Luke Combs Was Completely Broke Before Releasing 'Hurricane'

One song can change everything, at least for Luke Combs. The North Carolina native spent almost a year writing songs, and had spent almost his last penny on trying to make his dreams come true, when "Hurricane" blew in and changed his entire life.

"I didn't have a job. I was just writing songs every day, for seven or eight months," Combs told Willie Geist on Sunday TODAY. "I was down to my last 200 bucks, and my producer Scott [Moffatt] was like, 'Hey man, we've gotta master these songs.' I said, 'Listen, this song 'Hurricane' is the only song that we could possibly use the vocal on, and put out.' So I spent my last 200 bucks, mastered that. Sold 15,000 copies the first week."

"Hurricane" kicked off a record-breaking career. The song became the first of seven consecutive singles which landed at the top of the charts, and also helped his freshman album, This One's for You, become a No. 1 album as well.

"It was crazy, because 'Hurricane' had just gone No. 1, before the album came out," said Combs. "Traditionally, they say it's a 10-year town. Usually you get your deal, they spend a couple years figuring out your sound. I had already figured that stuff out, so that was an awesome phone call."

This One's for You stayed at the top of the charts for an astonishing 50 weeks, tying a record held by Shania Twain with Come On Over. Combs' secret to his success is that there isn't a secret.

"I think the special thing is there's nothing special," acknowledged the Grand Ole Opry member. "There's no gimmick. My thing was, I wasn't going to wow anybody with my looks or my clothing, but I never wanted to do that. I wanted to wow people with my voice and my songs and my personality."

Combs almost didn't pursue music at all. Instead, he started out at Appalachian State University, studying criminal justice, and was a little more than a semester away from graduating when he dropped out to pursue his passion.

"That was a thing I honestly struggled with [for] a long time 'cause I did want to graduate," Combs admitted. "I just don't know honestly if I could have, you know? Maybe I'm dumb for saying this but, I don't think I wasn't smart enough to graduate. I just don't think I was committed enough."

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Combs is nominated for three ACM Awards, including the night's highest honor, Entertainer of the Year.

Photo Credit: Getty / Jason Kempin