Blake Shelton is one of the biggest stars in country music, but he started out as just another young singer looking for a break when he moved to Nashville from his home state of Oklahoma after graduating high school. After arriving in Music City, Shelton got a job at a music publishing company in 1997 before signing a production contract with Sony Music.
No doubt aided by his excellent mullet, Shelton obtained a contract with Giant Records, where he released his debut single, "Austin," before moving to parent company Warner Bros. Records. Since then, he's sold over 10 million records worldwide, won numerous awards and been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Shelton has also amassed a whopping 27 No. 1 hits, 17 of which were consecutive, putting him in the third spot on Billboard's Country Airplay all-time list. Read on to re-live Shelton's incredibly successful career.
A few years after arriving in Nashville, Shelton made his Grand Ole Opry debut on May 5, 2001, performing his debut single, "Austin." He had released the song just a few weeks prior, and it went on to become Shelton's first No. 1 on what is now Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart.
"I sang 'Austin' and ... that’s all I remember," Shelton told CMT. "I remember thinking, 'Man, this is my shot.' The song might have been in the 50s [on the charts] at that point. It had been out for maybe two weeks. And I just remember thinking, 'Here it is, here’s my song.' There’s no telling what else I did — probably threw up." Despite his nerves, Shelton went on to become a member of the Opry in 2010.
After three studio albums, Shelton scored his first headlining tour in 2005, setting out on the Barn and Grill Tour with a slightly shorter mullet in tow. He's since led eight more tours including his most recent, the Friends and Heroes Tour, for which he invited friends and heroes on the road including Trace Adkins, the Bellamy Brothers, John Anderson and Lauren Alaina.
Marriage to Miranda
In 2011, Shelton married fellow country star Miranda Lambert and the two also teamed up musically, writing Lambert's single "Over You" and hitting the road on a joint tour. They announced their divorce in 2015 and Shelton's 2016 album, If I'm Honest, was billed as one of the singer's most personal albums yet, addressing his highs and lows of the previous year.
"When my fans hear this new album for the first time, they’re gonna realize that it’s been a crazy, crazy past 12 or 13 months for me," he told Pandora at the time. "If you had told me a year ago the changes that would have happened in my life, I would have called you a liar. And the surprise element, the ups and the downs, they’re all in this record. That’s why I’m calling it If I’m Honest, because I’m just telling it how I see it."
In 2012, Shelton was named CMA Entertainer of the Year, the most coveted award in all of country music. By this point, he had notched over 10 No. 1 singles including hits like "Some Beach," "All About Tonight" and "Honey Bee" and had released seven albums, one of which was 2x platinum and two that went platinum. He had also solidified himself as a headlining act and had begun his tenure on The Voice, introducing millions of people to country music.
Big red chair
The Oklahoma native scored a gig as a coach on The Voice for the show's premiere in 2011, and he's held the job for nine years since. Shelton has had a member of his team win for six of the 17 seasons that have taken place so far and the NBC competition's 18th season is currently airing. "I'm actually seeing these artists at their home, in their natural environment, the place that they go when they write a song or they want to record something or just work on music," Shelton told Entertainment Tonight of the remote episodes currently taking place. "It's interesting, and I've been able to meet a lot more of my artists' family just because of the way that we're doing that this year. I love it."
Sexiest Man Alive
PEOPLE named Shelton Sexiest Man Alive in 2017, the first country artist to ever receive the title. Shelton joked that when he heard the news, his first thought was "That y’all must be running out of people. Like, Wow, we’re down to somebody who is somewhat symmetrical." He also shared that he couldn't wait to rub the title in former Voice coach Adam Levine's face. "I can’t wait to shove this up Adam's a—," he said. "As proud as I am and honored that you guys asked me, that’s really the only thing I care about."
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Life with Gwen
While working on The Voice, Shelton met fellow coach Gwen Stefani, and the two began dating in 2015. Almost five years later, the couple is still head over heels for each other and just celebrated a No. 1 hit together with their duet, "Nobody But You." "It's not something anybody could've seen coming besides God I guess because it doesn't look like it would make sense," Shelton told CMT's Katie Cook in 2016. "All I can tell you is that it does. It just makes the most perfect sense for us and where we're at in our lives."