Chris Stapleton became a household name last week when he brought the house down during his performance of Tennessee Whiskey with Justin Timberlake at the CMA Awards.
But just who is Chris Stapleton? Here’s six things you probably didn’t know about country’s newest rising star:
1) From Band Leader to Solo Artist
His performance with Justin Timberlake wasn’t the first time Stapleton shook it up with other artists. After moving to Nashville in 2001 as a songwriter, he took over the lead singer duties for The Steeldrivers from 2008- 2010. After that he would found the Southern Rock band The Jompson Brothers, opening once for the Zac Brown Band. It was in 2013 that he would become a solo artist.
2) He Won Three 2015 CMA Awards… But This Wasn’t His First Award-Winning Moment
In 2009, The Steeldrivers won an International Bluegrass Music Association award for “Emerging Artist of the Year.” It may have taken six years, but Stapleton, now a solo artist, has lived up to that honor. At the 2015 CMA Awards, he took home awards for Male Vocalist of the Year, New Artist of the Year, and Album of the Year.
3) Adele Has Covered Him
Adele has covered one of The Steeldriver’s songs, belting out her rendition of “If It Hadn’t Been For Love” from the band’s 2008 self-titled album. Adele’s cover appears on her album 21.
4) Coal Miner’s Son
Stapleton was born in Lexington, Kentucky in 1978 and grew up in Staffordsville, Kentucky where his father worked as a coal miner. We think it is safe to say he knows a thing or two about putting in a day’s hard work.
5) Creativity and Brains
According to an interview with American Songwriter, Stapleton enrolled at prestigious Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee in 1996 to pursue a degree in engineering! He would only stick around for a year before moving back to Kentucky. We’d say the change of occupation was a good choice.
6) His First Single Was a Flop
Released in July 2013, “What Are You Listening To” was Stapleton’s first single, and to say it didn’t do well would be putting it lightly. In fact, it was a part of a record that was never released! Thank goodness he kept trucking, because based on the success of his 2015 debut solo album Traveller, this guy has staying power.
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