Sam Hunt has released just one studio album, 2014's Montevallo, but he's already made his way to headliner status and is currently preparing to release his second effort next year.
With his first album, Hunt became the first country artist to have all of the singles from his debut studio album peak within the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart thanks to hits including "Leave the Night On," "Take Your Time" and "Break Up in a Small Town." In 2017, he released "Body Like a Back Road," which spent 34 weeks atop Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, a record at the time. He recently released his latest single, "Kinfolks," and is gearing up for a new album and tour in 2020.
Read on to learn more about the Georgia native.
Before he was a country star, Hunt was a star quarterback and played college football at both Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham and later scored a tryout with the Kansas City Chiefs. Ultimately, football didn't work out, and Hunt moved to Nashville to pursue a music career.
When TMZ asked him whether he'd give up music if he could have the same level of success in football, Hunt replied, "No, of course not. I’m not in control of my fate, and that’s a good thing. I’m proud to be doing what I’m doing. It wasn’t in the cards to work out in football."
Hunt married wife Hannah Lee Fowler in April 2017, but before that, he had to win her back. Hunt and Fowler met before Hunt moved to Nashville, and the singer has stated the a majority the songs on Montevallo, which is named after Fowler's hometown in Alabama, were inspired by his wife. After they met, the two were on-and off-again for several years before Hunt convinced Fowler to give him another shot, which took a lot of plane rides on his part.
"I think last summer I went out [to Hawaii] about seven times in about three months," Hunt told Entertainment Tonight in 2017. "Trying to talk to her about coming back. And the seventh trip I convinced her."
When Hunt moved to Music City at age 22, one of his first jobs was parking cars for a hospital.
"I worked at a hospital parking cars and getting folks in and out of the hospital as they would come in for their appointments," he told USA Today. "I did that for several months before I was fortunate enough to get a publishing deal that allowed me to quit that job and write full time, which was huge for me."
Upon moving to Nashville, Hunt worked as a songwriter, penning hits for several artists including Keith Urban's "Cop Car" and Kenny Chesney's "Come Over." He included "Cop Car" on Montevallo and in 2015, he released his acoustic versions of that song and "Come Over" on his mixtape, Between the Pines.
"Cop Car" was based on a true story for Hunt — he told Radio.com that the song was inspired by an evening in Alabama when he and Fowler snuck into an airport to watch the planes. They were caught, which inspired the song.
Hunt began his college career studying philosophy but ultimately graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a business degree in economics. It was during his time at UAB that he began writing songs, telling AL.com that he let his roommates be the judge of one of his early efforts.
"I wrote a song several years ago while I was in college called 'Muscadine Wine,'" he recalled. "I really didn't know if it had potential or not, if it was good or bad or what. I played it for my roommates — who I played ball with — one night, and I knew they would tell me the truth, They loved it, and that encouraged me."
It took Hunt 20 years to attend his first concert, which was the Southern rock band Drivin' N' Cryin'. Now, Hunt headlines his own concerts around the country.
Speaking to UMG about his Thanksgiving meal, Hunt revealed that milk is always a staple in his turkey day feast.
"It’s strange, but since I was very young, I’ve always loved drinking milk, my brothers too, we drank lots of milk," he said. "My cousins, who grew up down the road, they always looked at us funny when we wanted to drink milk with our Thanksgiving meal," he continued. "They would have Coke or whatever else. So, I still get turkey, dressing, a piece of pecan pie and a big ol' glass of milk."
Hunt's dad Allen, is an insurance agent, and his mom Joan, is a teacher. He also has two younger brothers, Van and Ben.
"Who I was, was a product of the relationships with my family, the environment that I grew up in, and all those things… I kind of put them back when I got into music, and my lifestyle changed dramatically," Hunt told Sounds Like Nashville and other media. "That is still very important to me."
Hunt was once asked what his favorite dinner food was, and he replied that he would eat anything that wasn't vegetarian. Speaking to BuzzFeed in 2016, he said that his favorite food was steak. He also shared that when he wants a drink at the bar, he always orders Jack Daniel's.
Photo Credit: Getty / Scott Dudelson