Born Blake Tollison Shelton on June 18, 1976, in Ada, OK; son of Dick (a car salesman) and Dorothy (a beautician) Shelton. Addresses: Record company--Warner Bros. Records Nashville, 24 Music Square E., Nashville, TN 37203. Website--Blake Shelton Official Website: http://www.blakeshelton.com.

Blake Shelton burst on the country music scene in 2001 with the hit single "Austin" from his self-titled debut album. The song stayed at number one on the Billboard country singles chart for five straight weeks. The album itself remained for no fewer than 70 weeks on the Billboard top 40 country chart. He followed this remarkable debut with his second album, The Dreamer, in 2003.

Blake Tollison Shelton was born on June 18, 1976, in Ada, Oklahoma. His parents are Dick, a used car dealer, and Dorothy, a beauty salon owner; his sister is Endy. A brother, Richie, died from injuries sustained in an auto accident in the 1990s. Shelton's first public performance was at the age of eight, when he sang "Old Time Rock 'n' Roll" at a local talent show. He sang in local bars and theaters while growing up, honing his craft and developing a unique style. He was writing his own songs by the time he was 15 and a year later won the Denbo Diamond Award, Oklahoma's highest honor for young entertainers.

Even while he was still in high school Shelton knew he wanted a career in music. He got a big dose of confidence from Mae Boren Axton, a songwriter who cowrote Elvis's hit "Heartbreak Hotel" as well as songs for Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, Willie Nelson, and others. When Axton heard Shelton at one of his performances in Ada, she saw his potential and told him he was good enough to get a record deal, if he worked hard. And so, two weeks after graduating from high school in 1994, at the age 17, Shelton moved to Nashville, Tennessee.

Shelton's first job there was working as a housepainter for Axton. She introduced him to the Nashville music industry, as Shelton later explained to Curtis Ross in the Tampa Tribune, "She made sure I met the right people and didn't fall in with the wrong ones." With Axton helping him make connections, Shelton began to write songs for Naomi Martin Music, Warner/Chappell Music, and Jerry Crutchfield Music.

Not long after moving to Nashville, Shelton landed his first recording contract. He was helped in this by songwriter Bobby Braddock, who'd written Tammy Wynette's hit "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" and George Jones's "He Stopped Loving Her Today." Braddock liked Shelton's work and agreed to produce his first album. Shelton later credited him with almost single-handedly launching his career. "He didn't just help me out," Shelton told Sarah Rodman in the Boston Herald. "I still believe to this day that he's the guy who metaphorically walked up to me and said, 'Hey, you want a career? Here it is.'"

Shelton released his first single, "Austin," in March of 2001 on the Giant label. It became a hit, climbing to the number-one position on the Billboard singles chart. A ballad about a man trying to reclaim a lost love, the song is a series of answering machine messages. Shelton, who attributes the song's success to its universal appeal, has also said that it's about remaining committed in the face of tough odds.

The Giant label went out of business shortly after the release of "Austin," but Warner Bros. acquired Shelton's contract. His next single was "All over Me," which he cowrote with one of major musical influences, Earl Thomas Conley. The song made the charts but didn't fare as well as "Austin" had. Shelton released one more single, "Ol' Red," before releasing his debut album, which featured all of his previous singles.

Blake Shelton, dedicated to Shelton's deceased brother Richie, debuted on July 31, 2001, the day after "Austin" began its five-week reign at the top of the Billboard country singles charts. The album hit number three on the Billboard country album charts soon afterward, staying on the Billboard top 40 country album charts for 70 weeks. It went gold within a year of its release. The album made Shelton the second-best-selling country artist of 2001, just behind Trick Pony.

After his album's release Shelton was invited to perform at country music's Carnegie Hall, the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. He was named R&R Breakthrough Artist of the Year for 2001, and was awarded Music Row magazine's Critics Pick Award.

In 2002 he was voted favorite new artist at the Country Weekly Fan Favorite Awards. More recognition followed, including a guest performance at the Country Music Awards show and a starring role in a Ford Motor Company advertising campaign. That same year Shelton was asked to be the opening act for George Jones at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, an opportunity that meant as much to the rising star as any previous honor.

Shelton's next hit single, "The Baby," was taken from his upcoming second album. The song is a ballad about a son returning home to say goodbye to his dying mother. Shelton released his second album, The Dreamer, in the first half of 2003.

Shelton remained in the Nashville area after his career took off, eventually moving to a farm 70 miles outside the city. He says that he finds life as a country music star little different than before, except that many more people come to his concerts and he hears himself on the radio. As he told John Goodspeed in the San Antonio Express-News, "I'm about as country and redneck as they get, and I might as well own up to it." His biggest reason for performing music, he has said, is to experience the joy of his fans and to connect with them in his concerts.

by Michael Belfiore

Blake Shelton's Career

Began performing as a singer at the age of eight, 1984; began writing his own songs at age 15, 1991; won Denbo Diamond Award for young Oklahoma entertainers, 1992; moved to Nashville, TN, from Oklahoma at age 17, 1994; found work writing songs for music publishers in Tennessee, including Naomi Martin Music, Warner/Chappell Music, and Jerry Crutchfield Music; landed recording contract with Warner Bros., released first single, "Austin," which remained number one on the Billboard country singles chart for five weeks, 2001; released first album, Blake Shelton, which stayed on the Billboard top 40 country chart for 70 weeks, 2001; released single "The Baby," 2003; released second album, The Dreamer, 2003.

Blake Shelton's Awards

Denbo Diamond Award, 1992; R&R Breakthrough Artist of the Year, 2001; Music Row magazine Critics Pick Award, 2001; Country Weekly Fan Favorite New Artist Award, 2002.

Famous Works

Recent Updates

February 27, 2006: Shelton filed for divorced from his wife, Kaynette, citing irreconcilable differences. Source: People, April 3, 2006, p. 95.

Further Reading

Sources

PeriodicalsOnline

Visitor Comments Add a comment…

over 2 years ago

Blake, I think you are the best because I truley believe what you see is what you get. You can tell you love your fans and what you do and without a doubt your wire Miranda. I have never been a country fan until I heard you. You are also the best judge on the Voice. Stay happy and healthy and happy, yu deserve it.

over 2 years ago

Dear Blake, If you reading this thank you if not i hope someone is. Blake I am also a songwriter but I'm only eleven. I wrote a song but i don't think it's that good. I emailed you on your website and I think you know my email address. If you do have it please email me. I promise I will not tell anyone your email. I am not one of those crazed fans I just want your opinion on my song. It's about my life and how I am bullied. I hope you will contact me somehow so I can get your opinion on my song. Your Fan, Emily P.S If your not around and Miranda is I will take her opinion on the song too

over 3 years ago

I am also a writer, but not a song writer. I want to write Fiction stories but i have trouble finishing them. Do you have any advice that might be helpful? I would like to know.

over 3 years ago

Hi, blake. My name is Brittany and i am 20 years old. I live around Greeley Colorado. I realy like your music among others. I like CM especially if it is Reba McEntire, You, Trace Adkins, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Shania Twain, Miranda Lambert, and Taylor Swift. I have also been a Michael Jackson fan for over 2 years now. I like you The Baby song its really good. And I am glad that you and Miranda got married.

over 3 years ago

Thank god they got divorced him and Miranda r sooooooooooooo cute 2gether!

over 3 years ago

My name is Nikki and I'm nine. I really like your music and liked watching you on the voice. I liked seeing who you are married too and my mom said she liked the way you looked at your wife, Miranda. Thanks for great music. I pretend to play my guitar and sing your songs. My dream is to be a big country guitar and singer when I grow up. I love Jonny Cash music to. Can I please have a signed picture of you and your wife Miranda to put on my dream wall? Thnaks Nikki (Annekkia)

over 3 years ago

how did blake shelton come by his middle name tollison?

over 3 years ago

how did blake get his middle name tollison

over 3 years ago

I was just wondering if you were in the pittsburg area, I would love to meet you. I am a divorced mother of 3 sons, they r about grown now, I am a very young 42. My sons keep me young and hip, they r 21, 20, and 16. I am a heavy equipment operator. Its just so hard to meet people, n i have to say i have never done anything like this before.I live in Monongahela, I dont want to put too much information on here.

over 4 years ago

does Blake ever take a peek a lyrics? I am a song writer and I have an awesome country tune he may like.

about 5 years ago

Blake, You are so awesome!! I plan on going to so many more of your concerts! The one in Salina KS was totally worth my drive time and now I plan on buying tickets to your concerts no matter where they are!! Thanks so much for being a totally down to earth redneck lol I still totally <3 you! even if you dont tweet me

almost 6 years ago

Blake, Your voice is fantastic. Your smile and those heavenly eyes enhance every word you sing. Best wishes for an unending future of musical success....maybe even movies too. You've got Paul Newman eyes and a voice out of this world. Wow!!!

almost 6 years ago

Your voice is fantastic!! And your eyes are heavenly..... You've got the world by the tail. Best wishes for unending success.

over 6 years ago

Hey Blake - you are coming to Crown Point, In on Aug. 4, 2008. Me and my girlfriend (I am female - not gay) and my 8 yr old grandson will be there in practically first seats in grandstand and cannot wait to see you! He loves you and sings all your songs and has a autographed picture of you that I sent for. Look for us

over 6 years ago

Love all of your music, and you have a wonderful sense of humor. Also wondering if you're going to be a judge again on the next Nashville Star? Sure hope so, you made it more fun to watch. Wishing you continued success!!

almost 7 years ago

the song austin is that a true song about your wife or girlfriend?