Shadow” alongside the playful #1 country single “Came Here to Forget.” With 23 career #1 country hits, Shelton has proven himself as an adaptable country artist fitting both traditional and contemporary eras.
As one of country’s biggest modern stars, Shelton has influenced upcoming country singers with his versatility and relatable songwriting. He’s also collaborated with artists from various genres, including Gwen Stefani, his partner both personally and musically.
With multiple CMA and ACM Awards and Grammy nominations, Shelton has certainly left a mark on country music over the past two decades. As he continues releasing new music and his role on The Voice, Blake Shelton remains one of the most popular ambassadors of country music today.